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Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Chelovek s kino-apparatom (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 12 May 1929 (USA)
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.




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Credited cast:
Mikhail Kaufman ...
The cameraman


This playful film is at once a documentary of a day in the life of the Soviet Union, a documentary of the filming of said documentary, and a depiction of an audience watching the film. Even the editing of the film is documented. We often see the cameraman who is purportedly making the film, but we rarely, if ever, see any of the footage he seems to be in the act of shooting! Written by George S. Davis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

12 May 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Living Russia, or The Man with a Camera  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Included in the Toronto International Film Festival's Essential 100, movies every cinephile should see. See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning there is a long explanation of what this film is about and that it is of experimental origin. See more »


Referenced in Hungerford: Symphony of a London Bridge (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

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24 May 2004 | by (Vermont) – See all my reviews

I have had the opportunity to see Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera (Chelovek s Kinoapparatom) in my film documentary class. While creating the film Vertov aimed at capturing real life. He used the camera as the witness of true life. He believed that the camera was a machine. He valued the reliance of machinery. Vertov alleged that the machine would be the corner stone for the progress of industrialization. He thought that industrialization and service of people would liberate their society.

The Man with a Movie Camera was a silent film that was created in black and white. Vertov did not use a script for the beginning of the film because he did not want the audience to believe it was fictional. He used many different scenic shots in his film. There were clips of benches, land, buildings, water, and windows. He was able to capture everyday life among humans in Russia. He was able to capture all emotions as well as important events in their lives. He captured weddings, funerals, injuries, salon appointments, divorce, business, and birth.

His film was very kinetic. He was very concerned with making the subject and the camera movement perfect. The pace of the film was created to simulate the reality of what people are doing. The pace was also effected by the pace and direction of the Soviet Union in the 1920's. He was able to capture the vibrancy of life by showing the humans going about their everyday life.

Vertov used still frames for many of the athletes in his film. He would freeze frame the competitors one by one while they were performing. After he freeze framed each individual athlete, he would show them engaging fully in their activity. I thought this was very useful to keep the audiences attention. Dziga was able to create a distinction between classes. There were scenes with the upper class out at the salons, and other prestige's places among the city. He was able to create scenes where many of the humans were struggling for survival.

Vertov's film is one that I will need to see again to have a full appreciation of his talent. I was confused through out several scenes. I was not able to completely understand why he would change the pace of the film when he did. I really liked how he was able to capture humans during their everyday activities. Not once did I believe that any of the scenes in his film were staged. He is a very creative director who is worth learning more about.

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