New Temporality: Loop as a Narrative Engine

Cinema's birth from a loop form was reenacted at least once during its history. In one of the sequences of A Man with a Movie Camera, Vertov shows us a cameraman standing in the back of a moving automobile. As he is being carried forward by an automobile, he cranks the handle of his camera. A loop, a repetition, created by the circular movement of the handle, gives birth to a progression of events — a very basic narrative which is also quintessentially modern: a camera moving through space recording whatever is in its way. In what seems to be a reference to cinema's primal scene, these shots are intercut with the shots of a moving train. Vertov even re-stages the terror which Lumieres's film supposedly provoked in its audience; he positions his camera right along the train track so the train runs over our point of view a number of times, crushing us again and again.

— Lev Manovich in "The Language of New Media"