Friday, February 6, 2009

"Berlin: Symphony of a Great City" (1927) Grade: B

“Berlin: Symphony of a Great City” (1927)
Grade: B

This film done very much in the manner of “Man with a Movie Camera” (although made earlier) is a sort of tribute to the city of the Berlin in the 20’s. We have talked about it in length in class and I cannot figure out what I think the film is trying to do since there are conflicting views. I certainly think because of the status of Berlin at the time that the film is attempting to honor the city and show how unique it is and how different it is from other places with its liberal attitude. There are moments when it seems to be wary of certain issues of class and despair. The score has moments that are meant to overwhelm but the score is a posthumous score and awe do not know if it is what filmmaker Ruttman intended. While I think Ruttman is very much establishing moments of caution, I do believe that he is much more interested in the rhythm of the piece, the avant garde nature of the film, creating the idea of visual music and paying tribute to a unique city in a unique time. That is how I take the film. That being said, the film was excellent; I am always interested in seeing films of this nature and the B grade is more due to this being no “Man with a Movie Camera”. It was excellent and certainly interesting but it is not “Man with a Movie Camera”. Vertov has him beat.

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