telling stories for audiences of the digital age
More About Me
Founding partner and creative director of VERTOV digital storytelling | Film director and screenwriter | President of the Dutch Directors Guild | Blogger at Frankwatching | Storyteller at TEDxAmsterdam | Debuting novelist at Uitgeverij Atlas Contact | Retired magician
“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations. Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you.” —Dziga Vertov
Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent film Man with a Movie Camera has been voted the world’s best documentary ever by a poll of filmmakers and critics organized by the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine.
David Abelevich Kaufman is documentary’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Indeed, there is a photograph of him caught in mid-air, jumping. His pseudonym ‘Dziga Vertov’, which translates as ‘spinning top’, could not be more apposite. And his masterpiece, Man with a Movie Camera (Chelovek s kinoapparatom, 1929) is a flash spinning-top of a movie. It has taken more than 80 years, though, for this to be fully recognised. Man with a Movie Camera is a ‘city symphony’ film of a kind not uncommon in the 1920s. These films celebrated the vibrancy of the modern cityscape with pastiches of urban images, for the most part neither set up nor reconstructed. Vertov, though, plays fast and loose with the conventions of such films, to profound effect. He superimposes, splits the screen, deploys fast- and slow-motion and extreme close-ups, and animates using stop-motion. Most surprisingly, he shows us the processes whereby a documentary is made. The eponymous man with the movie camera is his brother Mikhail, and his wife, Yelizaveta Svilova, is his editor. Both appear at work on screen.
Vertov’s agenda in Man with a Movie Camera signposts nothing less than how documentary can survive the digital destruction of photographic image integrity and yet still, as Vertov wanted, “show us life.” Vertov is, in fact, the key to documentary’s future. It is no wonder that two years ago Man with a Movie Camera entered the top ten in Sight & Sound’s ‘Greatest films of all time’ list and that now it tops the poll for the greatest documentary ever made. It is not merely that a great film now receives its just deserts. Vertov has no reason any longer to be “sad.” —Brian Winston, excerpted from a new essay in September 2014 issue of Sight & Sound
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Haha, classics postmoderntextized!
Spectacular video by Rob Whitworth using an innovative Flow-Motion technique. See if you recognise all locations!
Alex McLean, a licensed pilot and photographer, took these gorgeous photos “just by sticking his camera out the window”.
Thank god… ;-)
Artist Jonas Dahlberg has been chosen to create three memorials, one of which cuts a 3.5m slit in the landscape, to remember the victims of Anders Behring Breivik. Read more
Picture: Jonas Dahlberg Studio