* 2007-2009
2008 -- film.vtheatre.net/montage in part 2 "Film & Movies"
Total Directing
Total Acting

... that's montage -- tags!

TOPICS: drama + comedy + postmodern + time + space + death + self + imdb + history + scripts + amazon.com/kindle
С.М.Эйзенштейн о монтаже: Кинематография - это прежде всего монтаж. ["За кадром"] ("Cinematorgaphy is above all -- montage.")

two new eisen pages in film.vtheatre.net

2006 -- web-video
Directing-Filmmaking Page

Every time you see this color triangle, you are on directing page!


I have to have this right-hand "collum" -- for ads, links and my side-notes. (Footnotes and endnotes do not work very well with web-publishing).

Montage is the heart of filmmaking.

It's in middle of everything. If you can get it right, you will be fine.

Whatever is not working on the screen, you can trace back to montage, how it is arranged! Script problems, acting, everything!

What are the secrets of montage?

Did you notice that originaly Eisenstein called it "Montage of Attractions"?



In big and good book by Herbert Zettl ("Sight, Sound, Motion") there is a small fragment on montage (p. 376), but the entire books can be seen as in-detail analysis of MONTAGE. Especially, when we get to Chapter 10 -- "Structuring the Three-Dimensional Field: Building Screen Volume" and Chapter 15 -- "Structuring the Four Dimensional Field: Editing"!

To follow the author's logic we have to remember that LIGHT is the First Aesthetic Field (COLOR is the Extended Firt Field).

The Two-Dimensional Field -- Area (Aspect Ratio, Object Size, Deductive and Inductive Approaches). The Three-Dimentiional Field -- Depth and Volume (Positive and Negative Volumes; Graphic De[th Factors and Lenses, Axis Motion Vector). The Four-Dimensional Field -- TIME (MOTION). The Five-Dimensional Field -- SOUND.

Vector Field -- external and internal types.
Graphic Vectors = directional orientation.
Index Vectors
Motion Vectors

Vector Magnitude

Continuing Vector

Converging Vectors

Diverging Vectors


Distribution of Vectors

Force of Index Vector

Golden Section and Balances (Stable, Natural, Unstable [Labile Balance])

Object Framing

Close Forms

Natural Dividing Lines

Extending the Field

Vector-Object Consistancy

Z-Axis Vectors


Index Page in Art-Film from Theatre w/Anatoly 200X Aesthetics (basics) * montage @ film analysis [ new : cine101.com ]


new montage page @ filmstudy

Кадр - элемент монтажа.

Монтаж - сборка элементов. [Eisen]


new: Russian texts & URLs!

"Montage" -- the art and technique of motion-picture editing in which contrasting shots or sequences are used to effect emotional or intellectual responses. It was developed creatively after 1925 by the Russian Sergei Eisenstein; since that time montage has become an increasingly complex and inventive way of extending the imaginative possibilities of film art. In still photography a composite picture, made by combining several prints, or parts of prints, and then rephotographing them as a whole, is often called a montage or a photomontage. ru : Кадр вовсе не элемент монтажа.

Кадр - ячейка монтажа. По ту сторону диалектического скачка в едином ряде кадр - монтаж.

Чем же характеризуется монтаж, а следственно, и его эмбрион -кадр?

Столкновением. Конфликтом двух рядом стоящих кусков. Конфликтом. Столкновением.

Передо мной лежит мятый пожелтевший листок бумаги.

На нем таинственная запись:

"Сцепление - П" и "Столкновение - Э".

Это вещественный след горячей схватки на тему о монтаже между Э - мною и П - Пудовкиным. (С полгода назад.)



конфликт графических направлений (линий),

конфликт планов (между собой),

конфликт объемов,

конфликт масс (объемов, наполненных разной световой интенсивностью),

конфликт пространств и т. д.

Конфликты, ждущие лишь одного толчка интенсификации, чтобы разлететься в пары кусков антагонистов. Крупного и мелкого плана. Графически разнонаправленных кусков. Кусков, решенных объемно, с кусками, решенными плоско. Кусков темных и светлых... И т. д.

Наконец, имеются и такие конфликтные неожиданности, как:

конфликт предмета и его пространственности и конфликт события и его временности.

Как ни странно это звучит - это давно знакомые нам вещи.



Types of Montage = 4th D in Russian * "Methods of Montage":

Собственно монтажным построением они становятся тогда, когда они вступают в конфликтные взаимоотношения друг с другом...

[ full text : "russian page" ]


[ to continue ]

Edit it!

