68 minutes, U.S.S.R., 1929, Black and White, D-Cinema

This film was released on Friday 31st July 2015 and is no longer screening.

Proclaimed as an ‘experiment in cinematic communication of real events’, Man with a Movie Camera was voted number one in Sight & Sound’s poll of the greatest documentaries of all time. Intent on foregrounding features that distinguish cinema from theatre and literature, including techniques like double exposure and the freeze frame, Dziga Vertov renounced conventional narrative structure in favour of a free-wheeling portrayal of a day in the life of a modern Russian city, a project that took him four years to make with his wife, editor Elizaveta Svilova, and brother, cameraman Mikhail Kaufman.

A profoundly self-reflexive work, this trio of innovators constantly draw attention to the filmmaking process, exposing the relationship between the image and its construction as a layered record of urban experience unfolds. Accompanied here by music from the Alloy Orchestra, this remains a staggering, indefatigable cinematic achievement. (Notes by Alice Butler)

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