Montage ( // ) is a film editing technique in which a series of short shots are sequenced to condense space, time, and information.
The term has been used in various contexts. In French the word "montage" applied to cinema simply denotes editing. In Soviet montage theory, as originally introduced outside the USSR by Sergei Eisenstein,it was used to create symbolism. Later, the term "montage sequence", used primarily by British and American studios, became the common technique to suggest the passage of time.
From the 1930s to the 1950s, montage sequences often combined numerous short shots with special optical effects (fades, dissolves, split screens, double and triple exposures) dance and music.
The word "montage" came to identify...specifically the rapid, shock cutting that Eisenstein employed in his films. Its use survives to this day in the specially created "montage sequences" inserted into Hollywood films to suggest, in a blur of double exposures, the rise to fame of an opera singer or, in brief model shots, the destruction of an airplane, a city or a planet.
Two common montage devices used are newsreels and railroads. In the first, as in Citizen Kane , there are multiple shots of newspapers being printed (multiple layered shots of papers moving between rollers, papers coming off the end of the press, a pressman looking at a paper) and headlines zooming on to the screen telling whatever needs to be told. In a typical railroad montage, the shots include engines racing toward the camera, giant engine wheels moving across the screen, and long trains racing past the camera as destination signs fill the screen.
"Scroll montage" is a form of multiple-screen montage developed specifically for the moving image in an internet browser. It plays with Italian theatre director Eugenio Barba's "space river" montage in which the spectators' attention is said to "[sail] on a tide of actions which their gaze [can never] fully encompass"."Scroll montage" is usually used in online audio-visual works in which sound and the moving image are separated and can exist autonomously: audio in these works is usually streamed on internet radio and video is posted on a separate site.
Film critic Ezra Goodman discusses the contributions of Slavko Vorkapić, who worked at MGM and was the best-known montage specialist of the 1930s:
He devised vivid montages for numerous pictures, mainly to get a point across economically or to bridge a time lapse. In a matter of moments, with images cascading across the screen, he was able to show Jeanette MacDonald's rise to fame as an opera star in Maytime (1937), the outbreak of the revolution in Viva Villa (1934), the famine and exodus in The Good Earth (1937), and the plague in Romeo and Juliet (1936).
From 1933 to 1942, Don Siegel, later a noted feature film director, was the head of the montage department at Warner Brothers. He did montage sequences for hundreds of features, including Confessions of a Nazi Spy ; Knute Rockne, All American ; Blues in the Night ; Yankee Doodle Dandy ; Casablanca ; Action in the North Atlantic ; Gentleman Jim ; and They Drive By Night .
Siegel told Peter Bogdanovich how his montages differed from the usual ones:
Montages were done then as they're done now, oddly enough—very sloppily. The director casually shoots a few shots that he presumes will be used in the montage and the cutter grabs a few stock shots and walks down with them to the man who's operating the optical printer and tells him to make some sort of mishmash out of it. He does, and that's what's labeled montage.
In contrast, Siegel would read the motion picture's script to find out the story and action, then take the script's one line description of the montage and write his own five page script. The directors and the studio bosses left him alone because no one could figure out what he was doing. Left alone with his own crew, he constantly experimented to find out what he could do. He also tried to make the montage match the director's style, dull for a dull director, exciting for an exciting director.
Of course, it was a most marvelous way to learn about films, because I made endless mistakes just experimenting with no supervision. The result was that a great many of the montages were enormously effective.
Siegel selected the montages he did for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), and Confessions of a Nazi Spy, as especially good ones. "I thought the montages were absolutely extraordinary in 'The Adventures of Mark Twain'—not a particularly good picture, by the way."
The sports training montage is a standard explanatory montage. It originated in American cinema but has since spread to modern martial arts films from East Asia. Originally depicting a character engaging in physical or sports training, the form has been extended to other activities or themes.
The standard elements of a sports training montage include a build-up where the potential sports hero confronts his failure to train adequately. The solution is a serious, individual training regimen. The individual is shown engaging in physical training through a series of short, cut sequences. An inspirational song (often fast-paced rock music) typically provides the only sound. At the end of the montage several weeks have elapsed in the course of just a few minutes and the hero is now prepared for the big competition. One of the best-known examples is the training sequence in the 1976 movie Rocky , which culminates in Rocky's run up the Rocky Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The simplicity of the technique and its over-use in American film vocabulary has led to its status as a film cliché. A notable parody of the sports training montage appears in the South Park episode, "Asspen". When Stan Marsh must become an expert skier quickly, he begins training in a montage where the inspirational song explicitly spells out the techniques and requirements of a successful sports training montage sequence as they occur on screen. It was also spoofed in Team America: World Police in a similar sequence.
The music in these training montage scenes has garnered a cult following, with such artists as Robert Tepper, Stan Bush and Survivor appearing on several '80s soundtracks. Songs like Frank Stallone's "Far from Over," and John Farnham's "Break the Ice" are examples of high-energy rock songs that typify the music that appeared during montages in '80s action films.
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced and directed by Orson Welles, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Herman J. Mankiewicz. The picture was Welles's first feature film. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane was voted number 1 in five consecutive British Film Institute Sight & Sound polls of critics, and it topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. Nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories, it won an Academy Award for Best Writing by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Citizen Kane is particularly praised for Gregg Toland's cinematography, Robert Wise's editing, Bernard Herrmann's music, and its narrative structure, all of which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting.
Film editing is both a creative and a technical part of the post-production process of filmmaking. The term is derived from the traditional process of working with film which increasingly involves the use of digital technology.
