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Mikhail Kaufman

Soviet director Dziga Vertov's experimental film grew out of his belief, shared by his editor, Elizaveta Svilova (who was also his wife), and his cinematographer, Mikhail Kaufman (also his brother), t... read more read more...hat the true goal of cinema should be to present life as it is lived. To that end, the filmmakers offer a day-in-the-life portrait of a city from dawn until dusk, though they actually shot their footage in several cities, including Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. After an opening statement, there are no words in the film (neither voice-over nor titles), just dazzling imagery, kinetically edited - as a celebration of the modern city with a marked emphasis on its buildings and machinery. The Image Entertainment DVD edition of the film offers a musical score composed from notes left by the director, which adds greatly to the impact of the film. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi

Flixster Users

89% liked it

7,821 ratings


95% liked it

22 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 9 min.

Directed by: Dziga Vertov, Dziga Vertov Group

Release Date: May 12, 1929

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DVD Release Date: May 13, 2003

Stats: 627 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (627)

  • May 14, 2012
    This experimental documentary is a plotless record of life in the Soviet Union, mainly important as a then avant-garde catalog of camera tricks and editing experiments (many of which were pioneered in this film but are commonplace or obsolete now). Most non-film students will fin... read mored this boring and want to stay far, far away, but it has its visually impressive moments, the issues it raises are rich, and it's too important in the history of cinema to give a poor rating.
  • September 18, 2011
    A powerful film, showing the day, of a few, urban citys of Soviet Union. Present all the contrast of the happenings, and showing too how the born of a day have a similarity with an awaken of the woman in the screen and how start the movement in the towns. Man with a Movie Camera,... read more is a amazing experience about the language of the cinema and with the help of the editing and others tricks on cinema tell storys. And in this way that, Vertov, without story or professionals actors, just the direction, photography and music, show the magic happen. Fresh.
  • October 24, 2010
    A beautiful, brilliant film of life. I highly recommend seeing this movie. It's a classic.
  • September 8, 2010
    Call me crazy, but I see nothing in this besides Communist propaganda and goofy special effects. I'm being gracious giving it as high a rating as I did, which is only out of respect to the fan base it has and the impact it's had on so many. I feel like it is an overly ambitious a... read morend hokey type of movie, the shot of the cameraman in the beer glass is just ridiculous. I do find the Communist labor hilarious and the multiple assurances of equality, but in no way do I see it as a landmark in film history.
  • February 19, 2010
    Not for everyone, but a film buff's wet dream. Full of amazing visuals and editing styles that would make even James Cameron wonder why there is a need for CG in film. I highly suggest that you do not see the version with the 1996 musical soundtrack because the music is horrible ... read moreand takes away from the film. If you do happen to come across this version, I suggest muting the soundtrack and adding your own score such as using Johnny Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood which kind of worked out eerily well. Again, not for everyone, but really shows the power of fantastic editing more than anything.
  • December 6, 2009
    Innovative, fast paced celebration of human society. Dziga Vertov covers it all, birth, death, and just about everything in between - including the making of this film. I saw Chelovek s Kino-Apparatom with a recently added and very modern score, it played like an extende... read mored MTV video. Way, way, way ahead of it's time.
  • October 2, 2009
    Dziga Vertov invented cinema with this one film. He knew the potential way before anyone else, even Eisenstein was a couple of years behind. The pair of them defined cinema and to be honest, few film since have matched Man with a Movie Camera as far as originality, importance and... read more joyfulness goes. I love this film, I could watch it over and over again. The BFI DVD realise has 3 fantastic soundtracks to choose from too, so if you're going to buy it, buy that version, its glorious!
  • September 12, 2009
    This important & highly influential film doesn't need any description, Has a few self-indulgence moments which I didn't like though
  • June 15, 2008
    a remarkable experimental film. a documentary style day in the life of average citizens of the soviet union, intercut with scenes of the filmmaking process. edited with energy and wit and alot of interesting visual effects. no script, no sets, no actors; just everyday drama an... read mored a brave man with a movie camera
  • May 21, 2008
    i know this movie was innovative for its time or whatever, but that's all it is: a huge step for cinema and documentaries everywhere. but i look to movies for entertainment, not for historical value. and all this movie was to me was some nice music laid beside some footage of rus... read moresia. the cinematography is indeed gorgeous, but if i want to see the beauty of old-school russia, i would prefer to look at a painting, not an 80 minute long movie.

Critic Reviews

June 24, 2006
Time Out

A truly radical and liberating work. Full Review

Mordaunt Hall
March 25, 2006
Mordaunt Hall, New York Times

It becomes quite tedious and the hour that it lasts seems at least an hour and a half. Full Review

Dave Kehr
December 24, 2005
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

The film remains a fascinating souvenir, though its flourishes are now fairly familiar. Full Review

Dan Jardine
January 24, 2010
Dan Jardine, Cinemania

The film's energy is a key aspect of its optimism, a dawn to dusk challenge to show us a day in the life of a Soviet urban dweller Full Review

Louis Proyect
December 30, 2008
Louis Proyect,

One of the towering masterpieces of Soviet cinema. As much of a joy it is to watch, it is sad to think that the director was effectively silenced as soon as Stalin made "Socialist Realism" mandatory. Full Review

Dennis Schwartz
May 12, 2007
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An odd curio that remains quaint. Full Review

Urban Cinefile Critics
November 25, 2005
Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile

Announced to be an experiment in creating a "truly international language of cinema" it is an early example of self referential filmmaking Full Review

Jeffrey M. Anderson
April 4, 2005
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

It's one of the most amazing, beautiful, complicated and ground-breaking films ever made, and yet it doesn't seem to have ever earned the respect it deserves. Full Review

Kevin N. Laforest
September 15, 2003
Kevin N. Laforest, Montreal Film Journal

Man with a Movie Camera is like a wordless anthem for all cinephiles, directly targeting that je ne sais quoi that makes cinema so powerful. Full Review

July 30, 2003
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's a startlingly avant-garde cross-examination of modern life, as well as a lesson in the power of filmmaking and an autopsy of its methods. Full Review

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