Michael Nyman’s Palimpsest of Man With A Movie Camera
In a new work called NYman With A Movie Camera, Michael Nyman has conducted a really interesting experiment by taking the music he wrote a few years ago for Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera, and employing it again, this time for his own remake of Vertov’s original using his own visual archive as source material. Nyman’s archive largely consists of footage he has filmed himself since the early 90s in different parts of the world he has visited to give concerts. This produces the first difference between Vertov’s film and his own version. Where Vertov’s film is a utopian pre-Stalinist vision of the Communist city, Nyman’s becomes a dystopian vision of global post-communist capitalism. Continue reading
I’ve recently caught up with Charles O’Brien’s splendid, paradigm-shifting book, Cinema’s Conversion to Sound, subtitled Technology and Film Style in France and the US. Briefly, O’Brien combines thorough research into primary sources and empirical methods of analysing film style to critique the conventional idea that the coming of sound produced a homogenisation of cinema which spread abroad from Hollywood in the 1930s. In particular, this is not what happened in France, which developed a strong predilection for what was called the film parlant—the talkie which used direct recorded sound—as opposed to the film sonore—the sound film where the sound was post-synchronised, which fast became the Hollywood way.
Of course it’s not quite so simple. Continue reading