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Berlin: Symphony of a Great City

Posted by martinteller on May 17, 2010

A montage of scenes and moments from a day in the life of Berlin, one of several “city symphony” films that were popular at the time.  Ruttmann employs a rhythmic editing style reminiscent of the Soviets, particularly Vertov.  The film has a great deal of lyricism and poetry to it, and Ruttmann has a fantastic eye.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t really do a whole lot with the medium.  There aren’t that many moments where you think “I wonder why he made that decision” or “oh that was a clever transition”.  It has a very natural flow to it without many surprises.  Also, the first three acts (he divides the day into 5 sections) can get a bit repetitive, especially with all the shots of trains.  But things pick up towards the end, including a fantastic cabaret scene.  All in all, it’s a lovely film, but not as thought-provoking as The Man With the Movie Camera.  Rating: 8


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