Currently viewing the tag: "film history"

The French newspaper L’Express has on the occasion of the 64th Cannes Film Festival put up a collection of all 64 Cannes Film Festival posters on their website, here.

The poster above, for the 1961 festival, is one of my favorites, but almost all of them are pretty great. This one was designed by A.M. Rodicq.

In case you were wondering, the Palme D’Or went that year to two films ex aequo: Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana, and Henri Colpi’s Une aussi longue absence.

Vertov's Notebook

 

Vertov's Notebook

Dziga Vertov’s 1929 pseudo-doc still retains its power to amaze. Post-modern before the term had even been (unnecessarily) invented, Vertov presents a documentary about a documentary, while at the same time showing us a documentary. The only character is the cinematographer, or to be more accurate, the man with the movie camera (various English language titles have called the film Living Russia, or The Man With A Camera, but the original Russian translates literally to Man With A Movie Camera, and it’s easy to see why). There is no plot, beyond that conveyed in the title. There is no narrative. The lone character is “played” by Mikhail Kaufman, who is also the film’s actual cinematographer (along with Gleb Troyanski, uncredited). The footage was edited by Vertov’s wife, Elizaveta Svilova. It was filmed in the Ukraine, largely in Odessa, and presents (ostensibly) a portrait of the Soviet worker’s life from dawn to dusk. Vertov (real name Denis Arkadevich Kaufman) used 1,775 separate shots to make MWAMC, and in presenting these shots, in a rapid-fire manner that pre-dated and predicted MTV by some fifty plus years, he invented, deployed, or developed techniques like double exposure, fast motion, freeze frames, jump cuts, split screens, jump cuts (see what I did there?), extreme close-ups, footage playing backwards, stop-motion animation, and a self-reflexive style taken to such an extreme that at one point he has a split screen tracking shot where each side has opposing Dutch angles.

The pages above are taken from Vertov’s notebook and give some idea of his process. You can find out more at the excellent site Mubi, which deserves your full attention and support, much as Vertov’s still-astonishing masterpiece does, all these years later.

Side notes:

1) The film collective formed by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Golin, among others, in France, active from 1968 to 1972 (Tout Va Bien and Letter to Jane are both available from the Criterion Collection, the others… good luck), called themselves Groupe Dziga Vertov.

2) I discovered that the Russian word for “lift,” or elevator, is or at least was “lift,” transliterated into Cyrillic characters, by watching this movie. I recently wrote a long short story with that title but did not explain where I had taken the title from. If anyone from Tin House is reading this post, this is how that happened.