Silent Feature Sunday: Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

While I do watch many new films, and have annual awards and will discuss current cinematic topics. Part of my desire to create my own site was to not have an agenda forced upon me that was not my own. This allows me to discuss films from all periods of history whenever I see fit. Recently my Short Film Saturday posts have been running toward silents more often. I questioned this tactic for a second until I realized that if I really do hope to encompass all of film history then the silent era most definitely should not be ignored. If you mark the silent era from the birth of film (1895) to the first talkie (1927), and I realize it could be argued that the silent era stretched a few years beyond that, and also that there were experiments with sound very early; that’s still 27% of film history at current which was entirely silent. Therefore a weekly post (or, however often I put it up) is not out of line at all mathematically or otherwise.

The good news is that many silent films are available to watch online, and are in the public domain. So I will feature some here.

Coming two years after the release of Berlin: Portrait of a Great City, Man with a Movie Camera is a more kaleidoscopic and dizzyingly, intoxicating piece of early Cinéma vérité, or as the director of this film, and true forerunner of the movement; Dziga Vertov called it Kino-Pravda. The idea is the same: a portrait of a city (this time Moscow) from day-to-night, sure there’s a more Stalinist slant here, but while the politics may be dépassé or objectionable but the cinema is eternal.

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