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The Way of the Termite: The Essay in Cinema

Thursday, January 29, 2009
7:30 p.m. The Man with a Movie Camera
Dziga Vertov (U.S.S.R., 1929)

PFA Collection Print
Judith Rosenberg on Piano

Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, J. P. Gorin will not appear in person at this screening as previously announced. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

(Chelovek s kinoapparatom). Witty, sassy, with an infectious joie de vivre, The Man with a Movie Camera demonstrates Dziga Vertov’s “kino-eye” theory endowing the camera with the flexibility of the human eye—and the associative powers of a poet’s brain. An ecstatic portrait of a city and its inhabitants (really three cities, Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa merged), it is a compendium of extravagant camera and editing techniques, forever commenting on itself and our own watching. Appropriately, the camera-hero takes a bow at the end.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Vertov. Photographed by Mikhail Kaufman. (65 mins @ 24 fps, Silent, B&W, 35mm, PFA Collection)

Preceded by short:
À propos de Nice (Jean Vigo, France, 1930). A “kino-eye” document (shot by Boris Kaufman, Dziga Vertov’s brother and cameraman) of Nice, a town “living a game: the great hotels, the tourists, the roulette, the paupers. Everything is doomed to die” (Vigo). (27 mins @ 20 fps, Silent, B&W, 16mm, From Biograph Entertainment)

• (Total running time: 92 mins)