Dziga Vertov. Man with a movie camera (OIFF)
Odessa is a Ukrainian seaport and a beautiful resort with a diverse cultural scene and strong cinematographic tradition. In 1894, a year and a half before the famous Lumiere brothers show on Boulevard des Capucines, Odessa engineer Iosif Timchenko presented a “moving pictures” projector. In 1907 the first film studio in the former Russian Empire was opened in the city, and since then almost 700 films were made there. Sergei Eisenstein, Oleksandr Dovzhenko and Dziga Vertov made Odessa a legendary place for Ukrainian cinema.
On 10 July 2015 6th Odessa International Film Festival (Ukraine) has officially started. Participants of competition programs and jury members were introduced at the Opening ceremony that took place at the Festival Palace.
British minimalist composer famous by his music scores to Peter Greenaway’s films, Michael Nyman, visited the 6th Odessa International Film Festival. Over the last two days he was awarded the Golden Duke award for Lifetime Achievement, met journalists and attendees of the Summer Film School, filmed a short about Odessa and played his score for Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera with his Michael Nyman Band.
“I am happy to come to Odessa and visit the places where Dziga Vertov filmed Man with a Movie Camera”, said Michael Nyman at the beginning of his press conference on the opening day of the festival. The composer noted that he regretted most viewers think Man with a Movie Camera was filmed in Moscow only, though the shooting also took place in Kyiv and Odessa. Mr Nyman shared how he got involved into Vertov’s art:
“I was about 60 when I first saw Man with a Movie Camera, but even before, I used to carry my small camera with me and shoot all the time. My film editor once saw the footage and said it resembles Dziga Vertov. It was an intuitive coincidence, and I decided to film Nyman with a Movie Camera.”
The night of July 11 turned the Potemkin Stairs into the biggest open-air cinema in the world. The event took place with the support of the British Council in Ukraine. British Council Director in Ukraine, Simon Williams, and Ambassador of the UK to Ukraine, Simon Smith, made speeches before the screening.
His Excellency Simon Smith pointed out that last year the Potemkin Stairs gathered people to watch Hitchcock’s film accompanied by the Ukrainian symphony orchestra. This time, it was the opposite: the British composer would accompany the masterpiece by the Ukrainian film director. The Ambassador reported the British Prime Minister’s message of need for uncompromising support for Ukraine and expressed gratitude for the brilliant example of international partnership.
Michael Nyman with his orchestra came upon the stage to play live music score for the world’s best documentary according to the British Sight & Sound magazine (the poll of 2014). To close the performance, the orchestra played an encore of a musical excerpt from his music score to Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. Michael Nyman received a standing ovation of 15,000 viewers
Dziga Vertov “Man with a Movie Camera”
Dziga Vertov is a filmmaker of a rare breed. Unlike Hollywood’s classic silent film, that romanticizes American history and values, Vertov looks forward and promotes a new, industrial era. Unlike German expressionism, dedicating camerawork to conveying emotion, he conveys motion and speed. Even unlike his Russian contemporaries perfecting montage to carry fiction narrative, Vertov’s kino-eye does not try to fit into a film genre but creates its own.
Man with a Movie Camera embodies Vertov’s visions of pure enchantment with the invention of film, while serving to the ideals of the social revolution.
Upon the official release of Man with a Movie Camera, Vertov issued a statement at the beginning of the film, which read:
“The film Man with a Movie Camera represents
AN EXPERIMENTATION IN THE CINEMATIC COMMUNICATION
Of visual phenomena
WITHOUT THE USE OF INTERTITLES
(a film without intertitles)
WITHOUT THE HELP OF A SCENARIO
(a film without a scenario)
WITHOUT THE HELP OF THEATRE
(a film without actors, without sets, etc.)
The filmmaker’s phrases his aesthetic and ideological principles in a manifesto (*) which suggests that he is not just a documentarist but an artist and cultural enthusiast. He disapproves of the prevalent feature fiction style and encourages filmmakers to create films out of truthful shots of the world, to build the narrative as a collage, and to adopt completely different (and more honest) optics.
Aside the attention to the form and the film as a process or medium, Vertov’s manifest to carries a strong ideological content. Vertov resents fiction film genres and fake romanticism that drive mankind to lust for wealth and comfort. He draws on the values of realism; instead of feeding the audience and the society with apparently artificial emotion, he sets the man in motion, to make him physically and mentally active and equal to the machine, to make him the new man.
All that was supplemented with the Michael Nyman`s music and created a perfect harmony which bewitched the audience during the open-air review on the Potemkin Stairs that became the fifth location on the list of the “Treasures of European Film Culture”.
However a spectator feels kind of sadness if this movie. Ukrainian documentary film director and jury member of the International Competition of the 6th Odessa International Film Festival Sergey Bukovskiy explained this phenomenon. He said that the real artist always could predict some oncoming events. And so did Dziga Vertov, he had shot “Man with a Movie Camera” in 1929, just before the 1933 (Famine in Ukraine), 1939…To effectively express his ideals, Vertov structures his film as a multi-layered organism, a movie within a movie. There, the process of film-making is equally important as what the camera captures So actually this film shows a society on the verge of a tragedy and the dualism of the film-frame underlines those sad predictions.
Two geniuses were combined in Odessa and the audience saluted them with it`s sincere thanks.
Tagsaesthetic and ideological principles Boulevard des Capucines British minimalist composer Dziga Vertov engineer Iosif Timchenko Lumiere brothers Man with a Movie Camera Michael Nyman Oleksandr Dovzhenko Sergei Eisenstein the 6th Odessa International Film Festival (Ukraine) the biggest open-air cinema the new man the Potemkin Stairs the world’s best documentary the “Treasures of European Film Culture” Vertov’s kino-eye ideals of the social revolution
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