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Editing in Cinema - Montage

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Good morning, we will be talking about aspects of editing and two key concepts montage and jump cut. We have already been seen that what linear editing is all about. Linear editing means that the narrative is flawless, it does not call any attention to itself, but when we resolved to techniques like editing and jump cut, both varied European terms. In other words, sending a signal that there has been a passage of time or something else, something radical, but definitely is not a linear storytelling, as contrasted with or as compared with the earlier mode of narrative. So, therefore montage and jump cut, I am going to ask you to give me certain example from your own experience on montage and jump cut; which are use now a days in discriminately, but there was a time when this concepts were newly introduced then there was an ideology. So, there has to be a reason for this and not just, because a film maker wants to be very smart and very cool, so he resolved; so now that is what we find nowadays happenings, especially MTV kind of cross cutting things. But that was not the case when montage and jump cut begin; they had firm roots in ideologies. So, montage is a kind of an editing technique and we are shown, if you watch a particular scene from Citizen Kane, Citizen Kane is supposedly one of the most innovative films ever made, and the scene where; Charles Foster Kane and his first wife they sit across the dining table and have a conversation, about how much time he spends on the news paperand his ideological concerns, what he should be publishing. I mean, we are told she is the president’s niece, which she does not want him to publish anything which goes against the principles of the president. So, the marital discord symbolically represented on screen, through distancing, through portraying the distance between them on the dining table and also showing a passage of time as they argue and drift apart. So, it is a series of images and sound that form a kind of a visual pattern. There may not be any clear logical or sequential patter, but what you are supposed to understand is; there is thegap, there is a passage of time and people are you know going through certain kinds of changes.Now, montage is a Soviet term or technique.It was first used in the 1920s, and this is a name that you should know Lev Kuleshov, LevKuleshov who first gave us the idea of montage.So, apart from Lev Kuleshov, his other partner and more definitely better known partner Sergei Eisenstein.Student: Battleship PotemkinBattleship Potemkin is one of the greatest film makers ever, and one of themost renowned films ever. It is a silent movie Battleship Potemkin; it is available freely,so you should watch it. These two men are responsible for developing montage as a technique.Now, Kuleshov’s significant contribution was the idea that each shot is like a building block,and it derives its meaning from its context, that is the shot play or the shots placed around it.So, they use to conduct several editing and film making workshops,and the school was called VGIK. I will give you the full form of this abbreviation later.So, Kuleshov and his students would systematically dissect; David Griffith’s Intolerance 1916movie viewing it several times editing, re-editing, sometimes assembling and reassembling it.So, what they were trying to learn at that film school and this is the technique thatseveral film schools follows, even in our country now; they take a very particularlywell known film and then they start cutting and reassembling it and reordering it.What are they trying to do?You know completely ideology can change; the concept of the movie can change, if use cut reordering it.You look at Pulp Fiction; I think that isthe movie which is very commonly accessible to most of you of your generation.If you watch a movie like Pulp Fiction, you know how they play around with ordering of the movie.But if you show the entire movie in the linear order, without playing around withthe order, then it becomes something else. How does the movie end?John Travolta is still alive.But what happens to him? He dies, he shot dead by someone in the middle of the moviebut here when the movie ends, we see him just walking off with his partner; so how playingaround with the editing can change the meaning or context of the film.We will be doing Pulp Fiction soon,so then in that particular section, session we will be dealing with it in depth.So, Kuleshov further felt that juxtaposition placing side by side dissimilar elements shouldbe inherent in all film signs. You already know what are signs, symbols and codes in cinema.So, according to Kuleshov and during his lectures at VGIK, shorts acquire new meaningswhen juxtaposed with what comes before and after. Let us assume close up of an old ladyand then close up of a very rich man, and then again close up of a hungry child.There is a story now being told. These close ups may have been taken from different placesand different points of time but when you put them together seemingly different elements,juxtapose them; and then what happens, you are telling a story. There is an old sufferinglady, there is poverty perhaps or maybe she is a very rich lady who is totally in differentinsensitive to the sufferings of others. And then you have a very rich man, and then youhave a hungry child; seemingly no connections bring them together, there is a story.That is what, Kuleshov tells us; how montage can lend the particular ideological meaning to the proceedings.Ask me any question if I am confusing you or confounding you.So, this was known as the Kuleshov effect. What he