Dziga Vertov montage response
Working within a Marxist ideology, Vertov strove to create a futuristic city that would serve as a commentary on existing ideals in the Soviet world. This artificial city’s purpose was to awaken the Soviet citizen through truth and to ultimately bring about understanding and action. The kino’s aesthetic shined through in his portrayal of electrification, industrialization, and the achievements of workers through hard labour.
In this montage, Vertov shows blinking of the women, the “blinking” of the window shutters, and also of the camera aperture. These three images are shown in a repeated loop each gradually sped up in frames for a more intense effect. This is called visual-linguistic punning. And here, it’s a montage playing on the similarity in Russian language of the words for eye and window, as well as the name of Vertov’s experimental film group, the Camera Eye. To the foreign viewers, like us, we would not understand this punning, so in order to have understood it, a little bit of background research is needed.
Vertov’s use of stylistic symbolism was especially effective in creating a universal theme throughout the film. For example, one scene intercuts hidden camera shots of a couple getting marriage certificates and another couple at a divorce registry office. Soon after, two old women are shown attending a funeral procession and a woman is shown giving birth to a child. These shots are juxtaposed to possibly make a statement on the then current state of the Soviet world vs. a future one ‘being born.’ Regardless, these sharply cut shots create a jarring effect for the viewer.
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