Friday, July 31, 2015

The Man Behind Man With a Movie Camera

Yelizaveta Svilova was busy organising footage in her office at a Moscow newsreel agency one afternoon when a colleague rushed over to her and said “Your director is jumping from the second floor window.” When she followed him outside she found her future collaborator and husband Dziga Vertov standing on the terrace, his brother Mikhail Kaufman standing below with a camera ready to capture whatever was about to happen. Vertov jumped and landed with a huge burst of laughter. When Svilova asked him what on earth he was doing, he replied, “I want to see life the way it is. When I jumped I was afraid, when I landed safely I was glad.” The trio later reconvened to study the footage that Kaufman had captured, and Svilova recalled this as a defining moment for her: “I realised when I looked at the material that it brought something new to film.”

Read the rest of my article on Mostly Film

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Il Cinema Ritrovato 2015

At the height of summer, when cinemas are dominated by the noise of 3D blockbusters, Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato festival can feel like an escape route for filmgoers seeking something more sedate, rare and esoteric. Now in its 29th year, the festival gathers together an eclectic range of films from across the world, presented on both archive prints and new restorations, and introduces them to audiences who may never get another opportunity to see them. The large and detailed festival brochure handed out to attendees uses the term Il paradiso dei cinefili, the cinephiles’ heaven, and I found little in my time there to contradict this statement. Having said all of that, it felt a bit incongruous to don a pair of 3D glasses as I sat down for my first film after arriving in Bologna. It seems there’s no escaping stereoscopic gimmickry.

Read the rest of my article at Mostly Film