Breathtakingly paced and edited, this most famous example of Vertov's Kino-Pravda and a manifestation of what a film is capable of stuns until today. The amount of movies which have been directly inspired by this masterpiece is countless. What additionally remains timeless is the search of an ideal portrait of a modern city and its people. A deeply experimental journey to the origins of contemporary cinema.
3.5. Apart from being a historically significant film, it's also a nice watch-at least if you're into this kind of cinema. There are many awkward moments, of course, at least from my point of view, but overall it has a nice and somewhat 'musical' flow.
A city is no less natural than an anthill, and here we have a nice cinematic metaphor which shows the human ants navigating the mechanical maze they have built for themselves. The symbiosis of man and machine is here rendered as beautiful as anywhere before. It also quite clearly signposts that rather than liberation by machine we were always actually seeking assimilation into the machine.
There are but a few things one could say about this movie without sounding like a pretentious dirtbag who's trying to impress his peers at an overpriced café. "Deconstruction of a non-fiction film" is probably as safe as you can go. A true guide for aspiring editors, stop-motion aficionados and people who like discussing reflexive filmmaking. It's also funnily inspiring and has a whole slew of derivated works.
I appreciate the innovations of this film. Having said that, I really do not understand why people could see this as anything other than a really good showreel. It's boring as fuck and essentially proves than cinema without narrative can carry nothing, except a sense of it's own importance.
Should we find ourselves in some godforsaken, post-apocalyptic future, where film is dead and long forgotten, let this be the one surviving print. A Rosetta Stone for the language of cinema. And film would be born again! Having said that (and risking blasphemy) I'm fascinated by the idea of a newer iteration of the project: (Person) with a Digital Camera; the linguistic evolution of film in the post-mechanical world.
Vertov wants to create a 'universal language of cinema' and sees himself as supervisor of this experiment. It is without script, actors or any such trappings of theatre & in many ways, it reminds me off Chris Marker's Sans Soleil with its connections and associations between images composing a world memory, a transversal and open whole.