A montage is an
important technique in film, delivering information and time passage in a
visual and economical way. It’s true that montages can be overused and
have gained the stigma of being cheesy,
but if done right, a montage can be engaging, inspiring – even epic.
was a pioneer in the use of montage, a specific use of film editing. Eisenstein
begin his career in theatre working for Proletkult, Strike (1925) was
Eisenstein’s first full-length feature film. This essay will demonstrate Sergei
Eisenstein’s work on montage, the montage of film attraction, example on film
If we regard
cinema as a factor for exercising emotional influence over the masses we must
secure its place in this category and, in our search for ways of building
cinema up, we must make widespread use of the experience and the latest
achievements in the sphere of those arts that set themselves similar tasks. The
first of these is, of course, theatre, which is linked to cinema by a common
(identical) basic material – the audience – and by a common purpose –
influencing this audience in the desired direction through a series of
calculated pressures on its psyche. Cinema and theatre since it is obvious and
well-founded from the standpoint both of social necessity (the class struggle)
and of the very nature of these arts that deliver, because of their former
characteristics, a series of blows to the consciousness and emotions of the
audience. Finally, only an ultimate aspiration of this sort can serve to
justify diversions that give the audience real satisfaction (both physical and
moral) as a result of fictive collaboration with what is being shown. If it
were not for this phenomenon which, incidentally, alone makes for the magnetism
of theatre, circus and cinema, the thoroughgoing removal of accumulated forces
would proceed at a more intense pace and sports clubs would have in their debt
a significantly larger number of people whose physical nature had caught up
like theatre, makes sense only as ‘one form of pressure’. There is a difference
in their methods but they have one basic device in common: the montage of
An attraction is
in our understanding any demonstrable fact (an action, an object, a phenomenon,
a conscious combination, and so on) that is known and proven to exercise a
definite effect on the attention and emotions of the audience and that,
combined with others, possesses the characteristic of concentrating the
audience’s emotions in any direction dictated by the production’s purpose. From
this point of view a film cannot be a simple presentation or demonstration of
events: rather it must be a tendentious selection of, and comparison between,
events, free from narrowly plot-related plans and moulding the audience in
accordance with its purpose.
The application of
the method of the montage of attractions (the comparison of facts) to cinema is
even more acceptable than it is to theatre. For the exposition of even the
simplest phenomena cinema needs comparison (by means of consecutive, separate
presentation) between the elements which constitute it: montage (in the
technical, cinematic sense of the word) is fundamental to cinema, deeply grounded
in the conventions of cinema and the corresponding characteristics of
theatre an effect is achieved primarily through the physiological perception of
an actually occurring fact (e.g. a murder), in cinema it is made up of the
juxtaposition and accumulation, in the audience’s psyche, of associations that
the film’s purpose requires, associations that are aroused by the separate,
elements of the stated (in practical terms, in ‘montage fragments’) fact,
associations that produce, albeit tangentially, a similar (and often stronger)
effect only when taken as a whole
Cinema effects, in contrast to those of
theatre, lies not in directly physiological effects, although a purely physical
infectiousness can sometimes be attained (in a chase, with the montage of two
sequences with movements running against the shot). It seems that there has
been absolutely no study or evaluation of the purely physiological effect of
montage irregularity and rhythm and, if it has been evaluated, this has only
been for its role in narrative illustration (the tempo of the plot
corresponding with the material being narrated). ‘We ask you not to confuse’
the montage of attractions and its method of comparison with the usual montage
parallelism used in the exposition of a theme such as the narrative principle
in Cine – Pravda where the audience has first to guess what is going on and
then become ‘intellectually’ involved with the theme.
The montage of
attractions is closer to the simple contracting comparisons, that often produce
a definitely powerful emotional effect.
The method of
the montage of attractions is the comparison of subjects for thematic effect.
(1925) the mass shooting. Showing horror of death business, “slaughterhouse”. The
shooting is shown only in ‘establishing’ long and medium shots of 1,800 workers
falling over a precipice, the crowd fleeting, gunfire, etc., and all the
close-ups are provided by a demonstration of the real horrors of the
slaughterhouse where cattle are slaughtered and skinned. One version of the
montage was composed roughly as follows:
head of a bull. The butcher’s knife takes aim and moves upwards beyond the
The hand holding the knife strikes downward below the frame.
shot: 1,500 people roll down a slope. (Profile shot)
people get up off the ground, their arms outstretched.
face of a soldier taking aim
bull’s body (the head is outside the frame) jerks and rolls over.
The bull’s legs convulse. A hoof beats in a pool of blood.
The bolts of the rifles.
bull’s head is tied with a rope to branch.
thousand people rush past.
line of soldiers emerges from behind a clump of bushes.
