Monday, May 10, 2010

Walter Ruttmann

The magnificent 1927 silent film Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt ("Symphony of a Great City"), by Walter Ruttman, documents Berlin's people and places, streets and shop windows, factories and offices, nightclubs and theaters (fourth still, above, shows an audience watching a Charlie Chaplin movie). The film is edited to represent a single day amid the frenzy of modernity, starting with deserted streets coming to life first thing in the morning. Some of the film's quiet, uncrowded, and nostalgic images remind me of Eugène Atget's Paris photographs, which were virtually unknown at the time Ruttman was making his Berlin film.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.