Montage and Narrative References

1.  Sergei Eisenstein

[Montage Theory]

‘Alexander Nevsky’ + ‘Battleship Potemkin’

The concept of montage is defined by the action of fragmenting reality and then reassembling it under the principle of a conflictive order. By juxtaposing two contrasting, disjointed elements a new meaning is created, something that transcends them both and the reality from which they arise.

2. Dziga Vertov

[Man with a Movie Camera]

The camera becomes and extension of the human body which orders chaos in a coherent sequence of images. Convinced that Marxism was the ideal scientific tool of analysis, perfecting vision implied the shift form a subjective to an objective deciphering of the world.

3. Lev Kuleshov

[The Kuleshov Effect]

Technique which demonstrates the inherent power of montage as a primary tool in the manipulation of the viewer’s perception. According to Kuleshov, cinema consists of fragments and it is their combination rather than their content that is essential in evoking and triggering different emotions. His original experiment consists of using the same shot of the character’s face, frozen in a neutral emotion while editing it next to different objects he appears to be glancing at: a girl in a coffin, a bowl of soup, and a woman. The audience interpreted the three situations as expressions of sadness, hunger and lust.

4. Gordon Cullen

[Serial Vision]

Described as the pedestrian experience of the urban space, which can be recorded sequentially by means of drawings, diagrams and photographs. Each movement along the path unravels different views which add to the sense of anticipation and drama.

5.  Bernard Tschumi

[The Manhattan Transcripts]

‘The Transcripts are about a set of disjunctions among use, form and social values. The non-coincidence between meaning and being, movement and space, man and object is the starting condition of the work. Yet the inevitable confrontation of these terms produces effects of far-ranging consequence. Ultimately, the Transcripts try to offer a different reading of architecture, in which space, movement and events are independent, yet stand in a new relationship to one another, so that the conventional components of architecture are broken down and rebuilt along different axes.’

Metropolis – restructured and restored

As part of the ‘Future Everything‘  festival, Dieter Moebius performed a live, improvised score for Fritz Lang’s masterpiece – Metropolis at St Philip’s Church in Salford. The night started with Polinski‘s A/V  stunning debut as an explosion of graphics and sound that set the tone for the rest of the evening.

‘Maria: There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.’


Today I stumbled upon the fantastic new concept called  ‘moviebarcode‘. The technique is relatively straightforward and embodies the compression of the scenes in a film into one single image. This is a great way to catch the ambiance and chromatic palette of a film but also the ‘pulse’ of its montage technique.

I decided to give it a try – below are a couple of examples (no ‘smooth’ finish applied):

The Fall(2006)


Amintiri din Epoca de Aur(2009)

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (2007)

Films List

These are some of the main titles I have been looking at including as part of my research stage. Since I am particularly interested in using the technique of montage as an applied methodology to the urban context, Sergei Eisenstein’s film are an essential stepping stone in getting acquainted with the basic strategies. Some of the titles are great references to the historical implications and ambiance of the communist era while others wrap it in a fantasy – like decor, allowing its theoretical ramifications and consequences to subtly emerge.


  •          The Paper Will Be Blue (2006)
  •          The Way I Spent the End of the World (2006)
  •          Marilena from P7 (2006)
  •          CaliforniaDreamin’ (2007)
  •          The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
  •          12:08 East ofBucharest (2006)
  •           Liviu’s Dream  (2006)
  •           A Trip to the City (2003)
  •           4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (2007)
  •           Arhitectura si Puterea (1993)
  •           Amintiri din epoca de aur (2009)


  •           Nostalghia (1983)
  •           The Fall (2006)
  •           The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
  •           Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920)
  •           Alphaville (1965)
  •           Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  •           October 1917 (1928)
  •           La commune (2000)
  •           Un chien andalou (1929)
  •           L’Âge d’or (1930)
  •           Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  •           Metropolis (1927)
  •           Che (2008)
  •           Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)
  •           Citizen X (1995)
  •           Nadie escuchaba (1987)
  •           City Of God(2002)
  •           Blade Runner (1982)
  •           Aelita – Queen of Mars (1924)
  •           Sleeper (1973)
  •           Just Imagine (1930)
  •           Playtime: Jacques Tati (1953)
  •           2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  •           Solaris (1979)
  •           L’etoile de mer (1928)

Film-making workshop

Yesterday I attended my first film-making workshop – a fantastic introduction into the world of cinema in terms of theory and practice. The next sessions will focus on the techniques of writing, filming and editing and will culminate with the completion of our own film project.

Since I am particularly interested in the technique of montage, a few more titles were suggested to my current list:

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

M (1931)

Psycho (1960)

Run Lola Run (1998)

Touch of Evil (1955)

Let the fun begin!