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Montage as a means of Story telling


April 29, 2022 by mcclainwa

Older definitions of montage in the Soviet era center around the combination of scenes when taken out of context seem entirely unrelated. When multiple scenes are juxtaposed together and parts of each are removed the audience must draw their own conclusion about the story. In this scene from Strike we see two very distinct scenes. The first is the factory workers being massacred and the second is a cow being slaughtered. Though the two scenes are distinct they are similar in theme, violence. This theme is what brings the two pieces together for the audience. A conclusion can be drawn when viewing the two pieces together even though parts from each are missing.

Eisenstein uses the blood of the cow to signify the blood of the factory workers; he uses the cow’s death to signify their death. Separately these two scenes lack context, they lack depth. Together they are a cohesive story. 

The following scene in Branwen Okpako’s film, The Education of Auma Obama is exemplary of this newer form of montage. When speaking of her life in German Auma Obama mentions a German cultural studies course she takes while in Germany the scene immediately jumps to the exact professor explaining the course. By placing these scenes together the audience is able to form a more cohesive story on their own about Auma Obama and her experience with this German professor.

Montage can be used effectively to take two very separate and distinct scenes to make a single story or take two or more scenes with a very strong message or theme and drive an audience towards a desired conclusion.

(The video was age restricted due to graphic content from Strike, apologies)


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