montage as modernist form essay

montage as modernist form essay - Ananth Bulusu 10/24/2011...

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Ananth Bulusu 10/24/2011 Montage as Modernist Form Jean Toomer’s novel Cane , written during the time period known as the Harlem Renaissance in 1923 , is a novel constructed by a series of vignettes, which alternate between short stories and poetry . The different pieces are fragmented and discontinuous, yet many elements remain constant , creating a “textual montage” of sorts in the novel. Montage is a term used in film for a film editing technique in which a series of short shots are edited into a sequence to condense time and information . Through use of montage form , Toomer examines African-American life from varying points of view , creating vivid concepts of poverty and despair , which prove to be constant and destructive to black communities. The concept of montage arose from the modernist movement in the early 20 th century . Sergei Eisenstein , a filmmaker from Soviet Russia, was considered a pioneer of the montage film editing technique . Eisenstein developed what is today known as Soviet Montage Theory, which describes the way in which montage is constructed . Eisenstein describes montage as “an idea that arises from the collision of independent thoughts” (Wikipedia). However it is important to understand that the different elements of a montage are not lone-standing . On the contrary, each sequential element should be viewed as building upon the last . Eisenstein argues that within a montage , “representation A and representation B must be selected from all the possible features within the theme that is being developed , such that their juxtaposition should evoke in the
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perception and feelings of the spectator the most complete image of the theme itself” (Childs, 73 ). In other words, the very disjunction of the elements must create continuities. Eisenstein describes five methods of montage , which when used in an alternating manner, create a montage sequence . Each method has a certain inherent complexity; the more complex methods possess characteristics of the simpler methods , while the more simple methods are limited to the ideas which they can communicate . The idea of the different methods possessing qualities of each other further enforces the idea that sequential elements are meant to build upon each other . The five methods of Eisenstein’s montage were as listed: Metric , Rhythmic, Tonal, Associational, and Intellectual . The distinctions in complexity are based on time, volume, motion, mood, and the relation between methods . Montage, a new, innovative technique of the modernist movement , truly embodies the main concepts of modernist art. Modernist art stresses revision of traditional practices , which Eisenstein achieved in his films, and similarly Toomer achieves in his experimental novel Cane . Toomer creates a montage in
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2011 for the course SCHC 365t taught by Professor Ms.adams during the Fall '11 term at South Carolina.

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montage as modernist form essay - Ananth Bulusu 10/24/2011...

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