Marxist film theory is one of the oldest forms of film theory.
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was a Soviet film director and film theorist, a pioneer in the theory and practice of montage. He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1928), as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible. In its 2012 decennial poll, the magazine Sight & Sound named his Battleship Potemkin the 11th greatest film of all time.
Donald Siegel was an American film and television director and producer.
Greed is a 1924 American silent drama film written and directed by Erich von Stroheim and based on the 1899 Frank Norris novel McTeague. It stars Gibson Gowland as Dr. John McTeague, ZaSu Pitts as Trina Sieppe, his wife, and Jean Hersholt as McTeague's friend and eventual enemy Marcus Schouler. The film tells the story of McTeague, a San Francisco dentist, who marries his best friend Schouler's girlfriend Trina.
The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American coming-of-age drama film directed and co-written by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from the semi-autobiographical 1966 novel The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry. The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, and Cybill Shepherd. Set in a small town in north Texas from November 1951 to October 1952, it is a story of two high-school seniors and long-time friends, Sonny Crawford (Bottoms) and Duane Jackson (Bridges).
Battleship Potemkin, sometimes rendered as Battleship Potyomkin, is a 1925 Soviet silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm. It presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against its officers.
Fast cutting is a film editing technique which refers to several consecutive shots of a brief duration. It can be used to quickly convey much information, or to imply either energy or chaos. Fast cutting is also frequently used when shooting dialogue between two or more characters, changing the viewer's perspective to either focus on the reaction of another character's dialog, or to bring to attention the non-verbal actions of the speaking character.
A jump cut is a cut in film editing in which a single continuous sequential shot of a subject is broken into two parts, with a piece of footage being removed in order to render the effect of jumping forward in time. Camera positions of the subject in the remaining pieces of footage of the sequence should vary only slightly in order to achieve the effect. It is a manipulation of temporal space using the duration of a single shot, and fracturing the duration to move the audience ahead. This kind of cut abruptly communicates the passing of time as opposed to the more seamless dissolve heavily used in films predating Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless, which made extensive use of jump cuts and popularized the technique during the 1960s. For this reason, jump cuts are considered a violation of classical continuity editing, which aims to give the appearance of continuous time and space in the story-world by de-emphasizing editing, but are sometimes nonetheless used for creative purposes. Jump cuts tend to draw attention to the constructed nature of the film. More than one jump cut is sometimes used in a single sequence.
A film transition is a technique used in the post-production process of film editing and video editing by which scenes or shots are combined. Most commonly this is through a normal cut to the next shot. Most films will also include selective use of other transitions, usually to convey a tone or mood, suggest the passage of time, or separate parts of the story. These other transitions may include dissolves, L cuts, fades, match cuts, and wipes.
Continuity editing is the process, in film and video creation, of combining more-or-less related shots, or different components cut from a single shot, into a sequence to direct the viewer's attention to a pre-existing consistency of story across both time and physical location. Often used in feature films, continuity editing, or "cutting to continuity", can be contrasted with approaches such as montage, with which the editor aims to generate, in the mind of the viewer, new associations among the various shots that can then be of entirely different subjects, or at least of subjects less closely related than would be required for the continuity approach.
The Kuleshov effect is a film editing (montage) effect demonstrated by Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in the 1910s and 1920s. It is a mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation.
This article contains a list of cinematic techniques that are divided into categories and briefly described.
The Other Side of the Wind is an American-French experimental film directed, co-written, co-produced and co-edited by Orson Welles, released in 2018 after more than forty years in development. The film stars John Huston, Bob Random, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg and Oja Kodar. Shooting began in 1970 for what Welles intended to be his Hollywood comeback, and resumed on-and-off until 1976. Welles continued to intermittently work on the project into the 1980s, but it became embroiled in legal, financial, and political complications which prevented it from being completed.
Soviet montage theory is an approach to understanding and creating cinema that relies heavily upon editing. It is the principal contribution of Soviet film theorists to global cinema, and brought formalism to bear on filmmaking.
Blind Husbands is a 1919 American drama film directed by Erich von Stroheim. The film is an adaptation of the story The Pinnacle by Stroheim.
A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These images are generally accompanied by sound, and more rarely, other sensory stimulations. The word "cinema", short for cinematography, is often used to refer to filmmaking and the film industry, and to the art form that is the result of it.
Articles related to the field of motion pictures include:
Lou Lombardo was an American filmmaker whose editing of the 1969 film The Wild Bunch has been called "seminal". In all, Lombardo is credited on more than twenty-five feature films. Noted mainly for his work as a film and television editor, he also worked as a cameraman, director, and producer. In his obituary, Stephen Prince wrote, "Lou Lombardo's seminal contribution to the history of editing is his work on The Wild Bunch (1969), directed by Sam Peckinpah. The complex montages of violence that Lombardo created for that film influenced generations of filmmakers and established the modern cinematic textbook for editing violent gun battles." Several critics have remarked on the "strange, elastic quality" of time in the film, and have discerned the film's influence in the work of directors John Woo, Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, and the Wachowskis, among others. While Lombardo's collaboration with Peckinpah lasted just a few years, his career was intertwined with that of director Robert Altman for more than thirty years. Lombardo edited Altman's 1971 film McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), which had "a radical approach to the use of dialogue and indeed other sound, both in and beyond the frame." Towards the end of his career Lombardo edited Moonstruck (1987) and two other films directed by Norman Jewison. While his editing is now considered "revolutionary" and "brilliant", Lombardo was never nominated for editing awards during his career.