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Initially, before I began reading Dziga Vertov I expected for it to not be very interesting. After reading on and on I actually found his stuff very interesting because he has all these new strong views on everything we’ve talked about previously. To me, he came across as a very refreshing writer and was a welcome change to what I’ve read earlier and how I’ve felt about the previous readings.

Just by reading the first page, you see his unique format and style of writing. In “WE: Variant of a Manifesto”, he uses “WE” repeatedly but it doesn’t come across as annoying or boring. His take on cinema and cinematography would have to be the main difference that I noticed in his work. He feels that cinematography  takes away from the original beauty of films and he is so against it that he even says it must die. He writes in a very forceful way yet he gives you the chance to interpret and analyze what he’s saying and its never as if he’s saying his views are the only correct ones and thats it.

His work is filled with interesting metaphors and endless quotes that are all really creative and deep. We see his dedication to film and how strongly he feels about what he’s arguing here. His writing was also very accessible and enjoyable from start to finish despite him using so many metaphors and words we’ve probably never heard of like “kinoks” or “kinochestvo”. Reading this helped me see a whole new view of cinematography that has honestly never crossed my mind.

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Today in class we focused on Dziga Vertov’s “‘Kinoks-Revolution,’ Selections”. We got into pairs and looked through the reading for five rules or elements to a Vertov film. We came up with things like but not limited to: do not copy what you see exactly, give your audience something visually stimulating to look at but don’t give them too much so that they miss the point, don’t use the camera as an extension of the human eye, and every film must have a theme which is more important than genre or editing. After identifying the rules with our partner we created academic paragraphs with Gordon Harvey’s elements of a thesis, evidence, analysis and a conclusion sentence. As a class we went over the paragraphs to focus on the difficult task of analysis and how to keep it from being too vague or just more evidence. After that we went over our next project due, the “Kino-Pravda Film Essay”. Professor Ferguson went over the assignment and explained it more clearly. We began planning for it creating a script. We made first drafts of Vertovian Kino-Pravda scripts in an Eisenstein sort of way, making a script of not words but the different shots we will be using. For Monday we need to bring in all of the Vertov readings and a hard copy of either the “Annotated Bibliography” or the “Persuasive Epistolary Essay” we wrote. Also Professor Ferguson pushed back the due date for the next film assignment, the “Kino-Pravda Film Essay”, which was set to be due on Wednesday, November 24th, but has been moved back to Saturday, November 27th, before midnight.

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At first I thought this was going to be another dull reading, especially when I saw how many pages it was. It didn’t take long for me to change my mind however. Dziga Vertov seems to be a very interesting and, dramatic individual. He explains himself in some very unusual ways threw out the selected articles. He also seems to have a very, pragmatic view of cinematography and how it needs to change.

The section that caught my attention the most was at the very beginning, the selection from the Manifesto of the Beginning of 1922. At first he is describing the Director, the writer, movie goers, and owners of movie theaters in very interesting ways. He then goes on to say how they are all waiting for the “New Six real feature.” He talks about how this will not happen unless something is done about it and that something he personifies as a bloody and gory revolution that will only happen once everyone realizes what must be done. That I found to be a very different approach to the subject that I am used to.

I also found the selection from “Down with 16 photographs per second” to be interesting. In this he talks about how the movie camera is better then the human eye. He says that the camera is not required to be in any position or have any sort of “limit to the number of moments to be observed per second.” He says that we cannot improve our eye more then nature has already, but the movie camera we can improve forever.

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When I first opened up this reading I wasn’t very enthusiastic to start reading it. It seemed like a lot of pages and a lot of things to go through.  As I read I realized it wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought because it was broken down into multiple small sections. One of the passages that I liked the most was “Don’t Not Copy from the Eyes”. I really like the way he says that “we raped the movie camera and forced it to copy the work of our eye”.  He makes it seem like the camera is a slave to us and is forced to copy things that we see. I feel like he is suggesting something else be done.

Vertov suggests that the camera should look beyond what the eye sees and explore the subject more. He gives an example “They are lowering the coffins of national heroes (shot in Astraskhan in 1918)… memorial service-hats come off (Moscow 1922)” He sets up a scene for you and as he describes you can almost see it playing out in your head. In the scene you are moving through four years of time but it all goes by in less than a minute.

In the passage ”Early Thoughts” he discusses his face being on camera. He tells us how his face looked and how all of his emotions were shown through his face and through the camera. He describes this as the Kino-eye. The Kino-eye is “a world perceived without a mask, as a world of naked truth”. I feel like even though this statement comes kind of early in his writing it kind of sums up his main point about the Kino-eye. I would also like to had that I liked how Vertov used stories in his life and things like his “Three Songs about Lenin” to discuss his points throughout the essay. I thought that kept it interesting throughout the reading.

