In The Nursery @ The Barbican

Man With A Movie Camera Vs Men With Laptops


A lazy Sunday afternoon welcomed us at the Barbican - under the dark sheal of the theatre on a bright, windy day.
Admittedly, a scene likely to make you prone to sleep.
Luckily there was plenty of avant garde film extravaganza (or, should I say... extravantgarda?) and on-screen Dadaism, doubling up with the emotive power in In The Nursery's music to keep us awake for the 68 min. duration of Dziga Vertov's silent masterpiece.
A monologue in black and white shots of daily life in Moscow - and though it was the year 1929, there was enough nude, and even a woman giving birth in close-up.
Suprematism in Russian painting had preceded this film by over a decade but, still, I couldn't help but feel surprised that art in Russia - bold, innovative and soulful, simultaneously, was way ahead of its' time.
In The Nursery's music has established it's cinematic quality over the years; still, my previous live experience, with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari playing in the big screen, was an itchy bit sleepy... Luckily, Man With A Movie Camera found the Sheffield duo in much better shape. Daily routine in Moscow seemed to inspire much more melodic sensibility - and power, in them than Dr Caligari's horrors - and they expressed themselves accordingly.
I can't unfortunately say I didn't slightly drift, with the relaxing music and the succession of images dancing me into short moments of afternoon siesta; but I still thought it was rather my own tiredness (and my friends' too - coincidentally, I hope!)  that brought up the effect and not the goings-on (or the absence of them) on screen and on stage.
Viva Vertov. In The Nursery... way to go.

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