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Eisenstein and the Cinema of Montage - Essay Example

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Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, film was not an essential aspect of the country's cultural development. As one of the few nations that did not claim any contribution to the development of the field, it also did not manufacture any equipment of film, preferring to import these from France and Germany.1 While the artistic productions were obstructed by the innately conservative taste of the aristocracy, the committee dedicated to the creation of propaganda was too small to have any real influence.2 However, with the revolt came change, and the eventual rise of the Soviet Cinema of the silent film era.
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Eisenstein and the Cinema of Montage
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Eisenstein and the Cinema of Montage

Download file to see previous pages... re vigorous productions which reverberate through film theory to this day.
However, this is not simply a paper on the history of Soviet silent film-it s an investigation into the significant innovations from this epoch. Many talented men entered this field over a short span of years and produced works deserving of attention and note, including Vsevolod Pudovkin, Fridrikh, Grigorii Kozintsev, Abram Room and Leonid Trauberg. Yet it is the development of a distinct theory of montage that still reverberates, and this theme is most apparent in the work of Sergei Eisenstein, most notably in the 1925 film Battleship Potemkin.
For the Eisenstein of the silent film era, montage ...
n quite startling, juxtapositions of shots'.5 His writings stress the core significance of the idea, as 'we must fully recall the characteristics of cinema's effect that we stated initially and that establishing the montage approach as the essential, meaningful and sole possible language of cinema'. 6 In this method, 'The shot is by no means an element of montage. The shot is a montage cell'. 7 As the Statement on Sound, released jointly by the formalist filmmakers Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Alexandrov in 1928 clearly states, 'The success of Soviet pictures on world screens is to a significant extent the result of a number of those concepts of montage which they first revealed and asserted'.8 Although the concept of montage was a distinctly Soviet one, that does not mean it was alternative or on the fringe in that country. The leading directors of the era openly acknowledged the importance of the technique, and were pleased that it helped distinguish a Soviet school of cinema, to the point that these men issued joint statements to that effect.
In terms of modern scholarship, a review of the Soviet montage method typically focuses on the contribution of Eisenstein, for his was the most brazen and distinct use of the method. He propagated this method not only in his work but in his numerous writings on films. The swift cutting and visual juxtapositions read in a very distinct way from contemporary, non-Soviet cinema. In 1927, his films were referred to as 'plotless cinema' by Adrian Piotrovsky, because they relied on 'exclusively cinematic means of expression'.9 The narrative is clearly secondary to the montage.
For Eisenstein, 'montage is conflict. As the basis of every art is conflict'.10 Weaving distinct cells together creates more than what could simply ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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