PP = Post-production in Film Directing 101

2006 Textbook -- part 6. PostProduction : First Assembly (Ch. 39, p. 508)

[ The Physical Process for Video ]

Ch. 40 Editing Principles [ Drama takes place in the Audience's Imagination 528 ]

Sound effects as scene elision

... pomo.vtheatre.net & film600 : montage as philosophy

index * METHOD acting for directors * 200X Aesthetics * Film Dir * Theatre Books * Film Books * Theatre w/Anatoly * SHOWs * Script Analysis * Acting * Directing * Russian-American Theatre (RAT) * Film Links * Film Analysis * Biomechanics * Classes * VIRTUAL THEATRE * Mining Film: books & links * Book of Spectator * My Nonfiction (webtexts): Theology of Technology * POV * PostAmeriKa * Father-Russia * Bookmark vTheatre! Amazon * Mailing List & News -- subscribe yourself theorytheatre theory and Anatoly Blogs - Newsblog: anatoly-film
.... 2006
... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_montage_theory
This page is overloaded. Initially, it served all film classes, before I built separate directories for Film Directing and Analysis (Theory) courses.
[ intro ]

MONTAGE (of Attractions)

Self-caricature by Eisenstein. "I -- an engineer (civil), therefore the issue of MECHANISM OF THE SHOW -- is in the theory of attractions." (From Eisenstein's Diaries 1927). [Machinism = mechanism]

Not editing, but Montage! The difference?

Big difference!

In fact, they are two opposite processes!

Locomotive Animation-Film Directing
Montage is about construction. No wonder that Eisenstein was developing the theory of montage at the time of the great revolutionary constructivism of the 20s. Engineering the film, almost as an architect. "Montage-thinking" teaches you to organize film "from the end" -- you don't "edit" the footage, you are getting the shots the way they will be on the screen. Let the news guys and documentary film-makers call the post-production time "editing." Too bad, thanks to Eisenstein, you see in dictionaries the definition of montage as "rapid sequence of shots"!

Montage is based on what is known as "Kulishev Effect" -- this early Russian film-maker played with his footage, gluing together man's face and a shot of a plate with food, or the same face and a naked girl.... Surprisingly, the same closeup of man looks different next to a new following shot. First -- hunger. Second -- lust. How could it be? You do it, the public. You try to connect the two and make sense out of the combination of two shots. Eisenstein declared that the shot by itself is "neutral" (have zero meaning till it position in context of other shots).

Well, next step was to shoot the first and the second shot in such a way that it will produce the effect we desire. Sounds simple.

But wait a minute! Doesn't the shot have its own meaning? (see semiotics page) Look at the posters, magazine covers -- a sexy girl is a sexy girl! Well, not in MOTION PICTURES. You see, the original meaning is only the first part of the visual statement, according to montage theory. It's open and -- incomplete. What is missing in the static world of images? You! What montage does -- the thought (action) in evolution with the next shot "throws the meaning" on the previous shot! (In primitive terms we call it a reaction shot). The second shot in its turn is incomplete also -- it asks for another shot! That's how we crave for continuity and can't take our eyes away from the screen! Well, montage theory doesn't look so simple anymore.

Should I mention that we remember all the shots and there are relations between each shot of the movie with ALL other shots?

Any great film shot is always "open" structure!


The great formula of montage:

1 + 1 > 2

Following the logic of dialects (thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis), the sum of two parts is bigger, if they are connected (Kuleshov's Effect).

[ image * Kuleshov photo]



First round of directing takes place in your head -- and on paper. Storyboarding is an indispensable part of it. The novice directors try to avoid it. I start with it (after shot into games with camera) -- montage teaches us to think in cuts. Camera is so powerful that the visuals of the shots dominate the new souls -- they are completely absorbed by shots, not how shots should work together.

In class:

"A-B-C Cutting" (The Host in the middle of two guests) and two-shots (shooting exsercises)

[ image ]

Easy to understand and difficult to follow -- the Subject Continuity: screen directions, angles and even the prop in the same places. The basic advice -- cut on motion and make sure that actor leaves frame completely or enters it -- don't cry "cut" (you will cut it later, that's what editing is for).

Get radical!

Nice and dangerous -- Extreme Changes in Field View

Instead of zooming (don't touch this botton). Use cuts from LS or XLS to MS, or even MCU.

(I'll post the images later). Use Commercials, Archive for class assignments!


Another invisible montage device -- the color game!

Sometimes I wish Eisenstein had been imprisoned by Stalin and could have finished his writing on color in film. Just kidding. You see, the color changes within the frame to act as an extra sentence added to your statement.

(See his book "Film Form": recommended)

[ Kurosawa "Dreams" sample ]


Complexity Editing: developing the depth of the event.

Shooting master LS is a recording of the scene. When MS shots are added, we have "deeper" event. Next -- CUs.

