Week Three: Soviet Montage

Soviet montage is a type of film theory focused on understanding and creating cinema using specific film editing techniques. The theory was conceived in the Soviet Union during the 1920’s and was pioneered by such Soviet directors Alexander Dovzhenko, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov, and most famously, Sergei Eisenstein. Though many of these directors disagreed about montage, Eisenstein’s thinking was eventually viewed as “soviet montage.”

Pudovkin’s theory of montage focused not only on the juxtaposition of shots through editing, but also the comparison of objects in the mise-en-scène. Pudovkin saw actors more as objects on the screen rather than working actors. He also saw montage as the key to revealing the emotion of a scene, including the actors, by their relationship to other objects in the shot.

A major difference between Eisenstein and Pudovkin’s use of montage was Eisenstein’s insistence on conflict, where not only was there conflict occurring in the narrative, but even the editing would cut together conflicting shots, sometimes disrupting the flow of the story. Pudovkin did not share this view and often would not cut parts of his film to intentionally disrupt the narrative. His view of montage was to create a powerful emotion and he wished to build up that emotion with his narrative and editing.



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