Upon seeing Berlin: die Sinfonie der Großstadt, architect, writer, film theorist and cultural critic Siegfried Kracauer is said to have felt great discontent towards its absence of a conventional narrative, claiming that its superficial interest in the aesthetics of the metropolis failed to establish a connection among the portrayed phenomena by neither embroidering on the human element or presenting Berlin objectively detailed and geographically accurate. Looking at Ruttman's earlier work in Opus I-IV, his interest for turning abstract material into delightful, optical compositions are more obvious. It is in a similar way the metropolitan life is treated as a strictly aesthetic phenomenon in the symphony of Berlin. And by working with representational images, the film proved to have a wider appeal while still sharing the passive and static camera-work essential in his previous films. Personally, I feel that this quasi-documentary contains a highly present narrative that, through subjective angles and montage editing that don not compromise its objective cinematography, tells a story so clear it would put any Morgan Freeman voice-over to shame.
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