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At-A-Glance

Length: 64 mins

About this Piece

One of the groundbreaking works of Weimar cinema, Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin, Symphony of a Great City is an impressive rhythmic collage of cinematic effects and documentary material. Predating Dziga Vertov’s famous Man with a Movie Camera (1929) by two years, the film elicits comparisons with the Soviet montage aesthetic but develops its own editing principles, which align more with music and symphony than traditional forms of cinematic expression. Ruttmann takes his audience through a single day in Berlin with a series of five acts, each of which present a stunning portrait of everyday life at the peak of the Weimar Republic. Few films capture the rhythm and energy of the life of a city as does this unforgettable “city symphony.”

– Chris LeMaire