Film Directors: A Revolution

In ” Film Directors: A Revolution”, Dziga Vertov is very interested in the way cinema interacts with the audience. A main point made throughout the entirety of the essay is that the “cinematic eye” is different than the human eye and has the ability to show an audience much different things than a human eye can. The essay is separated into numbered parts totaling at 5 separate sections. The First section entitled 1 is calling for the ” emancipation of the film-camera, which remains wretchedly enslaved, subordinated to the imperfect, undiscerning human eye”( Vertov 258). The most important thing to Vertov is that the film camera has unlimited potential to be perfected, whereas the human eye has very set boundaries, therefore the film-camera should be treated differently and not try to mimic a human eye. In section labeled 2 Vertov describes essentially how montage fits into this idea of camera eye, deliberately saying that it is the camera’s responsibility to forcefully transfer the spectators eye to the details it wants to be focused them to be focused on. In the third section Vertov addresses cinema’s  ability to play in space and time which results in a constructed reality. Again he hits on the ability of montage to influence this reality, he uses the shot of a room as an example. The room is made of 12 walls filmed in various parts of the world, but the shots are arranged in an order to make a room pleasing to the audience’s eye, even though the room is manufactured and dependent on shot order ( Vertov 260). The fourth section is interesting because he deliberately recognizes the mechanility of the camera, but he believes this mechanility allows the camera to be in perpetual motion and to be able to “contrast any points in the universe”( Vertov 260). The fifth and final section offers a contrast between the cinema-eye and the human-eye, setting it up as if the two are in contrast to each other. Vertov states that the “cinema-eye, which disputes the visual presentation of the world by human eye, and presents its ” I see!” ( Vertov 262). I guess  the question I have for Vertov involves this concept of the separate “cinema-eye.” Vertov suggests that the “cinema-eye” is able to direct attention and focus of an audience and he even personifies it in section 4, ” I creep up on them, I climb onto them, I move alongside the muzzle of a running horse…” ( Vertov 260). Is this  a different form of identification than what Balazs suggested in his essay? Or does Vertov believe identification is not necessarily meaning the camera is our eye and montage is enough to create this identification? How i understood Vertov’s view was that we are sharing the camera’s viewpoint, it is not necessarily sharing ours, so we are essentially the camera, which is why he could have used personification.

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