did? He focused on an actor Ivan Mozhukinand spliced, you know he took his close up shots; you know the actors close up shot,spliced in shots of a women lying in a coffin, a little girl with teddy bear and a bowl of soup.Same actor, same face and then a sequence of these shots. What shots? Girl with a teddybear, a woman in a coffin and a bowl of soup, and everyone said what a great actor Ivan Mosjoukine is.He was not acting at all, it was the same face, same expression; however,people read meaning into those shots because of the way the editing was done.So, editing is because the close up shot of a woman in coffin and the actor's face, Ivan’s face.Then a child with a teddy bear, perhaps a hungry child and the actor, perhaps the father;you know we have all watched the movie like,The children of paradise, that Iranian movie, sorry, Children of Heaven.So, we know what a helpless situation the parents are.And then above a bowl of soup, and again a close up shot of the actor. He was not reacting to anything;it was just the same close up shot which Kuleshov has taken once, and juxtaposed to with all of these.So, what he was trying do? He was to communicate the certain ideaor thought that how editing can change the meaning of the narrative, but those were allSoviet communist's ideological principles. Nowadays, you find montage happening any which way.So, collectively it was called creative geography,that is splicing together bits of action from various films, and taken from different places, countries and regions.So, several shots put together from different films. Today we willcall something like, ((Refer prof)) (11:7) we talk about Andy Warhol and all those things.There was a time when all these things were deeply rooted in a certain kind of ideology.Dziga Vertov another extremely important name and his movie, silent movie; Man with a Movie Camera in 1929,a Russian film, a silent film and it combines radical politics with cinematic aesthetics.And it was all in the family kind of affair where his brotherwas involved and his wife was involved in editing producing and directing the film.Dziga Vertov is the man with the movie camera, he goes out on the street and captures thecity mostly Mosco and the hassle and basle of the city, city in its all in all its gloryand its drawback and its failures.So, we look at the transport, the buses, the trams, the citizens, the industries.It is also one of the most important innovations by way of narrative,because it demonstrated a non-linear narrative form for cinema.So, it is not like that cause and effect; remember narrative or linear form is always the cause effectkind of cinema with something is happening as a result of that something else is happening.Remember Aristotle, remember poetics; everything should have a beginning, middle and end, butDziga Vertov subverted that kind of a mindset.It need not, everything need not have a beginning, middle and end.Therefore, when the movie ends we never realizewhy it ended the way it is; because it does not have that kind of linear structure.And the movie claim to be highly realistic and capture the day-today happenings of life,the birth of the baby, the death of someone, people getting married at the registers officeinstead of a church; so that is also what are we trying to tell the audience,when people are start getting married in the registers office and not in churches.Is there are social change happening?Yes. So, again as I was telling you the ideological believes of these film makers.Why were they interested in these kinds of situations? To tell the people thatyes, there is a social changes happening around us be alert to that.And also divorce.It is an emblematic shot.A close up of a magnified eye, looking through the cameralens that is Dziga Vertov’s eyes, Man with a Movie Camera.And you can see the magnified eye through the camera lens.So, this is also the time when people arestarted getting interested in cities. So, perhaps you are aware of genre, not exactlygenre but the category of films called; the city symphonies, Paris, Je t’aime is the city symphony.New York I love you, it is a city symphony. Tokyo’s story is a city symphony.So, Man with a Movie Camera was one of the earliest known film that pay a homage to the city;city in its reality, city the way it exist not that glorified glamorous artificial cities of a Hollywood sets.This is the actual city as seen in its day-today life.And he experimented a lot as we have been talking by way of editing including slow motion.Now you today, you know how slow motions and when slow motions are used; so let us notget into that, but Dziga Vertov was one of the first people of film maker to use slow motion.Also occasionally animation, zoom; what is zoom?Can you enact zoom for me?You know, what is a zoom, you know? Fine, you know zoom, we will talk about.The split-screen, what is split-screen; can you give me some example?Student: In a telephone conversation.If you watch ocean series it uses very often,split-screen especially the highest scenes, this is happening and at the same time several other thingshappening and is all have splits. So, sometimes you have seven to eight split at the same time.Blurring focus, and freeze.You remember what is freeze?Image is frozen on screen.Freeze has for some reason, come to be associated with Truffaut’s 400 blows;take this name down, watch this movie, extremely entertaining and one of the first movie ofthe so called French new wave. Francois Truffaut’s 400 blows, please watch it; and how he usesthe freeze at the end of the film.Dziga Vertov is credited with using montage effectively,especially in a scene where hand work is transformed in to mechanized labor;as we were talking about montage has its roots in ideology, certain