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Kino-eye by Dziga Vertov talks about this idea of “cinematography” as being corrupt because it takes away from the real beauty and magic that the simple art of cinema portrays on camera. Vertov strongly urges to get rid of “cinematography” because it tampers with the truth in cinema.  Vertov encourages a revolution of film production towards improving the use of the camera to help capture things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.  In Vertov’s passages titled “Kinoks: A Revolution” he starts off by getting our attention though the repetitive use of the word “you” to refer to the various producers, directors, theaters and spectators who view film. He says that these individuals, which include ourselves, are “waiting for something that will not come” and that the “wait is pointless “(11). This idea of waiting Vertov refers to is the idea that the audience and the makers of film are so caught up in what we wish to portray and what is being portrayed on film that we fail to comprehend and over look the truth behind the work of film as a whole.

Vertov goes into talking about the transformation of film. He believes that by taking out the themes in a work of film no matter what its composition, as long as one leaves the captions, one is still able to change any work of film by replacing it with new illustrations while keeping the film’s original “literary skeleton” (12). He says that “this situation will not change” and the “the correlation is the same” (12).  Vertov is also a strong advocate towards the experimentation of film, and encourages filmmakers to stray away from the norm. He states that there has been a “strong technological lag” and “a loss of active thinking” (13). Vertov directly states “Cinema’s system is poisoned with the terrible toxin of routine. We demand the opportunity to test the antidote we’ve found upon its dying body” (13). When Vertov says this he means that cinema has become so bland and uninspiring due to its repetitive routine that in order to correct the problem there is a need for change and testing of camera work to solve this issue.

A line that I found interesting that Vertov states in this expert is “the situation on the film front must be considered inauspicious” (13). When Vertov is saying this he is directly telling the readers of his work that one should view film as something more than what is portrayed on its surface. One shouldn’t completely trust what they see on the screen and instead look beyond. “We cannot improve the making of our eyes, but we can endlessly perfect the camera.” In Vertov’s manifesto he also spends a great deal advocating that the human eye is “weak” (16). Vertov says the human eye is unable to perceive everything and therefore one should use the camera to capture what the naked eyed can’t see. The machine he repeatedly uses at the end of his excerpt is the camera. The camera, Vertov states, has an eye of its own which he refers to as the “mechanical eye” (19). The camera he believes, should be separate from the control of humans. The action that the camera captures should be something that unfolds without much interference.

There is an idea of being in the middle of the action and not just simply seeing what is present on the screen. There is a direct relationship between the audience and the characters of the film that the camera is involved in showing.  The camera should carry the “film viewer’s eyes…in the most advantageous sequence, and organizes the details into an orderly montage study “(16).  There is no need for “painting, theater, cinematography, and other castrated outpourings” Vertov proclaims because “Radio-ear” and the “Kino- eye” hears and sees (18).  “Within the chaos of movement, running past, away, running into and colliding- the eye, all by itself, enters life” (Vertov 18).  When Vertov says this he means that the eye is able to see through the camera and link the “montage” of images together to come up with one’s own interpretation of a piece of film. The need for “cinematography” isn’t needed because through the camera, the spectator is able to enter the world of the characters in the film without the need for special effects and continuous editing.

I think Vertov is trying to prove that the average human is already equipped with the necessities of interpreting film on our own. The use of cinematography therefore is unnecessary in helping us to do so. The reality is that the use of editing tricks and manipulation of cinematography hinders its truth and the potential of what the camera can truly capture without the use of it. I really enjoyed reading this piece of writing by Vertov. I like how he used words like “you” and “we” because it made me feel as if I was directly part of his work and he was talking to me. I also loved his use of metaphors and similes. The tone of his writing was serious yet enjoyable and exciting to read. I was certainly convinced  and persuaded by his writing.

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My First Reaction to all of this stuff by Vertov was “Wow, this guy is really interesting”. The first thing that stood out to me was in the paragraph where he talks about the literary skeleton of the film. I found this interesting because it makes sense to me. Without the genre of film, what is it? Nothing more than a bunch of images strung together in a line. ” A Literary Skeleton plus Film-Illustrations”. The words and  “images” that Vertov use grabbed hold of me, because there unusual. Vertov’s metaphors and similes held my attention because I’m used to these essays being boring, and drawn out, no colorful language or comparisons, but Vertov’s unusual writing style keeps it interesting.

