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Filmic illusion is constantly disrupted by strategically situated clashes/comparisons between “illusion experienced” and “illusion revealed,” and film and film screen 42 Vertov, Snow, Farocki as distinct, yet interfaced surfaces of representation. Techniques of distortion and abstraction are also used to draw attention to the constructed nature of the image: its dual pictorial and optical/ocular origins and perceptual effects. Finally there is a consistent attempt to place cinematic understanding, according to these techniques of perceptual distanciation, on an intellectual as opposed to an emotive footing, although the former is always infiltrated by the distance reducing powers of reflexive “ludic” micro-events such as a magician’s tricks (a play on the editor’s ability to make things appear and disappear) or the mimicking of the hand cranking of the movie camera by a filmed subject (a clear, reflexive acknowledgment of the filmmaker’s intrusive presence and film’s means of production).
A distinct hierarchic logic structured social/montage labor from the basic level of individual kinok-observers to kinok-cameramen, kinok-hunters, kinokeditors (women and men) to a final stage that was marked by the emergence of a product (a “film-object”) that embodied a clearly articulated kinomatic experience. But this was not the last stage in Kino-Eye’s sociopolitical and aestheticocultural aspirations since Vertov (1984: 75) imagined that a decisive phase of manufacture and observation would be represented by a new visual/social consciousness in an audience.
Source: Based on a diagram in Tomas (2007: 9). This new reflexively based documentary method of conceiving of filmmaking formalized, regimented, and theorized cameraman/film crew activities insofar as these activities were taking place beyond the confines of the film studio. But the new method also served as an incubator for a different model of the cinematographic agent, and “actor” who was no longer conceived as an autonomous agent embodied in a particular human organism. The old fictional actor whose allegiances Vertov traced to theater and literature, was transformed into a productive element in a hierarchic system of observation/manufacture; a system whose objective was to produce social “facts” even though, in practice, its representative in The Man with a Movie Camera was a character (the cameraman) “played” by a specific person: Vertov’s brother, Mikhail Kaufman.