Variety reviews: NYman With a Movie Camera
By ROBERT KOEHLER
Sep. 21, 2010 | Variety
Composer Michael Nyman’s dynamic jump into filmmaking, “NYman With a Movie Camera,” is as much a celebration of the world as its inspiration, Dziga Vertov’s silent masterpiece, “Man With a Movie Camera,” celebrates Soviet society. Having written a thrilling 2002 score accompanying screenings of Vertov’s monumental film, as well as the British Film Institute’s DVD release, Nyman exploits his considerable acquaintance with the work to create a similarly giddy montage with editor Max Pugh, this time shot on vid over the past two decades. Fests, specialty exhibs and classy vid play beckon.
Unlike Vertov’s, Nyman’s camera travels the globe, visiting more than a dozen countries (including considerable footage lensed in Iran and Mexico, the director’s primary residence). However, like Vertov, a celebratory tone is created through montage (with visual tricks exactly duplicated) as well as by a sense that the viewer belongs to a family of humans. Paralleling Vertov’s antic cameraman, Nyman observes a Mexican lenser operating a camera jib as a constant reference point and “character.” Nyman’s score, performed by his powerful band, alternates between andante and allegro, the latter exploding with his signature locomotive propulsion.
Camera (DV), Nyman; editor, Max Pugh; music, Nyman. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Future Projections), Sept. 12, 2010. Running time: 67 MIN.