These were only meant to be seen once. These explosive, unwieldy, nearly unprecedented and almost peerless essay films, densely packed with images so resonant they have been studied for nearly one hundred years, were only meant to be seen once. This observation comes from Adrian Martin
on the excellent commentary track accompanying Man with a Movie Camera
(1929), easily Dziga Vertov
’s most important film. The other four films on the set were produced contemporaneously – Kino-Eye in 1924, Kino-Pravda #21 in 1925, Enthusiasm
: Symphony of the Donbass in 1931, and Three Songs About Lenin in 1934. The latter two are sound films. The silent films – Movie Camera, Kino-Eye, and Kino-Pravda #21 feature musical accompaniment, none more accomplished than Alloy Orchestra’s landmark work.
For viewers in my generation, and I would imagine for a great many older than I, Alloy Orchestra’s score for Man with a Movie Camera
is as important a component to the film as anything else.