Ukrainian Film Was Named The Greatest Documentary of All Time

Ukrainian film, Man with a Movie Camera, directed by Dziga Vertov (David Kaufman), filmed in 1929 in Odessa, Kyiv and Kharkiv (created at Odessa Film Studio) was picked by more than 100 cineastes who took part in the inaugural Sight & Sound poll and has been voted the greatest ever documentary. More than 1,000 films were nominated by more than 200 critics and 100 film-makers from around the world.

Man with a Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov’s feature, whose running time is 69 minutes, presents urban life in the Ukrainian cities of Odessa, Kharkiv, and Kyiv. From dawn to dusk Soviet citizens are shown at work and at their leisure, living a new, more modern lifestyle.

It was produced in 1929 as a silent film by the studio VUFKU. The feature, which has no actors or story or sets, is truly experiemental. Its unusual characters are the cameramen, the film editor, and the modern Soviet Union they depict on screen. Read more

Sight and Sound’s web editor Nick Bradshaw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – “It’s part of a genre that was very popular in the 1920s,” “Filming cities, showing you the workings of them, showing you all the layers and intricacies that make up, typically, a day in the life of a city.” “This one has the extra layer of showing you its own filming… so as the title suggests you see quite a lot of Dziga Vertov’s cameraman filming the city, you see the editor putting the film together, you see the audience coming into the cinema and watching it.”

“It’s a film about the city and about society, and about the world; it’s also a film about cinema and what cinema adds to the world.”

The top ten alone are the following:

1. A Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
2. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, France 1985).
3. Sans soleil (Chris Marker, France 1982).
4. Night and Fog (Alain Resnais, France 1955).
5. The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, USA 1989).
6. Chronicle of a Summer (Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, France 1961).
7. Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, USA 1922).
8. The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, France 2000).
9. Dont Look Back (D.A. Pennebaker, USA 1967).
10. Grey Gardens, (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer, USA 1975).

In Ukrainian:

Український фільм 1929 року став кращою стрічкою всіх часів. Кінострічка «Людина з кіноапаратом» Дзиги Вертова (Давида Кауфмана), яку зняли 1929 року на Одеській кіностудії, завоювала першість у рейтингу Британського кіноінституту.

Укладачі рейтингу, який опублікований в журналі Sight & Sound, вважають, що цей фільм є кращою документальною стрічкою всіх часів. В опитуванні брали участь більше 200 критиків і 100 режисерів із різних країн.

У німому експериментальному фільмі «Людина з кіноапаратом» йдеться про те, як кіно передає глядачеві явища реальності. Без акторів і сценарію, ця робота спрямована на створення певної «мови кіно», яка відрізняється від театру і літератури.

Друге і третє місця в рейтингу Британського кіноінституту дісталися французьким стрічкам «Шоа» і Sans Soleil.

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  1. Awesome work. I’ve heard little about Dziga Vertov but I haven’t had yet the chance to see this famous documentary. I must say that I’m really impressed of the realism of the pictures and the modern “look” of the cameraman. It’s hard to believe that it was filmed in 1929. I mean, seriously, this could be perfectly a current film. I agree with the cineastes that have chosen this documentary as the best one ever.

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