“Montage is an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots” (Sergei Eisenstein)
In pre-revolutionary Russia 90 per cent of the nation’s films were imported from elsewhere around the world. With the exception of a minor number, the vast majority of films created in Russia during this time were considered mediocre. Between the years 1914 to 1916 the figure for imported films dropped to 20 per cent. An explosion of creative and artistic talent seemed to burst out of Russia from then until the 1930’s and the reign of Stalin.
In the year 1917 film censorship was abolished. Because of this, people like Eisenstein, Vertov, Dovzhenko and Pudovkin were allowed to flourish. These men had benefited from the State Film School which was established in 1919 by Narkompros. This freeing of the restraints on film allowed people like Eisenstein to analyse film in a scientific and psychological manner, despite the medium being only a few decades old and still in its extreme infancy, and use his conclusions to his advantage in films like Strike (1925) and his most famous film Battleship Potemkin (1926).
Many experiments in montage were done by Eisenstein in his films to understand how the effects of editing affected the human mind such as in Strike(1925) when the viewer sees a bull getting his throat slashed before seeing revolutionaries being slaughtered. This was to show how the state treats people the same way as peasants treat cattle and is a great example of intellectual montage.
Furthermore, Eisenstein also attempted to understand editing through his theory of montage which states that when pairing one image (Thesis) with another opposing image (Antithesis) a synthesis is formed (a synthetic idea or impression). This synthesis image then becomes the thesis image and the...