Ninja tune
The main focus of this DVD is to showcase Dziga Vertov's 1929 classic silent movie Man With a Movie Camera accompanied by the well-suited, modern soundtrack provided by Jason Swinscoe and the Cinematic Orchestra. Originally described as "an experiment in cinematic communication of real events," the storyless film gives an insight into city life in Russian during the late 1920's, showing everyday scenes such as the birth of a child, various modes of transportation in action, factory work, sporting events and the usual hustle and bustle of downtown life. From the first ten minutes of the film, it's very apparent that the Cinematics have taken great care in reworking previous tunes of theirs and adding some newer material to turn the methodical tasks shown on the screen into living art set to music. There are some very strong moments when the soundtrack acts as the musical translation of what's happening on the screen. The token DVD extras include a mini-documentary/interview with Swinscoe describing how soundtracking the film came about, interspersed with live performance clips of the band, a photo gallery from the recording session and various related links. Other bonuses include the group in fine form performing "Man With The Movie Camera" and the Art Ensemble of Chicago's "Theme de Yoyo" to a packed club audience. The video for "All That You Give" featuring Fontella Bass is also included for good measure. Although it had been available on the song's CD single as a Quicktime movie, watching it on a television makes it all the better. I had been expecting the DVD to include the much talked about performance of the group providing the live soundtrack. From the couch, seeing the actual film set to a great soundtrack rather than watching it as a backdrop during a concert film was definitely the way to go.