Reading Film (Fall 2011)

a qwriting blog for ENG 110

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Eisenstein’s montage on the process of writing by Daniel Min.

September 12th, 2011 by Daniel Min · 7 Comments · ¶4 Eisenstein

Eisenstein’s analysis in regards to the montage of cinema and comparing it with the concise yet effective and laconic description of the Japanese art and culture, will certainly give prospective cinematographer a different understanding and a whole new outlook of cinematography. Chinese art of calligraphy and the advant-garde of Japanese kabuki theatre are considered to be the epitome of such works of art, to provoke strong emotion from the audience through subtle means of persuading the artistic mind to understand the intricacy of its complexity in spite of its apparent feature.

Eisenstein’s comparison of the Japanese system of writing with Sharaku’s mask which is an elegant craft of such bizarre taste resembling  Nakayama Tomisaburo, gave a great analogy on delineating between the indication of the wood cut portrait which consist of “fairly accurate anatomical proportions” and the disproportionate portrayal of the antique one. By comparing these two masks, we might not perceive it as disparate, however the similarity between what we might suggest it resembles to, can definitely confirm that they are the same due to our preconceived idea, furthermore through correlating the montage of cinema with the process of writing, we can easily assimilate this cinematic technique on the emphasis of rhythmic concept as a foundation to constructively plan and connect ideas into our writing.

I might relate to this by reading series of short stories by Raymond Carver, although I haven’t read much of his work to fully comprehend his style of writing, I could understand the subject matter because of the way he utilize the backdrop of the pacific northwest that are occupied by unfortunate working class citizens through series of small events and establishing into a long sequence of a novel. There are several stories by Carver I can recall that similarly have the same subject of discourse but quite different in terms of characters and circumstances, for example Carver’s theme on the loss of human decency during times of personal tragedy. Stories about a grieving mother who almost lost her children during a fire, went out of her way by yelling at the paramedic instead of keeping her composure. Another one is about a newly greeted neighbor who felt eager to meet the owners of the restaurant and was invited to their dinner party for a grand opening, but only having to be ignored at due to a refrigeration catastrophe. Both of these stories have different situations however they are identical because of its motif.

From writing series of short stories by having a strong connection to form a composition, Splicing between takes of short clips to make it appear seamless or sculpting an incongruous yet identical masks for the Japanese kabuki theatre.  Eisenstein’s view on montage can help strengthen our skills in writing, by having the keen perception on maintaining the coherence of the story regardless if the linearity of the text is distorted.

Nakayama Tomisaburo 

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • broncos007

    This must be really well written because I’m trying to skim through it, but I’m not really understanding. I was expecting some emphasis on collision but emphasizing you emphasized the masks and Japanese art.

    • Daniel Min

      The emphasis of collision is present through forming a sequence of ideas in our head, combining the subtle elements and understanding the similarity between distinct works of art by looking past the surface. I form this combined sequence through associating with my interpretation of Carver’s work and Eisenstein’s interpretation of the kabuki theatre masks.

      I hope that answers your question, because I wasn’t quite sure what you meant by “emphasizing how I emphasized the masks and Japanese art”

  • Tom Schalk

    Wow, this was very well written. I enjoyed the in depth analysis on how Japanese art helped influence cinematography in the modern era. Since I am very unfamiliar with Japanese history in general, so it’s hard for me to comment.

  • Kevin L. Ferguson

    I like that you point out the example of the masks–when we see these masks, we have to understand their purpose. The mask that’s not realistic-looking isn’t any less “good,” it’s just working by a different set of rules than the mask that is more “realistic.” Tomorrow, let’s talk more about what Eisenstein says about masks!

  • Eric Dorcean

    When i did the reading i was able to understand Eiesensteins use of Japanese caligraphy as an example of montage but i had difficulty in understanding his references to the masks so i really must thank you for your explanation.

  • Steven Rengifo

    I have to say…(drum roll please)… this is very nicely written. Now, I am not a pro a writing, but I have to say you can be very descriptive with words and thats very cool. I am glad that you analyzed the whole “masks” part of the essay in an easier way for hopefully most of us can understand. I do think “masks” have to be further analyzed in class because of how important they seem to be to the Japanese… so I can’t wait for that.

    • Daniel Min

      It took a while to write that particular paragraph, I still have trouble understanding about Eisenstein’s viewpoint of the matter with these masks however that is just my best explanation, I also can’t wait for tomorrow so we can understand the further analysis.

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