A short analysis of ‘Man with a film camera’

‘Man with a film camera’

The film was made and produced in Russia in 1929. The film is done in black and white, with no dialogue. Which is reflective of the time in cinema, as it would have been during the early days of film, not long ago was the era of the silent film. It does have a sound track or accompaniment through out the film; it consists of a mixture of exciting and intense music. This can be clearly seen during the theater scene, it can be presumed that they have done this to emphasis the fact that it is about what the cameraman sees in cinema. And so it gives it from the perspective of the cameraman, and his commenting upon cinema at the time. For example we see the theater before anyone has come in and the empty seats begin to descend as if someone was sitting in them. It seems ghostly as the music plays a steady rhythm, which could be argued to represent the heartbeat of the cinema. Therefore we could suggest that it is the audience who brings the cinema to life, because if there were no audience of cinema then there would be no cinema.

There is a lack of a clear narrative within the film, while yes we follow the cameraman through the streets of a Russian town, if we look at the images being presented; there is no clear connection from one scene to the next. However this is where the use of music plays a vital role, as this is what gives an indication to the audience the direction of the film. For example the use of the orchestra in the introduction during the theater and the loud up beat tune, in contrast to the mundane humdrum ticking accompaniment previously gives the audience this impression that films are better than real life. This suggests that even in these early stages of cinema and film, it was seen as a means to escape from reality, which can be understandable of the time. However this idea of contrasting real life and film is brought up through out the film, as the contrasting images of homelessness and men sleeping out side, against a woman sleeping in a large bed, demonstrates the gap between the haves and the have not’s.

The way in which they have chosen to show the woman also goes some way in demonstrating how women are represented during this time. The shots we have of her are usually of one part of her body or another but never with her face at the same time. For example when she is led in bed the audience is presented images of her arms and hands, this fragmentation of the female form, as suggested by Laura Mulvey, turns the women into an object. Therefore the male audience is free to objectify them, for their own pleasure. This is a very negative approach to this admittedly beautiful use of cinematography and lighting, it might be argued by some that displaying women in this way, is in fact empowering to women. It is difficult to say this for certain due to the time in which it was made, however given that it was made during the forefront of the modern-day cinema, it would be unlikely that many of the audience would of seen a women portrayed in such a way before. Therefore it could be argued that although the representation might be negative, the impact it might of had for discussing the image and potion of women in society would have been very important.

A theme through out this film as I have mentioned would be fantasy and reality, or the real and the surreal. It shows how as humans we try to find a way to escape from our reality by any means necessary, whether its simple through our own imagination or the imagination of someone else.


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