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Man with a Movie Camera

1929, VUFKU (Kyiv), 6 parts /1830 m, 67'

 Mikhail Kaufman

Man with a Movie Camera is one of the major manifestos of the world cinema avant-garde. According to aesthetic principles of Vertov, the film was not based on a script.

In the documentary Man with a Movie Camera, Vertov implemented the experiments, which he had been carrying out for many years, and theoretical developments on camerawork and montage, turning the film into a filmmaking methodological guide for the subsequent generations of directors. The camera of the talented cameraman Mikhail Kaufman captures a motley life of the Ukrainian megalopolises – Odesa, Kharkiv, and Kyiv – under New Economic Policy.

The film was shot as a chronicle of one day from the life of a big city, recorded with a camera “cine eye”. The idea for the film belongs to Mіkhail Kaufman, the cameraman and the director’s brother, who suggested that Vertov should create a “cameraman’s diary”. This film turned out to be the last joint project of the talented creative tandem.

Vertov formulated his own creative intention for the film as follows, “This experimental work is aimed at creating a true international absolute film language based on its complete separation from the language of the theatre and literature.”

At the IFF in Mannheim (Germany), in 1964, the film was included in the list of the 12 best documentaries in the world.