Soviet Montage Cinema

Soviet Montage Cinema

Soviet montage is an approach to understand and create a cinema that relies on editing or montage. The Soviet montage movement began nearly in 1924. During the years of the Russian Revolution, the filmmaker has been found themselves short for supplying of cinema. At that time what they decide was using pieces of films from prior projects and presented them in a  different way with a different meaning.

Lev Kuleshov was the pioneer in the Filmmaking theory. Lev Kuleshov realized that an actor’s expression wasn’t enough to convey a specific idea, therefore juxtaposed images must. His theory is also known as the “Kuleshov Experiment”. In his experiment audience saw the close of a man followed by Soup Bowl, Casket and an attractive woman. When the audience saw that they assumed the man, the soup bowl, again saw that man then figure out he must be hungry and want soup. Now when the soup bowl replaced by casket they think he must be sad as a child died. Eventually, casket replaced by an attractive woman and people thinks he must want something desirable. If you see that you will notice the face of the man was the same, it means one footage has been used for different elements and it looked exactly the same as we perceived it.

Kuleshov Experiment

Einsenstine was the biggest theorist of the Montage. He considered the montage a nerve of cinema. He wrote a book called Film Forms, where he emphasized how the duration and movement of a shot, and emotions can affect the audience. Filmmakers like Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein did not believe in the continuity system of shots in cinema they thought it make reality fake. They believed in the dialectic system which was about the conflict between the ideas. Eisenstein wanted to move the audience’s emotions and inspire them to get behind the revolution.

Montage:-

Montage is a technique of film editing in which short shots are sequenced to condense space, time and information. This term has been used in a different context such as in French the term montage use in cinema simply in terms of editing.  Montage originally originated from Russia by Eisenstein where it was used to create symbolism. Later this technique was used by Britain and American studios to show the “montage sequence” to suggest the passage of time. The montage sequence often used the short shots with optical effects like fade, dissolve, slit screen, double exposure. This technique has been changed the way of making films with the means of editing techniques.

Soviet montage was not even famous for illustrating philosophical point but it had the ability to manipulate how a viewer perceives a certain event. In Eisenstein’s film Battelship Potemkin (1925), there is a sequence which is known as Odessa Steps. In this scene protesting citizens are moving down by Tsarist troops. This sequence used the whole montage technique where he used the graphics, short shots of real incidence, dramatic cuts from wide shots to extream close-up shots. This film was a highly respected film in the year 1958 and voted to be the best ever film made by Sergei Eisenstein.

Battleship Potemkin 1925

Battleship Potemkin is a 1925 Soviet silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm. It presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers.

To understand the meaning more clear you can watch the movie. Link below.

Types of Montage:-

Sergei Eisenstein categorized montage into five different types:-

  1. Metric montage – this is simple editing where long shorts get shorten without losing the scene’s originality and emotions attached to that scene. This type of os scene generally uses suspense and tension science.
  2. Rhythmic montage – Each shot’s length derives from the specifics of the piece and from its planned length according to the structure of the sequence.
  3. Tonal montage- this is a combination of both the metric and rhythmic montage that highlights the emotional themes that may present at a particular time. This technique is more subjective. In this, you can use videos and images.  
  4. Overton montage- it is a practice of cutting various tones and overtones of the shot. It is an abstract than tonal. It is the simultaneous use of the above three which forms over tonal montage and creates conflict between the shots.
  5. Intellectual montage- this one is the combination of the above four montages. It does not even create conflict between the shots but also arise complex emotion to the audience that makes the film more realistic and make people more plight of the character on the screen. Einstein’s movie Strike (1925) is an example to understand this.

 Four primary directors who used soviet montage in their cinema

  1. Sergei Eisenstein
  2. Lev Kuleshov
  3. Dziga Vertov
  4. Vsevolod Pudovkin

Classic Movies of the Time

  1. Strike, 1925
  2. Battleship Potemkin, 1925
  3. The end of St. Petersburg, 1927
  4. October, 1928
  5. Citizen Kane, 1941
  6. Casablanca, 1942

For further readings you may check out these links mention below:-

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