They say that art imitates life. Sometimes, life itself is the art. Then there is that grey area known as cinema, a format founded on bring reality to the screen and capturing the world around us filtered through fiction, fireworks, and the vision of those behind the lens. No one would ever argue that all genres are the same, but you can link many of them through the medium being mentioned. Take the documentary. While it is almost always an accurate reflection on the world around us, creativity and craftsmanship are typically applied to render the ordinary anything but. On the opposite side of things (one assumes) is something like Vertigo by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. For the mighty Master of Suspense, the thriller format was nothing but a vessel, a means of channeling his obsessions and imagination into a viable construct that wavered from beautiful to the bizarre.
Yet few in the film critic community would argue a connection between the brilliant murder mystery (currently holding the number one spot and Sight & Sounds overall list) and the early Russian experiment Man with a Movie Camera. You can, however, see how one influenced the other, even if the authority is cursory and indirect. Hitchcock believed in the power of images, of mixing light and shadow, color and composition to provide subtext to his characters’ concerns. For him, the movie was in the making, not in the eventual outcome. Similarly, Man with a Movie Camera‘s Dziga Vertov wanted, way back at the dawn of the artform, to push the boundaries of what the medium could be. He wanted to experiment with visuals and editorial variables, to see if the lens could capture more than the regular everyday existence of his Russian comrades. For both, the end result was art imitating life, and visa versa.