Via Manovich Vertov (filmmaker) Manovich

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Analyzing Man with a Movie Camera via Manovich

Vertov (filmmaker) Manovich (essay author)
1. MMC is a challenging film. It challenges the narrative tradition in literature and mainstream film. It attempts to undo the idea of presenting “life as it might be,” trying to show “life as it is.” In this attempt, Vertov calls upon what Manovich calls a “database” approach, calling Vertov a “major ‘database filmmaker’ of the twentieth century.”

  1. What is a database film?

  2. How does this kind of a film challenge the narrative traditions of literature and mainstream film?

  3. Does Vertov’s film succeed (to a greater or lesser degree) in presenting “life as it is”?

2. On page xxviii, Manovich claims that there is an argument in MMC. Re-read this section and then discuss whether or not you agree with Manovich’s claim.

  1. What is the exact claim Manovich makes?

  2. How does Manovich support this claim?

  3. What support can you provide for agreeing or disagreeing with this claim?

3. Carefully read pages xxxii & xxxiii paying close attention to the concept of “the loop” that Manovich proposes.

  1. If the loop is a “new narrative form appropriate for the computer age,” how can you describe the what came before? In other words, what is the old narrative form that Manovich must be asserting is less- or inappropriate for the computer age?

  2. How might the “if/then” and “repeat/while” loop structures work for narrative? Try applying them to a common narrative—like a fairy tale.

  3. How would this structure work to change a traditional academic argument? Try to think through an example of some academic argument you have made and how it would change with a loop structure.

  4. How might the loop and sequential progression work together—if as Manovich claims they “do not have to be considered mutually exclusive”?

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