Power of Pictures Thursday Evening Film Screening

Man with a Movie Camera and The House on Trubnaya


Thursday, October 29, 2015
5:30 – 8 pm
Exhibition Galleries - 2nd Fl

5:30 pm: Man with a Movie Camera is one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, it features a groundbreaking style of rapid editing, done by Elizaveta Svilova, Vertov’s collaborator and wife, and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of great power and energy. Shot in Odessa, Kiev, and Kharkiv over three years, the film captures twenty-four hours in the life of a Soviet city. It presents urban Russian life as a dizzying montage of people at work and play, and the machines that endlessly whirl to keep the metropolis alive. It is also a film about the artifice of filmmaking: Vertov shoots scenes of the cameraman—his brother Mikhail Kaufman—shooting scenes, scenes of film being edited, and even scenes of a film audience. There are recurring shots of an eye seen through a camera lens. Man with a Movie Camera was Vertov’s first full-length film, and despite these complexities, his approach is simple, functional, and descriptive. In assembling these fragments of reality he aims to depict deeper ideas than can be seen with the eye alone.

6:45 pm: The comedy The House on Trubnaya follows the trials and tribulations of Parasha, a healthy peasant girl who finds romance and political consciousness after moving to Moscow. Six screenwriters collaborated on the film, considered among the best of the Soviet silent comedies. As the film begins, Parasha, clutching a duck, is searching for an address, only to be led in all the wrong directions by passersby. The duck escapes and our flustered heroine takes after it. Moscow is a maze of tramlines, and the duck, standing in the middle of the tracks, faces imminent danger. But an intertitle interrupts the scene with the words “Freeze frame!” and the film jumps back in time to a country railway station, where the girl is boarding a train for the city. Another intertitle tells us that she intends to stay in Moscow with her uncle, but as the girl bids farewell to her mother and her train departs, another arrives, and the uncle alights. Barnet fuses the popular with the avant-garde while satirizing Moscow life during the NEP period in a series of comic scenes that verge on the absurd.

Free with Pay-What-You-Wish Admission

This page:Film still, The House on Trubnaya, Boris Barnet 1928, USSR, 84 min.

Thumbnail image: Film still, Man with a Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov 1929, USSR, 68 min.