Released in 1929, the same year as Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's Un Chien Andalou, Vertov’s film was a pioneering force for the future of documentary features.
Although its content is of historical intrigue to the modern viewer, a time capsule of Soviet propaganda, it is Vertov’s cinematic techniques that stimulate the twenty first century movie fan. Vertov either invents or develops such influential techniques as double exposures, fast and slow motion, stop motion animations and tracking shots.
Moreover, the very concept of a meandering narrative capturing reality as it happens, and then presented as an artistic feature-length movie, was unheard of in 1929. Vertov’s toying with the surreal and the real is audacious to say the least: at one point a cameraman is superimposed inside a beer glass, a shot which precedes genuine footage of a woman giving birth.
But although the movie has an unashamedly avant-garde style, his grasp of the concept of documentary is something to which all modern documentary makers owe a huge debt of gratitude. In spite of the fact that cameras in the 1920s were far clunker than their contemporary counterparts, Vertov was insistent that the film contain shots from ‘hidden cameras’. His method was to distract viewers with something else and so ensure the human expressions that surfaced on screen were as truthful as they could be.
Musician Paul Robinson has been commissioned to write over ten scores for silent films so far and his written numerous scores for ballets and operas. The Barbican’s one off event contains a slice of history, thought-provoking art and uniquely scored music. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
|What||'Man With A Movie Camera' with Live Musical Accompaniment, Barbican|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
On 26 Oct 14, 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican's website.|