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Glossary

FILMMAKING TERMS


Term: Montage

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Montage is French for “putting together”. In general, three different definitions are associated with this term: 

(1) A series of brief shots, mainly used to suggest the passing of time or the occurrence of different events. Montage sequences of this type often make use of dissolves and superimpositions as transitions. 

(2) A theory and associated style and a theory of editing developed by Soviet filmmakers (particularly Sergei Eisenstein) in the 1920s. Among other things, the theory states that “each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other”, thus expressing the idea that meaning accumulates. In keeping with this, this kind of editing juxtaposes shots to create symbolic meaning and to build up dramatic tension. In contrast to the style of montage found in the classical Hollywood continuity system, however, Soviet montage is not concerned with creating comprehensible spatial or temporal continuity. 

(3) In European cinema, montage is a far more general term and simply means the art of editing.

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