Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt (1927)

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt), is a 1927 German silent film directed by Walter Ruttmann, in collaboration with Carl Mayer (a screen writer who had co-written the script for Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari), Karl Freund (the director of Fox-Europe Production), and Lore Leudesdorff who had already assisted Ruttmann with Opus III and IV. It took over a year to photograph the film and they used movie cameras concealed in vans and suitcases to get realistic effects.
The music that accompanies the film was written by Edmund Meisel who also directed the orchestra at the film’s public opening at the Tauentzien-Palast in Berlin.
The film displays the filmmaker's knowledge of Soviet montage theory. It portrays the life of a city, mainly through visual impressions in a semi-documentary style, without a narrative content. Shots and scenes are cut together based on relationships of image, motion, point of view and thematic content. It's interesting to note that there many parallels exist between this film and Vertov's 1929 Man with a Movie Camera.

The events of the film are arranged to simulate the passage of a single day. The film is divided into five acts and each act is announced through a title card at the beginning and end. Much of the motion in the film and many of the scene transitions are built around the motion of trains and streetcars.
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City could seem superficial because of its interest in the aesthetics of the city at the expense of its human element and because it doesn't show a more detailed portrait of Berlin. Ruttmann was interested in the dynamism of movement and shapes and he aimed at making the viewer experience Berlin phenomenologically. He relies on editing, on a montage based on analogy and contrast to infuse the film with dynamism.
You can buy Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.

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