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February 1994


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louis schwartz <[log in to unmask]>
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louis schwartz <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 1 Feb 1994 15:01:17 -0600
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On Tue, 1 Feb 1994, Bruce Hutchinson wrote:
> Overtonal, though a complex idea in my mind, might also be
> found in present films.  As I understand it, this type of
> montage is similar to a lietmotif (sp?).  Therefore a film
> like Blade Runner, with its various shots of the orgami
> figures, might be using overtonal montage.
> If anyone has other ideas on what Eisenstien had in mind with
> Overtonal montage I would be interested in hearing about it.
Here's a little something that might be helpful from pp. 220-221 of E.'s
Nonindifferent Nature. The example here is the dawn scene at the port in
*The *Odessa Mist* is like a connecting link between pure painting and the
audiovisual combinations of the new cinematography. The suite of the mist
is still painting, but a distinct type of painting that through montage
already perceives the rhythm of the change of real spans of time and the
tangible sequence of repetitions in time, that is the elements of what in
pure form is available only to music.
 This is a type of *postpainting* passing into a distinctive type of
*premusic (protomusic)*.
This suggests that overtonal montage is an orchestration of these spans of
time so that they affect the body and the mind through the relations
between the secondary attractions in each shot. In *Methods of Montage*
from *The Film Form* E. defines overtonal montage as the form of montage
that pushes cinema beyond the pictorial into the psychological by way of
the body. One of the claims of the passage I've cited above is that the
scene from Potempkin is from a moment of E's development just prior to the
emergence of overtonal montage in his work.
So I think that overtonal montage is not the mere presence of a lietmotif,
but also the composition of its temporalities.