Unique Characteristics of Soviet Montage

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Soviet Montage
Unique Characteristics of Soviet Montage

Unlike Montage where by a combination series of short shots are edited into a sequence to condense space, time, and information, Soviet Montage on the other hand is a style of filmmaking that is evolved to immerse the audience in a story and disguise technique was turned upside down in order to create the opposite emotional effect to bring the audience to the edge of their seat, and in the case of the Odessa Steps sequence, to push the viewer towards a feeling of vertigo. In a simpler form, Soviet Montage combination series of short shots are edited into a sequence to create symbolic meaning. One main characteristic of Soviet Montage films is the downplaying of individual characters in the centre of attention whereby single characters are shown as members of different social classes and are representing a general type or class imitating Marxist Concept which believe more on society rather than individual .For Instance, in Eisenstein's Strike there is only one character named individually in the entire film. This proves the theory portraying collectivism rather individualism to propagate how united are the people against whatever political climate in Russia. The central aspect of Soviet Montage style was the area of editing. Cuts should stimulate the spectator. In opposition to continuity editing Montage cutting often created either overlapping or elliptical temporal relations. Elliptical cutting creates the opposite effect. A part of an action is left out, so the event takes less time than it would in reality. Elliptical editing was often used in the form of the jump cut. For instance, in Strike, Eisenstein cuts from a police officer to a butcher who kills an animal in the form of a jump cut. This is to indicate the butcher not being part of the story but should be able to create or make the viewer think about the relation and come to a conclusion as if the workers were slaughtered like animals in reality. 5 Methods of Montage:

1.      Metric Montage – The editing work is done according to a specific number of frames, follows by cutting to the subsequent shot regardless of the event within the image. This is done to draw out the fundamental response of the audience. 2.      Rhythmic Montage – this is done through cutting based on continuity, producing visual continuity from edit to edit. A very fine example of Rhythmic montage is from II Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo where the protagonist and the two other antagonists face each other in a three-way duel. 3.      Tonal Montage – This uses the emotional meaning of the shots, to emphasize a response from the audience in a more complicated manner than Metric or Rhythmic Montage. For instance, a sleeping baby would express his or her calmness and relaxation. The prime example for this montage method from Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin, where audience can witness the death of a revolutionary sailor Vakulinchuk.

4.      Overtonal Montage – it is a collection of Metric, Rhythmic and Tonal Montage to create its effect on the audience for a more complex effect. It is best shown in a film called Pudovkin’s Mother, where the men are seen as workers walking towards a protestation at their own factory and later in movie, the protagonist uses ice to escape. 5.      Intellectual Montage – it is used as a bridge to connect and create meaning completely outside the depiction, unlike continuity editing, where images are created in a smooth space or time. In general, ‘intellectual montage’ is when the image is not represented by a particular idea. Basically, it uses shots which, combined, emphasize an intellectual meaning. The effect is shown through conflict such as juxtapose shots that have no direct relationship. The best example for Intellectual Montage is from a film called Strike.  In this film, cut of shots include striking workers being assaulted and a bull being butchered. This is done as metaphor to show how workers...
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