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Technical Obsession And Modernity Of Cinematic Reception

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Chapter 1
Technical Obsession and Modernity of Cinematic Reception
Case Study: The Man with the Movie Camera; The Artist

This chapter conducts a comparative study of two films, The Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929) and The Artist (Hazanavicius, 2011), examining how they reflect cinematic technical developments of the 1920s-1930s. Director Dziga Vertov depicted one day in a Soviet city around ten years after the 1917 October Revolution, which had seen the Czar overthrown and the establishment of Lenin?s Bolshevik government[footnoteRef:1]. Roberts (2000) dissected the overall structure of the ?day? as, ?one-third rest, one-third work, one-third leisure.? The film portrayed the city chronologically from before sunrise-when citizens
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Therefore, The Man with the Movie Camera combined the depiction of the city with reflexive representations of the filmmaking process and the auditorium. [1: Since 1921, Soviet society had seen the relative success of Lenin?s New Economic Policy and its ultimate transformation to full central planning by 1928, under Premier Stalin. The film is essentially a criticism of the New Economic Policy (Roberts, 2000, p.23.]

The Artist covered a transitional period in cinema- indicated by the intertitle of the film as being 1927-1931- from the era of silent movies to the advent of sound. The film displayed the process of Hollywood silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) failing in his previously successful acting career, resulting from negatively confronting the emergence and subsequent popularity of the talkies[footnoteRef:2]. He attempts to revive the silent movie enterprise through the assistance of Peppy Miller (enacted by B?r?nice Bejo, Hazanavicius? wife), a star-actress of the new sound films. The finale resolves George?s quandary through his participation in musicals. The ending also attributes George?s initial fears around the advent of sound to him having a French accent. In accordance with the film?s theme and configuration, Hazanavicius presented it as a black-and-white, silent film[footnoteRef:3] framed in 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Furthermore, the film was
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