Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Kuleshov Effect...

As a deep believer in so-called "cinema pur" I am also fascinated by the Kuleshov effect, an intrinsic aspect of film editing that the earliest filmakers were quick to observe. And because I'm very tired this evening, I'll let Wikipedia do the driving:

Lev Kuleshov edited together a short film in which a shot of the expressionless face of Tsarist matinee idol Ivan Mozzhukhin was alternated with various other shots (a plate of soup, a girl, a little girl's coffin). The film was shown to an audience who believed that the expression on Mozzhukhin's face was different each time he appeared, depending on whether he was "looking at" the plate of soup, the girl, or the coffin, showing an expression of hunger, desire or grief respectively. Actually the footage of Mozzhukhin was the same shot repeated over and over again. Audiences raved about the acting.... the heavy pensiveness of his mood over the forgotten soup, were touched and moved by the deep sorrow with which he looked on the dead child, and noted the lust with which he observed the woman. But in all three cases the face was exactly the same.

It's a profound testament to the power of faces. To which I'll add, I've noticed the Kuleshov effect in life too. I've projected great sensitivity and wisdom on to the mugs of everyone from my president to my cat when they're really just sitting there doing nothing.


Blogger Babycakes said...

I like that bench!

7:33 AM  

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