I think that Vertov’s film The Man With a Movie Camera and Chanan’s reading on Cinema’s in Revolution really spoke to the amount of influence that media has in society. As we know, the industrial revolution began the start of mass production, therefore, mass consumption. This changed the way art was viewed in the mechanical era, particularly the art of film as a platform for inciting change or conveying a message.

Vertov’s film, The Man With a Movie Camera, used the art of film to show the discrepencies between the upper class and the working class. Vertov was able to do this seamlessly-without words or dialogue. But his decision to film such contrasting scenes of lifestyles of the wealthy compared to the lifestyles of the lower class shed light on a deeper social issue happening in Russia and his ability to capture this sent a powerful message to the audience that was one of the very first films to do so.

Similarly we see countries like Cuba in the 1960’s using film as well to incite change. Chanan discussed this in his reading on Cuba’s communist revolution and how the use of documentary helped feature and change urban and agricultural laws throughout the country.


2 responses »

  1. krystalyiranli says:

    Definitely agree with you! The movie is an amazing art work. Powerful messages implying social and political issue are conveyed through the movie without any word or dialogue. This kind of movie is absolutely an effective tool in political revolutions, such as what happened in Russia and Cuba; it conveys messages to people directly and effectively.

  2. palomapineda19 says:

    I agree with the points you brought up centering on how the use of documentary media can enact change. As you mentioned, I can see how Vertov’s contrasting film clips of poverty and wealth portray disparities in economic status, and in recent documentaries I believe this technique is effective in creating a “shock” factor whether it be about economic, social, or cultural issues. One thing that I still grapple with is if documentary media’s sole purpose is to raise awareness or if it can instead incite a movement?


    The Guardian’s article, “Real to Reel: can documentaries change the world?” explores this issue in more depth. Two of the most successful documentaries I can recall seeing in having an impact on my personal choices are Super Size Me and An Inconvenient Truth – both were equally effective in contrasting the detriments of unhealthy eating and global warming for me. As we study more activist media throughout the semester, I would be more interested in learning how documentaries have helped shape and advance activist movements.

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