kind of an ideology.As a socialist text, Man with a Movie Camera; pioneers the age where workers willbe able to afford, this is the ideology of the film, leisure activities; play football,soccer, go to cinema theaters, do sports, swim,basically have enough leisure and have enough mean to indulge in these activities.Sergei Eisenstein another important film maker,we have been talking about him, Battleship Potemkin; Eisenstein dates (1898-1948), Russiandirector of Strike, Battleship Potemkin and October. October is all about what?October revolution, there was a revolution in October. Which year?1917. The movie is all about theOctober, the famous October revolution of 1917. And Eisenstein articulated the theoryof montage and typage using non-professional actors, with clear physical trades in representative roles.I do not know, I think recently I did session on characters, remember?And we were talking about flat and round characters. So, flat characters are often representative character.So, we were talking about how Mr. Bean represents a certain section of the British class,one an average eccentric middle class man. So, he needs to have a physical trade or someyou know, the way he dresses, the way his cloths, the kind of car he drives; all thatrepresent some thing, a kind of a, you know fits in to that category.So, that is what Eisenstein did.Took actors who are not really trained actors,therefore we use the term non-professional actors; but who had certain physical tradewhich represented certain ideologies, so certain kinds of people.Eisenstein heavily communistin his ideologies and he was often considered a propagandist. In theater, we have someonelike Bertolt Brech who was always considered a propagandist for the certain kind of ideology.In cinema we had Eisenstein who was clearly, overly anti-Nazi, anti-fascist and pro-communist,so that is what all his film reflects. So, this is how Sergei Eisenstein defines montage.‘A montage is assembled from separate images that provide a partial representation,and which are in combination and juxtaposition’. This is the definition given by Eisenstein.So, Eisenstein necessarily suggests conflict and collision in montage.Is that what you find in Citizen Kane?Conflict and collision? Yes you do, there is a conflict of interestbetween, there is a marital discord; they may not be overly communist but still thereis a conflict between Charles Kane and his wife.So, montage needs to suggest that, that is according to Eisenstein.Montage is particularly used again, I am quotingEisenstein ‘when an editor or a film maker wishes to convey a great deal in to a brief segment’ .So, compression of something. So, you want to show fourteen years, how do you do that?You cannot, obviously, portray fourteen years in detail, but what do you do; you,you resort to certain techniques and montage is the best way to explore this.So, just how time elapses.Eisenstein also believed that, collision and conflict must be inherent to all visual science in films.How many of you remember that famous scene from Battleship Potemkin?The Odessa steps, are you aware of this?Vijji, are you familiar with the term called or scene called the Odessa steps?Just take it down, because we will not be able to actually do Battleship Potemkin, butit is a scene called Odessa steps; best exemplifies Eisenstein's theory of montage.So, what happens there in a very brief, in a nut shell I tell you, what happens in that particular montage scene.There is a scene where a group of people have revolted against the Czar, but it isa very peaceful kind of rebellion or protest and then we have shown, how mercilessly Czar’sarmy shoots them and guns them down. So, one hand you are shown those very highly play,the very powerful army men descending down the stairs of this particular spot and therebels are symbolically you know at a lower level; and how they are all defenseless, weaponlessand helpless while they are being gun down. So, there is a montage and it is a lengthysequence; that is because Eisenstein’s ideology that he wanted to depict it very well, expressit very clearly, very explicitly the horror of that particular regime.Therefore, we find the scene being done in great detail, and montage works beautifully in that particularsequence to bring out the difference between the two sections of the society, so conflict and collision.So, Eisenstein’s works are influenced byhis political ideologies, we have already seen and its commitment towards Marxism.He identifies five types of montage, you need not go into great depth of these, but at least know theterms the terminology, rhythmic, tonal, over tonal and intellectual.So, these are the types that he gives. If you are interested you look these terms up, but just understandthat according to Eisenstein there are five kinds of montage techniques.This is what he comments while talking about the Odessa steps and massacre scene in Battleship Potemkin.Formulation and investigation of the phenomenon of cinema as forms of conflict, yield thefirst possibility of devising homogenous system of visual dramaturgy for all general and particularcases of the film problem. That means, it is very important to formulate; we have beentalking about these things since the beginning of these classes, we talked about the grammar of cinema.He says it is very important to formulate certain kind of language of cinemato express certain ideologies.This is in short or in brief the principles of montage,there is a rapid alteration between shots that you have already understood when youwere doing Citizen Kane, representing a kind of conflict.You have fast editing and unusual camera angles,which sort of a challenge the classic narrative cinema which is linear in tone and style.