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Kelsey MacDermaid

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of FILM THEORY

The Close-Up
Editing and Emotion

CONTRAST - causes the viewer to compare to actions, each strengthening the effect of the other

PARALLELISM - instead of contrasting, the viewer is shown two separate stories each with a common thematic element which are able to play off of and intensify one another

SYMBOLISM - explaining one act through something of equal symbolical value

SIMULTANEITY - showing two actions at the same time to build tension, resulting in one ultimate outcome. Often intercut between the two situations until the climax is reached.

LEIT - MOTIF - repeating a shot to emphasize a theme in the film

-1898 to 1940
-Civil Engineer Background
-Staged circuit-like plays for the
Vsevolod Meyerhold's avant-garde
-Shifted to film that capture a realism.
-Camera Angles, Visual Metaphors, Non-professional actors, and quick montage.
-Strike (1925)
-Potemkin (1925)
-Alexander Nevsky (1938)
-Ivan the Terrible I & II (1944 & 1955)
Laconic Poetry
The Dramaturgy Of Film Form
-Spatial composition

-Development of time and space.

-Space= mise-en-scene = putting together= montage

-Artificially produced representation of movement.

-the construction of language to create a grammatical sentence.

-Syntagmatic category- linear aspect of construction (the way words are put together in a chain to form phrases and sentence.)

-Example 1 (Logical)
Sensation of hitting the eye in Potemkin.

-Example 2 (Alogical)
Marble Lion
-One Sleeping, One Waking, One Rising.

These examples show the primitive-psychological cases by using only the optical superimposition of movement.

-Unleashes a process that is identical to the process of logical deduction.

-The descriptive form of conventional film becomes the kind of reasoning.

-Develops the emotions.

-Directs the entire thought process.

-This form expresses ideologically critical thesis.


Editing is making a scene from pieces, a sequence from scenes, and a reel from sequences.
Like a construction worker, making buildings out of bricks.

“One must learn to understand that editing is in actual fact a compulsory and deliberate guidance of the thoughts and associations of the spectator. If the editing be merely an uncontrolled combination of the various pieces, the spectator will understand nothing from it; but if it be coordinated according to a definitely selected course of events or conceptual line, either agitated or calm, it will either excite or soothe the spectator.”
Structural Editing
If that important action is not shown separately in close up, that detail is likely to go unnoticed, and the audience won’t get a true sense of the scene.
Directs attention of the spectator to what is important in the scene at that moment.

Camera as Observer
Camera represents the eyes of the spectator.
Long shots give only a general impression of the scene; it is in the details that a more dynamic story unfolds.
To Pudovkin, this is the basic significance of editing. Guiding our attention from one element, now to the next, and so on.
Editing removes the “head turning” movements in between shots.
Psychological Guidance
The filmmaker guides audience and invokes questions with editing.
Shot 1: Man looks up - What is he looking at?
Shot 2: Majestic eagle in the sky - Question answered.

Editing corresponds to the natural transference of attention of an imaginary observer.
Directs attention to where it needs to be to fully understand the story.
Engages spectator and builds suspense.
“From the above is clear the manner in which editing can even work upon the emotions. Imagine to yourself the excited observer of some rapidly developing scene. His agitated glance is thrown rapidly from one spot to another. If we imitate this glance with the camera we get a series of pictures, rapidly alternating pieces, creating a stirring scenario editing-construction. The reverse would be long pieces changing by mixes conditioning a calm and slow editing-construction.”
Editing thus creates excitement in the audience.

By not showing what both parties are doing at the same time, the filmmaker makes the audience wonder about the outcome of each.
Works within a single scene, as well as among several in a sequence. (Parallel editing)
Vsevolod Pudovkin Biography
- born February 16, 1893 - June 30, 1953
- Russian and Soviet film director,
actor, and screenwriter
- Fought in WWI, came back to Russia
and discovered filmmaking had taken
off as a means of propaganda
- became an assistant editor for Lev
- after acting in and directing multiple
films, he directed his first major
success, Mother, in 1926
After perfecting the montage, early filmmakers believed that any further development in cinema must be features that strengthen and broaden the montage and its influence on the audience.

This put sound at the top above colour and aspect ratios etc.
Cinema is imperfect when operation in only visual images

The addition of sound solves two major problems:

1. The integration of the intertitle into the montage

2. Long explanatory scenes which slow down the films rhythm
What is Montage?
Individual shots that act as building blocks used to create a sequence.

The movement within these shots and the length of the
shots are thought to be rhythm.


Pudovkin vs Esenstien
“Montage is the means of unrolling an idea through single shots,” (p. 27). (Pudovkin)
“…montage is not an idea composed of successive shots stuck together but an idea that DERIVES from the collision between two shots that are independent of one another,” (p. 27). (Esienstien)
What's the difference?
When still images move quickly it creates a moving image (something that we didn't see before)
The shots (still images) shown in succession creates an idea (that we didn't think of before)
In a montage the first shot, followed by the second creates an impression in an individual's mind that determines the tension. This will lead to the rhythm.
Colours contrasting from one image to another can also create rhythm, causing a frequency of vibrations for our perception. The same goes for music as well.

Visual Counterpoint
Sergei M. Eisenstein Biography
- a single shot is not a montage element, but a montage cell (molecule)
- the following three aspects help to define montage:
-the "title" card, or dialogue
- the spatial conflict of the shot
- the conflict montage between shots
- by conflict, a term better understood is "contrast"

- all shots include conflict, the following are ways in which a shot can be conflicting:
- graphic conflict
- conflict between planes

- conflict between volumes
- spatial conflict
- conflict in lighting

- conflict in tempo

- conflict between matter and shot
- conflict between matter and its spatiality

- conflict between an event and its temporality
- conflict between the entire optical complex and a quite different sphere
Editing as an Instrument of Impression
Visual Counterpoint
Visual Counterpoint
Film Syntax
Did you notice a rhythm?
Emotional Dsynamisation
Japanese Cinema
"2 hieroglyphs of the simplest series is regarded not as their sum total
but as their product..."

"...each taken separately corresponds to an object but their combination
corresponds to an idea."

-Eisenstein (p.14)


dog + mouth = BARK

water + eye = WEEP
laconic - saying much with little

- hai-kai, tanka

Quiet field.
Butterfly Flying.

The product of the phrases creates a greater visual whole than the sum of
its parts.

pieces of the whole => 'shots'

*spatial organization* of an object *vs* the *staging* of an object...
decompositional acting
- separating the actors' physicality into individual movements
- breaks naturalistic representation

"The intensity of perception increases because the process of
identification is easier when the movement is decomposed."

Eisenstein (p. 23)
Art is Conflict
1) social conflict
- contradictions of being
2) nature conflict
- natural *vs* creative imposition
3) methodology
- shot and montage - basic elements of film
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