Idiot with a tripod

As you’ll know if you’re a regular in these parts, we’re keen to encourage the silent film of today wherever we can. This effort was made by filmmaker Jamie Stuart in the New York snow, and was shot, edited and then published in just over a day (26-27 December 2010). It has gained praise from Roger Ebert, who compares its technique to Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera and says that it ought to be awarded an Oscar.

Well it’s undoubtedly a polished piece of work from someone who who knows what he is doing technically (see Ebert’s interview with Stuart at the end of his post) but personally I think it’s some way off Vertov, not least because it doesn’t actually tell you anything. And it suffers from the curse of too many otherwise elegant pieces of wordless filmmaking to be found all over YouTube and Vimeo in adding a lame electro-music soundtrack which muffles the artistry rather than elevating it. But there’s a good editing rhythm to the video, every shot is telling, and each shot connects well with the next. OK, so it’s quite good. Just not that good.

9 responses

  1. I enjoyed it with the sound turned down very low. The title is one of the best variations I have seen on “Man With a Movie Camera.” The cutting rhythm is wonderful.

    Happy new year.

  2. No problems with the crosslink – I’m fascinated how you can express disappointment with the film yet compare him to Mizoguchi at the same time!

    It’s just an average film, really. Ebert should take a look at the Staff Tips on Vimeo and see a dozen or so videos of equal quality produced every week.

    Happy new year, Chris.


  3. It’s all in the use of line. But what Stuart does for one minute, Mizoguchi did for over an hour.

    Has The Water Magician made it across the Atlantic, Luke? The print I saw this summer in Toronto was, I gathered, only partially restored. It was still a magnificent film.

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