I’ve been a fan of The Cinematic Orchestra for some time, but I’ve never seen the work that made them famous. I’ve had a copy of the soundtrack since the beforetimes in the frozen land, but I’ve not seen it in its original form.

In 1999 the band was asked to score Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent film Man With a Movie Camera for a European cultural festival in Portugal. They performed it live with the film, and the show ‘went off’ as the kids say.

A silent documentary with no plot, script or actors, Man With A Movie Camera is a collection of moving images of urban Russian folk going about their lives, intermingled with scenescapes and macinery.  Not that I’ve seen it yet, obviously, but that’s what our great and holy father Wikipedia tells me.

Vertov’s disclaimer at the start of the film is a wonderful peice of language from the past:

“The film Man with a Movie Camera represents
AN EXPERIMENTATION IN THE CINEMATIC TRANSMISSION
Of visual phenomena
WITHOUT THE USE OF INTERTITLES
(a film without intertitles)
WITHOUT THE HELP OF A SCRIPT
(a film without script)
WITHOUT THE HELP OF A THEATRE
(a film without actors, without sets, etc.)
This new experimentation work by Kino-Eye is directed towards the creation of an authentically international absolute language of cinema – ABSOLUTE KINOGRAPHY – on the basis of its complete separation from the language of theatre and literature.”

Ninja Tune has just re-issued the DVD. It might be time for me to go on that long-delayed Ninja Tune shopping spree…