SKU 239


Walter Ruttmann, Paul von Hindenburg

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (German: Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt), a 1927 German silent film directed by Walter Ruttmann, and co-written by Carl Mayer and Karl Freund, is a prominent example of the city symphony genre.   A musical score to accompany the film was written by Edmund Meisel.   As a "city symphony" film, it portrays the life of a city, mainly through visual impressions in a semi-documentary style, without the narrative content of more mainstream films, though the sequencing of events can imply a kind of "narrative" of the city's daily life.  (65 mins.; very good quality. Silent German film)

KINO-OKULO (1924):

In 1922, the year that Nanook of the North was released, Vertov started the Kino-Pravda series.  The series took its title from the official government newspaper Pravda.  "Kino-Pravda" (literally translated, "film truth") continued Vertov's agit-prop bent. "The Kino-Pravda group began its work in a basement in the centre of Moscow" Vertov explained.  He called it damp and dark.  In the "Kino-Pravda" series, Vertov focused on everyday experiences, eschewing bourgeois concerns and filming marketplaces, bars, and schools instead, sometimes with a hidden camera, without asking permission first.  The episodes of "Kino-Pravda" usually did not include reenactments or stagings (one exception is the segment about the trial of the Social Revolutionaries: the scenes of the selling of the newspapers on the streets and the people reading the papers in the trolley were both staged for the camera). The cinematography is simple, functional, unelaborate—perhaps a result of Vertov's disinterest in both "beauty" and the "grandeur of fiction."  Twenty-three issues of the series were produced over a period of three years; each issue lasted about twenty minutes and usually covered three topics.  The stories were typically descriptive, not narrative, and included vignettes and exposés, showing for instance the renovation of a trolley system, the organization of farmers into communes, and the trial of Social Revolutionaries; one story shows starvation in the nascent Marxist state.   (88 mins. Very good quality. Russian film with Esperanto subtitles idiotically placed over the English ones).

DVD-R IS Approximately 153 minutes. REGION FREE.

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