Walther Ruttmann‘s non-narrative rhythmic portrait of Berlin, usually connected to the “kino-eye” of Dziga Vertov, also had a clear influence on Godfrey Reggio. Much more upbeat than Koyaanisqatsi, Symphony covers a “regular day” in the metropolis circa 1927, celebrating modern life before the speed and exploitation turned sour. No dire Hopi prophecies here, even though a dire future was right around the corner. There’s a new score by Seattle psych rock band Kinski which I’d love to hear. Ruttmann went on to make Nazi propaganda: Blut und Boden, Metall des Himmels, Deutsche Waffenschmieden, Deutsche Panzer, and so forth. According to Steven Bach, Ruttmann worked on Triumph of the Will as Leni Riefenstahl’s co-director but was later excised from the credits.

Berlin: Die Symphonie der Großstadt. Walter Ruttmann, 1927. ****