Watching “Man with a Movie Camera” on Monday night really made me feel mesmerized. The cuts and angles told more than a simple story– they opened my eyes to human life of a particular time and place in a unique way that a more concrete narrative would distract viewers from. Reading Vertov’s own writing after watching the film helped explain to me the reasoning behind his choices in making “Man with a Movie Camera” in the particular way he did.
On Tuesday this week I was sitting in the waiting room at a mechanic’s shop. There was a TV with one of the newer “Batman” movies playing. I noticed that a film like “Batman” has a tremendous amount of precision, care, and resources packed into it, but although there was still some degree of artistic achievement, it seemed more like the execution of a blueprint, whereas watching “Man with a Movie Camera” made me feel more like I was watching an art piece that grew and fluctuated along with the process of creating it. I love the feeling of watching a movie that seems to have grown as an art piece, instead of being stamped out by a machine. This is funny because Vertov seems to be very much in favor of using machines to help society.
I hope that someday I can go to the movie theater and watch a movie that breaks free of the norms of selling things for shock value, sex, violence, and glorification of white males and anything else that would please a white 14-year-old boy. “Man with a Movie Camera” definitely accomplished its own political goals by being a piece of pro-industry, pro-Russia propaganda, but perhaps partially because of my detachment from 1920’s Russia, the movie as a whole seemed like an art piece that is open to interpretation from anyone, no matter who they are.