Kuleshov Effect

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KULESHOV EFFECT

Montage is one of the three important steps in cinematographic creation, with pre-production and shooting. Technically, it is the action of cutting, pasting and putting together shots. It helps creating rhythm, meaning and order to the story. Montage is an art form : with the same shots, you can express thousands of different feelings and visions according to the montage used. Kuleshov, a Russian filmmaker in the 1920's, is the first one to write about this theory, now known as the 'Kuleshov Effect'. This theory is used everywhere now (advertisement, news paper...). The Kuleshov Effect theory is that every shot depends on the context, of what happened before and what will happen after. Kuleshov discovered that the viewer creates his own interpretation of what he sees on the screen. For example, with the shot of a man with no expression on his face, he can create the impression of hunger when putting a shot with food right after, or of sadness with a shot of a dead person, or of kindness with the shot of a little girl playing. This theory can be summarized with the formula A + B = C ; 'A' being the first shot, 'B' the second one, and 'C' the meaning the viewer's mind creates by putting those two shots together. So the Kuleshov Effect is very powerful.

When we had to work on a project using the Kuleshov Effect, with my teammates, Giovanna and Christian, we first decided to create a funny story. So we decided to do a funny final twist for our first work. The first shot, the 'A', was a boy running in the hallway, as if he was in a hurry to go to some very important place. The second shot was him looking desperately to something, and then the camera moved to the student store's sign saying : 'Closed'. So the emotion the viewer has when he sees the whole video is disappointment, because he was waiting for something very important to happen. But if we had used the same first shot with another 'B' shot, for example a policeman running, or someone...
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