After revisiting the film, Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov, I’ve come to realize that it has quite a few parallels to the film, Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl. For those of you that don’t know Triumph of the Will, (for some odd reason) it is a German propaganda film that showed the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg in 1934. It contains scenes of speeches given by Nazi leaders including Adolf Hitler.
The reason I find so many parallels to this film and Man with a Movie Camera is for two man reasons. The first being the film techniques in both and the second being the response from the general public that each of these films received. The film techniques for both of these films were way ahead of their current time. Vertov has a lot of shots using a moving camera and creates an aspect of pace to the film, while also doing a lot of close-ups to capture the emotional qualities of the people and other aspects of society. Riefenstahl uses a similar method to depict her film. She too, uses techniques such as moving cameras to create a sort of pace for this revolution that the Third Reich is bringing. She also uses long shots, with focus to one main subject creating raw and real emotion for the audience to the person who is speaking.
The other parallel I see with these two films is the world response. After each of these films came out the world went into a frenzy. For the Man with a Movie Camera, people around the world had never seen anything like that filmed before, meaning, society so raw and so real filmed in so many unique and never before seen ways. And with Triumph of the Will, however, the world turned into a frenzy in the wrong way. The German people loved it and it was considered to be the “greatest piece of german cinema ever.” While in England and the USA said that it was “poison feeding the younger generations of this world.” One thing is for certain though with these films, and that is they had a lasting impact in the cinematic world and in society.