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Vertov and Eisenstein

Essay by review  •  February 4, 2011  •  Essay  •  788 Words (4 Pages)  •  570 Views

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Vertov and Eisenstein are each convinced that their own vision of cinema is correct. Both are extremists in their own ways. How do their visions differ? What do they have in common? How are both of their visions of cinema "revolutionary?"

Soviet cinema has a significant contribution to the world’s film history. The years after the October Revolution in 1917 bring many economic difficulties and political changes to the newly formed USSR, which also affected film production. The nationalization of the film industry, Kuleshov experiments, and the support from the government mark some of the most important phases that influenced the progress and development of the Soviet film. Even though used as medium of propaganda, the cinema popularity was undeniable and influenced the creation of the new montage editing style. Montage style prompted the creativity and imagination of new young new authors amongst which were Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov.

The inspiration of the propaganda affected both authors’ works in different ways вЂ" one through the means of drama and suspense, the other вЂ" through presenting the beauty of every day life. Both express their individual vision in revolutionary ways that demonstrate new, original approaches of cinema. Even though the common concept of communism lead them as the purpose of their films, the system of filming and using innovative techniques, defined their own revolutionary style.

Eisenstein’s films bring social conflict, especially the conflict between the classes. He introduces his unique style reproducing the historical events of the October Revolution and the opposition of the people against the Czarism. The revolution is represented through graphic and rhythmic editing to reach the viewers with dynamic and dramatic affection. For Eisenstein combination of two different shots is used to create a new emotional whole and the editing was the most powerful tool he used in every film to recreate the striking events in Russia. Eisenstein presents the scenes from different points of view breaking the 180 degrees rule using the principle of conflict in montage, the juxtaposition of images of innocence against images of violence (the individualized images of people against the mass of the soldiers in Battleship Potemkin), the cross-cut editing used as a metaphor in the final scene of Strike! to dramatize the people’s massacre through the symbolized slaughter of the bull. The jump-cuts and non-diegetic inserts, the use of graphic patterns of lines and shadows, the contrasts between long shots of the enemy and close-ups of citizens, contrasts between shots from different perspective of the regular people and the Bolsheviks are some other of the non-traditional and signature characteristics of Eisenstein’s films. Presented from citizens point of view editing achieves sympathy and compassion at the audience accepting the Revolution as their own point of view of the historical event. The montage of unique rhythm and graphic elements creates a wholeness of the film structure and defines the specific style



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