Worksheet 3 - Worksheet three Montage is a French word...

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Worksheet three Montage is a French word literally meaning "to mount", "to assemble" with connotations related to industrial processes, to mechanics, to construction, to the factory. Montage in film essentially characterised the cinema soon after its ‘birth’, born in France in the mid- 1890s with the public projection of films in Paris by the brothers Lumi re as a means for the sale of their film camera, initially a device not only for ‘taking’, ‘recording’, ‘capturing’ movement, but processing the celluloid image, a camera and laboratory in a single device. The Lumi re images taken at a fixed distance and with a fixed camera of moving figures or objects (trains, for example, or carriages) were, because of that fixity, close to practices like theatre, pantomime and photography, that is to areas outside the ‘noble’ arts such as painting, sculpture, literature, especially poetry, and even music. Very soon, without compromising its ‘ignoble’ and ‘popular’ links, film began to experiment with the construction of scenes composed of different points of view, varied distance and subjects. This montage of differences, assembled together, presented two possibilities. One was to dismantle the fixed unified scene into fragments and then to reconstitute the scene with these fragments by editing together the different perspectives, frames, distances for emphasis and to serve dramatic and narrative ends, that is to say, construction in the service of continuity, sameness, accords and logic albeit by an initial effort at fragmentation of time and space. For the most part this narrative and naturalist impulse was advanced in the commercial dramatic scene, though not in comedies which were more free to experiment precisely because comedy is often founded on non-sense and illogic, evident in the films of Chaplin and Keaton, especially the latter. The other
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