The bull’s head as it dies beneath unseen blows (the eyes glaze over).
in longer shot, seen from behind the soldiers’ backs.
shot. The bull’s legs are bound together ‘according to Jewish custom’ (the
method of slaughtering cattle lying down).
shot. People falling over a precipice.
bull’s throat is cut. Blood gushes out.
close-up. People rise into the frame with their arms outstretched.
butcher advances towards the (panning) camera holding the blood-stained rope.
crowd rushes to fence, breaks it down but is met by an ambush (two or three
fall into the frame.
head of the bull is severed from the trunk.
crowd rolls down the precipice into the water.
Teeth are knocked out by the shooting.
soldiers’ feet move away.
flows into the water, colouring it.
Blood gushes from the bull’s throat.
pour blood from a basin into a bucket.
from a platform with buckets of blood on it . . . in motion towards a
dead bull’s tongue is pulled through the slit throat (one of the devices used
in a slaughterhouse, probably so that the teeth will not do any damage during
solders’ feet move away. (Longer shot)
head is skinned.
thousands eight hundred dead bodies at the foot of the precipice.
dead skinned bulls’ heads.
human hand in a pool of blood.
Filling the whole screen. The dead bull’s eye.
the process of constructing, shooting and moulding the montage elements, we are
selecting the filmed fragments, fully recall the characteristics of cinema’s
effect that we stated initially and that establish the montage approach as the
essential, meaningful and sole possible language of cinema, completely
analogous to the role of the world in spoken material. In the selection and
presentation of this material the decisive factor should be the immediacy and
economy of the resources expended in the cause of associative effect.
practical indication that derives from this is the selection of an angle of
vision for every element, conditioned exclusively by the accuracy and force of
impact of the necessary presentation of this element. If the montage elements
are strung together consecutively this will lead to a contrast movement of the
angle of vision in relation to the material being demonstrated (in itself one
of the most absorbing purely cinematic possibilities).
elision of one fragment into another is inadmissible: each element can most
profitably be shown from just one angle and part of the film fact that proceeds
from, let us say, an interested close-up, already requires a new angle that is
different from the fragment that preceded the close-up. Thus, where a tightly expounded
fact is concerned, the work of the film director, as distinct from the theatre
director, requires, in addition to a mastery of production (planning and
acting), a repertoire of montage-calculated angles for the camera to ‘capture’
considerations play a decisive role in the selection of camera angles and the
arrangement of the lights. No plot ‘justification’ for the selection of the
angle of vision or the light sources is necessary.
This ‘play’ is
either a semi-narcotic experience with no account of time or space (and really
only a little off the ‘place where the camera is standing’), or a stereometric
spread in three-dimensional space of the body and the extremities of the model
actor in different directions, remotely recalling some forms of human action or
consecutive local contractions of facial muscles quite independent of one
another and their system as a whole. Both lead to a superb division of space in
the shot and the surface of the screen that follows strict rhythmic schemes,
with no single ‘daubing’ or unfixed place. But … a rhythmic schema is
arbitrary, it is established according to the whim or ‘feeling’ of the director
and not according to periods dictated by the mechanical conditions of the
course of a particular motor process; the disposition of the extremities (which
is precisely not ‘movement’) is produced outside any mutual mechanical
interaction such as the unified motor system of a single organism.
The audience in
this kind of presentation is deprived of the emotional effect of perception
which is replaced by guesswork as to what is happening. Because emotional perception
is achieved through the motor reproduction of the movements of the actor by the
perceiver, this kind of reproduction can only be caused by movement that
adheres to the methods that it normally
adheres to in nature.
In 21 century
digital technology rules film industry. As Sergei Eisenstein once said “I
maintain my conviction that the future undoubtedly lies with the plot-less
actor-less form of exposition but this future will dawn only with the advent of
the conditions of social organisation that provide the opportunity for the
general development and the comprehensive mastering of their nature and the
application of all their energy in action, and the human race will not lack
satisfaction through fictive energetic deeds, provided for it by all types of
spectacle, distinguished only by the methods by which they are summoned forth.
This pure method
of training the reflexes through performance effect deserves the careful
consideration of people organising educational films and theatres that quite
unconsciously cram children with entirely unjustified repertoire. In the past
even in the future film tells story of space and existence. Nowadays people use
editing program easily complete what they feel, what they want to show. As a
professional filmmaker telling story making a film is level of high vision to Influence
audience who wants to see new emotions and adventure. From Sergei Eisenstein’s
work we can learn how he tells a story without sound, which shots are
juxtaposed in an often fast-paced fashion that compresses time and conveys a
lot of information in a relatively short period. In his work “Strike” ending
scene, one of the horrific tragic scene, connection between the soldiers and
slaughterhouse shows the fear of death business, completely shown his idea. Sergei
Eisenstein’s work clearly shown main concept of the film shown the emotion of
the character without sound. Even montage technique developed to highest level
of history … if the present compare to past, but we still need to learn from
great artist how they tell story.