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August 1995, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 22 Aug 1995 11:21:28 EDT
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On Mon, 21 Aug 1995 10:46:04 -0400 Mike Frank said:
>The following is a call for papers for a special session at the MLA
>convention in December of 1996.
>        Conventional histories of cinema take as central a distinction seen
>as going back to Lumiere and Melies, the distinction between cinema as a
>document of the "real" and cinema as an artifice of images.  In this history
>the two archetypal--if not seminal--figures are Bazin and Eisenstein, and the
>touchstone issue is the nature and purpose of montage.
>        But whatever claims earlier arguements about montage may have, recent
>developments in the actual practice of film require a rethinking of this
>touchstone issue. Recent mainstream [Holywood] cinema--perhaps under the
>influence of MTV--has either deviated from or reconfigured the invisible
>editing of the classical system of continuity.
It's been a long while since I read Bazin, Eisenstein, and Pudovkin but
memory has it that Pudovkin describes what has come to be called
"classical cinema."  The technique is one that is suited to an industrial
style of film production where different specialists write, direct, and
edit films -- all under the supervision of a manager, i.e., producer.
My memory further is that Eisenstein's writings can be readily analyzed
to encompass the mtv style.
One example (still from memory):
Eisenstein's description (and practice) of the steps sequence of POTEMKIN
includes (horrors!) jump cuts.  See particularly the scenes of the woman
whose eyeglasses are broken.  There is a direct cut between the woman
with intact glasses followed directly by a closely similar shot of the
woman with her glasses broken and blood streaming down her face.
Others have examined numerous versions of this sequence in libraries
around the world.  Regardless of whatever other discrepencies exist,
this jump cut appears in all versions.
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