Saturday, November 26, 2011

Eisenstein + More thoughts on Intellectual Montage

I really enjoyed Eisenstein's call for a new look at montage and film analysis. What particularly  jumped out at me was the way in which Eisenstein reinforces his belief in the massive potential cinema has to offer as an artistic medium. 

In terms of a  dialectic approach, it is important that Eisenstein notes that all forms of art involve an incongruence. In other words they involve some kind of collision of thoughts or images that then produce a new meaning that is created by the observer. One of my favorite examples was the way in which Eisenstein explains how this process is seen in painting.

"What comprises the dynamic effect of a painting? The eye follows the direction of an element in the painting. It retains a visual impression, which then collides with the impression derived from following the direction of a second element. The conflict of these directions forms the dynamic effect in apprehending the whole."

Even in painting Eisenstein suggests that there in additive process taking palace, that once one line is observed, and the next line that the eye meets deviates from that form, an abstract concept or expression in created. What I think Einstein is saying about film is that not only is montage constructed out if the process (A+B=C), but that in other mediums this process is somewhat of a closed system. There is only so much an artist can achieve on one canvas.Film, on the other hand, has multiple convergences happening, on both concrete, straight forward levels and abstract levels in the "higher nerve systems of the thought apparatus"

While I am still trying to have a better understanding on what Einstein is suggesting about what intellectual montage is. My view on it so far is this:

If tonal and over-tonal montage are ways in which ideas and moods are created, they are simply being brought into awareness. They are the abstract synthesis of ideas, moods, and tones etc.  I think a possible way to view intellectual montage as the synthesis of a thesis. Now that we have these concepts, how do we arrange them to make a statement? What is the take home message? Can the observer connect these themes and construct a statement based on the the sociopolitical nature of their time as well as their specific status in life? Perhaps tonal and over-tonal montage are raising certain questions while intellectual montage, taking place in the mind of the observer, is the process of answering them.

-Joe Violette

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