Reading Film (Fall 2011)

a qwriting blog for ENG 110

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Response to Eisenstein Essay

September 14th, 2011 by martinvukaj · 3 Comments · ¶4 Eisenstein

Throughout Eisenstein’s essay, one of the major aspects that grasped me was the his use of evidence supporting his arguments on montage. Eisenstein provides numerous examples, mostly deriving from Japanese culture to prove his point. I found the montage aspect he kept mentioning a rather long stretch from what it actually is and represents.

A standard definition of montage is combining small clips of film in order to show either time elapse, (Rocky III montage most famously) or used to present a main idea. Eisenstein argues that montage is made up of parts, his “collision” theory, that are thrown together, not at random, but when multiplied together represent a bigger idea. He says that “by the combination of two depictables is achieved the representation of something that is graphically undepictable.” He also goes on to give examples with words not related but thrown together to get a main point across. This “multiplying” of terms, he says, is montage.

I’d have to disagree with his opinion. Although I see his point, he is taking the word montage to a new level. Rather than trying to convey certain ideas put in order, Eisenstein says that the sequences in film don’t have to be linked and I would have to agree more with Pudovkin who finds that montage is more suited with linkage of similar events. Although I don’t agree with Eisenstein’s opinion, I do find his argument rather persuasive. Eisenstein compares his view of montage as a rather deep and intellectual process, sort of like reading Haiku poetry. Eisenstein says that the imperfections of haiku poetry makes it a perfection of art.

Eisenstein has turned the idea of montage into a highly debated and, in his view, a misunderstood art. His arguments rely on the idea that montage is better represented using his “collision” theory. That main ideas or points should be depicted with non similar shots or words, etc. Eisenstein has brought a new, high level of intellectual involvement in watching film and determining what is montage and what is not.


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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Natalie Bernabe

    I personally do agree with the fact that you disagree with’s Eisenstein’s opinion in his essay. Although he does prove a valid point. The fact that he states ‘montage is conflict’ does appeal to some. However, conflict and collision cannot always work in films. At some point it becomes too broken; it doesn’t seem well rounded, although it worked for “A Space Odyssy”. He is very persusive, yet his argument doesn’t really work with our generation, which in itself looks for a continuous motion of film.

  • Huy Le

    I dont know about you but while watching the Odessa experiment i was getting the feelings that Eisenstein wanted us to have. Its an interesting way to use Montage and to some very interesting.

  • martinvukaj

    Yes! i agree with you natalie. and Huy i understand what you mean with odessa, but i guess those are certain circumstances. In odessa i felt like i would still understand what was happening even if they werent clipped together using the montage in eisensteins mind.

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