Archive for the “Vertov Response” Category

Surprisingly, this reading turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. When I first started reading it at home, Vertov used such big words and not to sound like a preschooler, but those words through me off completely. His style of writing was so intense and so overdone in my opinion that it made me not want to read it any further. I honestly didn’t know what I was reading. “The machine makes us ashamed of man’s inability to control himself,” is that something you read every day? But once we started discussing it in class and breaking down what he meant, his words and his style of writing became so intriguing!

Vertov definitely has a style all his own; it’s something that I really can’t put my finger on. It’s not like reading something by Shakespeare and saying “this is Shakespeare because I know how he writes.” Vertov has created this unbelievable entertaining style of writing that lends a voice to his readers by constantly using the word “we.” (You don’t see that a lot in Shakespeare.) And for someone who generally has a passion for film and the ‘art’ of filmmaking, his metaphorically usage for cinematography is amazing. He gives such a realistic feel, description actually, to the art of cinematography. “Cinematography must die so that the art of cinema may live.” Yet again, is that something you read every day?

For Vertov to take something as common as film, which technology is now letting us to take it for granted I believe, and give it a voice is fantastic, which is why once I started to look deeper into his writing I enjoyed it so much. It truly is amazing how Vetrov defended cinema and showed what its true value is. Yes I understand times are changing and things are only going to expand and getter better from here, but is more always better? Is having a film shot in Dolby Digital 3D with Surround Sound really necessary!? I think we’re doing it now just to do it; just for a director to say “my movie is a 3D movie and yours wasn’t.” Soon it won’t be action and horror films that are 3D, it’ll probably be comedies and dramas.

After reading Vetov and figuring out what his stance is on cinematography and cinema itself, I think he would be extremely disappointed to see what is in our movie theaters today. I think he’s turning in his grave just knowing that over 30 movies will be released in 3D next year. (You know a whole lot more will be converted because 3D now has become a sure fire way for studios to make big bucks at the box office.) He definitely would say that Avatar is a blow to cinematography and that it destroyed the real meaning of the motion picture. (But you have to admit, it was a great movie!) Like I said, Cinema must be able to flow freely, without cuts, edits and visual distraction so that the art of cinema is to remain dominant.

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When I started reading Vertov’s article, I found this article to be better than most of the articles. Vertov’s style was definitely different but the most refreshing. Vertov believed in Kino-Pravda or “film truth”. Here he states what believes should be shown in film through rules and guidelines because he strongly disliked cinematography. Vertov’s strong dislike of cinematography comes from his belief that it ruins cinematic art.

Vertov’s “Cinematography must die so that the art of cinema may live” is trying to explain that the fancy gimics in films ruins the actual quality of films. It distorts the truth and leads the viewers to be dissatisfied. I don’t believe that cinematography should “die” but more like “be used less frequently”. Films should be able to have edits, but not edits that could drastically change the imagery of the film. If it didn’t have at least a few edits the film might not be as visually attractive to the audience. Basically less is more.

I  like how he states that camera eye is more perfect than the human eye, because the camera catches whatever the human eye cannot see. The camera eye can be modified in order to get the “perfect” picture, while the human eye cannot. I find truth in this statement because there are many things the human eye misses in everyday life. The camera is the most recent and effective tool that can capture everything.

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Based on the impression that Eisenstein’s essay gave me before, when I knew that Verto was a Russian filmmaker, I have got bad feeling about this essay that it would be very interesting but very difficult to understand. For me, it seems like any Russian cinematic and artistic idealism is always abstract and difficult.

I have never read a manifesto before. In Verto’s manifesto, the first word that drew my attention was “WE”. He seems to separate himself and his people from the ordinary filmmakers and I think this would be one of the Harvey’s elements- stance. Thanks to this unique writing style, I can even imagine the way he read this manifesto. We have discussed that there were many important things or more like the main points of the manifesto on Monday. “’Cinematography’ must die so that the art of cinema may live.” After I have read the whole essay, I think what Verto meant by “the art of cinema” is the ability that cinema showing the truth. And I still don’t understand what the actual meaning of “’cinematography’ must die”. How could it possible that there is not cutting, editing and any other technical things in a film? I think it certainly can film something smoothly but that would require a lot of manipulation in order to film “perfectly”. Plus, this would not be the case of showing the truth. Moreover, I think a film without cutting, without editing is like a essay without “stitching”, it would be so hard to draw people attention and people would be confused that what the most important ideas are in the essay or in the film.

Verto also said about the “cinema eye”, he said that we should not trust our human eyes because they are not perfect while the “cinema eye” is more perfect “for the exploration of the chaos of visual phenomena that fits space” ( 15). This idea is totally new and weird to me because it conflicts the thought I have as I think a filmmaker should use camera as a tool to convey his/her ideas and observation and that would be what Verto said “copy the work of our eye”.( 83, Kinoks-Revolution, Selections) I mean, I think copying from what one have seen and what one have thought or conceived about is always the main idea I have about films and their makers. I can hardly imagine what it would be like if there is no any idea behind the making of a film. The camera would be like shooting things around without any goal and the audiences would not even understand what the theme of the film is. Verto said that he wanted to become a poet and I think that’s why he wrote some parts of the essay in a poetic way and the example is the poem on page 92 of Kinoks-Revolution, Selections.

Although we have found evidences in Verto’s essay which support his ideas, I still think this essay is petty empty and it is embarrassing to say that, for me, this essay is just like a psycho talking something unrealistic and nonsense. Maybe Harvey would say that this is not a good academic essay since the evidences didn’t support the thesis well.

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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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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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