The basic trio -- LS, MS, CU. That's how we arrive at a climatic point. To enrich ("deepen") the screen event, we're adding different "reaction" shots. More -- details (hands, subjects etc.)

[ editing page in film directing class. ]

PLAYING with TIME (subjective time)

There is no "objective" time in film, as well as no "real" space. All shots have "subjective" taste in them in various degrees. For details on subjective-objective dialectics go to POV (Point Of View) page.

Remember! Controlling = creating YOUR screen time. You direct Space and Time!
Usually, we call time a fourth dimension. Einstein stated that time and space are inseparable. Manipulating the space, we play with time. There is another category the theory of relativity placed as the most essential -- SPEED. Yes, the motion, the very foundation of film -- kinematics (cinemato-graphy). But the changes in speed are the ruling principle, that's how we create "intensification" of time. Obviously each portion of "objective" time has different intensity and film arranges them in a harmony, very much like melody in music. We don't hear this symphony, we see it!

Objective time has three familiar designations -- past, present and future. The paradox of film is that everything on the screen is in PRESENT sense!


Our sense of the past or future is always processed through present, it's always PERSONAL, and film makes a great use of this phenomenon through POV (Point of View). That's why we are able to live constantly through identification with people and events on the screen.

Low-density time (event)



Cuts start with the framing out of "rest of the picture" -- first step of intensification. Next -- from shot to shot, we can reduce pieces of actual time (or stretch them). So we can have a more dynamic interplay of time.

Now, we go back to our three main sizes of shots -- LS, MS, CU. Each has a different sense of identification: He, You, I. Each has a different sense of time. By going from LS to CU, we are moving from low-density time to high-density. Combination of shots produces in us various time-sensations....



In fact, cutting from one shot to another we PLAY TIME GAMES, the source of the dramatism on the screen.

Now you can add camera motion or primary motion, angles, color, sound, etc. to get the full picture of possibilities we have to manipulate time!

"Reality" is only a material for you. It has to be processed through camera, get new meanings and forms. That's why we start with concepts and conceptualization -- you create SCREEN EVENT and therefore you manipulate "real" space and time.

First you disassemble the Real through breaking action in front of the camera in shots. You made the camera into a moving spectator, now you have to make it work on the screen.


1. Metric Montage (all shots are equally long).
[----] [----] [----] [----]
2. Accelerated Metric Montage (the shots get progressively shorter).
[----] [---] [--] [-]
Go to Cut (new page) for more!


Eisenstein's favorite!

Now we know why there are no "actual" events on the screen -- Screen Event is better! More dramatic. And it's fictional, that's why it looks "more real" than in life. We make it look this way. Have you ever been in an accident? What did you see? Nothing! We will slow time for you, we will show you the most dramatic elements, which you can't see ever.

Sequential exercises in class. Shot 1 = dog runs to street. Shot 2 = car. Shot 3 = dead dog on the ground.

Now, how to intensify it?

[ images ]


Arrests one moment in the event. (See subjective time, the vertical line). Stretching time duration -- opposite to condensing time (cuts).
[different images, POVs seeing the same event]
[ ]


Eisenstein called it "Intellectual" montage. For now go to his books on this subject. Tonal Montage, Overtonal....

(Chaplin's "Modern Times" opening shot: sheep. Next shot -- the workers. Shots: Hungry man + Fat man eating = ?)

Get yourself a good and expensive book: Herbert Zettl's SIGHT, SOUND, MOTION (Applied Media Aesthetics) Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1990.


In order to understand the nature of montage, you have to know some dialectics. Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis -- According to Hegel, opposites gravitate towards each other. Their conflict produces a new level, which is higher than the previous two. "1 + 1 > 2" formula is based on this law of dialectics. The meaning of the two shots clashed together give birth to another meaning, which is not in each of them, but the new.

Collision as a concept...

[ Theory of Accidents by Virilio + Deleuse (film-theory) = must read, if serious about films ] Virilio

In class:

Review 1: Test on Match
Review 2: Editing concepts
Basic: "A-B-C Cutting" (The Host in the middle of two guests) and two-shots (exercise, editing).

(Film Segments to show in class (God-Father, Star Wars?) Godfather


Subject Continuity:
Extreme Changes in Field View


The subject dictates the continuity.

[ filmstudy clips ]

Notes for myself: some areas are not for the class. How to can I differentiate Film & Drama, Film-North (grad) and Fundamental of Directing? Perhaps Film directing page should explain it. [New class I didn't teach yet.]