The next thing that really peaked my interest was his analysis of film. He seems like he either tried really hard to gain something from the newer films of America and the West and the USSR, but no matter how hard he tries, he cannot grasp anything good in them. He states that “The main and essential thing is; The sensory exploration of the world through film”(14). This leads to his description of a perfect eye, more perfect than the human eye at least. An eye that can capture both time and space, and preserve it for all mankind to study. The most important thing about the camera is perception. Vertov talks about how people’s perception from the first person of what they’re doing, and the third person the camera brings us are entirely different, how the camera can capture more going on than the first person eye could ever wish to.

I love the end of this too, where Vertov (who seems to write poems throughout this, to help further his interesting writing) seems to write a whole poem about the camera. It gives the camera a personality, and a powerful one at that, almost God like. It makes you feel the cameras power, what it can do to trick you eye, and even create whats not there. Even mentioning through montage how it can build the perfect human.

Overall i really liked Vertovs writing. It didn’t bore me and overall kept me interested which alot of things seem unable to do.

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The first thing I noticed about this reading was Vertov’s use of Harvey’s “Elements of An Academic Essay”. Just like in the previous reading, Vertov refers to key terms such as “bourgeoisie” and “six-real cine/psycho-drama” to develop his arguments. I believe the structure of this reading was pretty straightforward, Vertov provides us with an example for each point he makes. I think his sentence structure is pretty concise and to the point as well. The tone of the reading for the first couple of pages, however, seems to be angry. During this, he seems to be bashing all filmmakers, and movie-goers, alike. This is portrayed to us through the repetition of the word you (in the manner that he says it) at the beginning of every sentence for the first few sentences.

One quote stuck with me throughout the whole entire reading. On page 81, he says, “The organism of cinematography is poisoned by the frightful venom of habit.” I think this sentence alone could be his thesis. This quotation provides us with his main argument that filmmakers have a tendency of creating their films in such a way that the films are a reflection of their viewpoints and beliefs.

After reading this, I was shocked at how forceful this whole reading seemed. Vertov seems to be sort of pushing his views onto his readers and believing that he, and only he, is right. His mention of the eyes of the audience being under slavery just attests to the fact. At one point on page 83, Vertov states that “We cannot make our eyes better than they have been made, but the movie camera we can perfect forever.” This almost sounds like a sarcastic comment trying to attack the filmmaker by saying that our eyes cannot be adapted to see from the point of view of the filmmaker.

He also goes on to talk about how time is disregarded in movies because one shot, no matter when it took place, can be “stictched” into a shot following a scene with similar characteristics. For example, he mentions, several clips of a burial process. All of these shots can be “stitched” one after another because they are all in sequence and make sense.

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When I had first learned that we would be doing a few readings by Dziga Vertov, my first thought was who is this guy and why is he so important? After reading a few of his manifestos, I am realizing just home important he and his thoughts are. Vertov was a documentary and newsreel director who is also looked at as a cinema theorist. His manifestos about kinopravda, “film truth”, and the importance, or lack there of, of cinematography are brilliant! I really find what he has to say interesting and intriguing, especially the way they are presented to us in such short precious sentences like little thoughts jotted down on a piece of paper. In class we focused on the first reading “WE: Variant of a Manifesto”, which heavily discussed the matter of cinematography and how it gets in the way of true art in films. I agree with what this first reading said, I think it’s true that the picking and cutting and editing of a film just ruin it’s true original beauty.

After reading the brief reading called “The Fifth Issue of Kinopravda”, I found out that Kinopravda was actually a film journal ran by Vertov. I think that in this Vertov is explaining that “newsreel(s) should feed off reality” (Vertov 11) and not feed into this new revelation of editing and cutting and changing things around. That a newsreel should stay close to the truth and not edit it with good lighting or fix things, it should stay close to the idea of kinopravda which is “film truth.”

Lastly the longest reading was “Kinoks: A Revolution”, which although more lengthy then the others was more full of information. I think that the first thing that stuck out to me was the structure of this reading its very well planned out, it even has subtitles which point out other pieces of evidence that support his claims on film truth and newsreels in general. The manifesto starts out with Vertov talking to us, the filmmakers, the audiences, the proprietors, the people stuck with memories and the waiters, he speaks to us saying open your eyes to whats around you, look at the sensations of cinema going threw a revolution! I think the way he says this, the way it stands out on a page, the way its written and the way he compares the the revolution to guts spilling out of a body, I just thought was so amazing! He then goes on to explain different cases where this “revolution” is occurring, giving us pure evidence and logos (logical persuasion) with the dates and facts and everything. I just think that Vertov is very smart and the way he puts these writings together is what makes them. Threw them we are allowed to get a taste of Vertov, and i absolutely loved what he was saying.

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