PLAYING WITH TIME (subjective time) -- Test. Controlling = creating your screen time. In class and home work. Bring in your examples of:

I. Montage (3 shots)

1. Metric Montage (all shots are equally long).

2. Accelerated Metric Montage (the shots get progressively shorter).




Viewing 1: 1st Assembly & Footage. Progress reports

Viewing 2: Taxi Driver (A) external composition

Eisenstein (B) internal composition in "October." Analysis.




"Continuity editing" requires its relations to be fairly tightly defined, as listed below. In order to move away from the standards of continuity editing, these relations can be played with and used to create many other possibilities. It may be the case now that we are so used to the formal standards of continuity editing, that the rules have to be broken in mainstream cinema for the audience to remain active viewers.

[ video clip from youtube.com/group/directing ]


Graphic relations are to do with editing and mise-en-scene. The whole 'look' of objects in the frame tells us something about them, due to cues such as color and size. If there is, due to editing, more than one frame, we can compare and contrast different objects in different frames.

For instance, a 'playoff' can be achieved if two characters are in separate frames, wearing very spartan, grey or very lavish, colourful clothes. We can then be informed about such influences as lifestyle, income, class, level of self-confidence, and so on. Of course, this does not merely apply to human objects. The background can indicate as much graphic relation as the foreground and its inhabitants.

[ clip ]


... The amount of space occupied in the frame by certain objects in certain frames. One cluttered frame, full of people, which then cuts to a sparse frame containing one person can indicate isolation or claustrophobia, depending on the point of view and which frame is 'favoured'.

Consider also the angle of the camera. Or better say -- the changes in camera angles.

[ image ]


... The relations of objects and narrative in time. Editing is the most important method of controlling the allocation of time in film.

As graphic relations are also to do with mise-en-scene, temporal relations share themselves with another part of film - in this case, narrative. Entities in the film are allocated time according to the following mechanisms:

Order The order in which shots are picked. Mainstream narratives follow a certain 1-2-3-4 trend to make them straightforward and easy to follow. This does not have to be the case. Other orders can induce jump cuts, feelings of mystery (where the viewer has to 'work' to achieve comprehension), alienation, and so on. Person A opens front door of house, Walks inside, Walks through corridor into kitchen, Switches kettle on.

If shot 4 is first, followed by shot 1, you may think that someone is already inside the house, switching on the kettle. Thus, the order should be kept as structurally defined as possible - one shot out of place can bring down the entire piece.

Frequency The number of times that a shot occurs. This is an excellent mechanism for building up tension. If a shot recurs over and over again, there is a feeling of increasing tension, followed by (perhaps) surprise when a new shot occurs. Frequency is also to do with temporal relations, in that a shot is allocated a certain number of 'runs' until it is succeeded.

Duration The length of the shot. Mainstream cinema requires that more 'active' sequences have shorter shots and (thus) a greater turnover of edits. Another requirement is that once the mise-en-scene is empty or has changed, that particular shot is over. Duration does not necessarily mean that that particular scene has passed - a take could perhaps be repeated again, shot from a different angle. This could be particularly disturbing!

Duration is the most "invisible"....

Consider the shot going on for a long time, as objects in the mise-en-scene have moved around, or have left altogether. Watch Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" for the night shots, when Robert DeNiro is in the car (a moving shot where the people in the mise-en-scene are moving on the street and camera is moving with the car -- the double motion creates a suspenseful mood).

The long shots (sometimes called "takes") are based on "primary motion" (in front of the camera) and camera itself (secondary motion). We are saving the moment for a cut. We make our spectator beg for it. (Duration can make viewers become aware of not only the situation, but also of the camera).

Task --

Consider the differing durations in shots between fictional and factual film. Choose your own genre.

[ image ]

(use music video clips)

As mentioned above on duration, mainstream cinema usually calls for more active scenes to have a greater number of shots. This is rhythmic. However, rhythm does not just depend on editing - it also calls on the narrative, context, environment and mise-en-scene to workout a suitable rhythm. The mise-en-scene can provide rhythm for itself - consider a scene of active figure movement in an inner city compared to an open field.
Continuity editing also allocates differing slices of time according to the physical depth of field. If the shot is a close-up, much less time is given to it than a long shot. Therefore, the length of time of the shot depends on two things:

Narrative action

Shot distance

Variations in rhythm make us expect a change in narrative action and/or setting.


The same "dream" fragment from "Wild Strawberries" -- cuts. Reconstruction: the storyboard from existing film. And the text from the "Four Screenplays by Bergman."


Segments in class + script


Just remember that we discussing the THIRD level of motion -- cuts! The most powerful of all! In class. [Screen Event and Theory of Attractions]

What is "screen event"? Bring an episode from your favorite movie to class and explain the term.

Next: Theory
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