Category Archives: Montage

BLACKOUT- S2G2: Montage


Through the use of montage style editing, Blackout tells the story of a night gone horribly wrong and the repercussions the night had on those involved. Montage allows us to simultaneously communicate two stories, intertwined by crosscuts, intercuts, flashbacks, and the like. The rapid succession of cross cuts and intercuts enhances the element of mystery inherent in our story.  The premise of revelation is reflected by the disorienting affect that montage establishes.  As individual clips are sewn together into a continuous story via audio transitions and filter effects, the audience, along with the characters, slowly piece together their night. Their confusion is paralleled and dramatically enhanced by the discontinuity that is montage.

To further distinguish the disjuncture in time that takes place between the two stories; a wide range of editing techniques and filters allow us to transform the mise en scene of a flashback. Rendering a shot to look more granular and blurry shot evokes the hazy perspective of the characters as they recall, bit by bit, what happened the night before. To establish continuity between the two stories, we used multiple examples of match-on-action cuts to strengthen the correlation between the two scenes. Recall when Jake first realizes the blood on the wall, the audience is thrown into an astounding flashback that ends in beautiful symmetry as he smears the blood in the first place. This climatic revelation is amplified as the audience is simultaneously connecting the dots with the main characters.

When dealing with A+B=C, every scene is important. The impact of the film hangs on the subtle or blunt style of montage editing. The power of montage cannot be overstated as one of the most crucial weapons in any directors arsenal. Only through this style could we intricately weave together the key elements of a multi-layered story.  The ability to create a new meaning out of two different scenes is vital to a complex film. Take, for example when Jake touches his eye in the bathroom, and a brief flashback reveals a glimpse of the nights previous events. A long take would lead the audience down a straight and narrow storyline, whilst montage creates the vital elements of mystery and tension. Clearly montage is pivotal to the engagement of the audience and critical to the evolution of film itself.


Food for Thought

Food For Thought – a montage of the intersection between academia and cupcake dream-world – reveals the colorful, imaginative place that exists within a student’s thoughts.  In playing with the compilation of shots set within a seemingly mundane, austere white room – a markedly concrete physical place – the mise en scene highlights the distinct spontaneity in one’s mind – a more abstract, uninhibited place. In this way, Food for Thought illustrates the wandering thoughts and imagination that overlap with the more structured process of studying economics models.  The cupcake’s characterized performance in the montage, developed through point of view shots that suggest its opposition to the student at the climax of the film, offers a sense of theatricality and whimsicality in the cinematography.
The power of the montage in craft and structure compliments the film’s thematic agenda – to question and stretch the audience’s ideas through disjunctive and cumulative comparison. Temporally, the narrative follows a linear trajectory, in which the story develops collectively from beginning to end.  The music takes the audience on a journey parallel to the student’s metamorphosis, evolving from a meditative classical piece, to a questioning drum beat and finally resolving with a whimsy jazz tune.  The editing, in contrast, is often disjunctive.  The narrow shots of the face-off between mouth and eyes and cupcake appear at odds with the longer takes of the student studying in the book-end shots of the film.  This disjuncture in the montage supports its objective to distinguish distinctly fun playful thought from bland academic study, while uniting them in one place and time within the student’s mind.


made by Brittany Thomas, Maddie Joyce and Miriam Nielsen

Eye of the Tiger Group 3 Montage

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Group Members: Jack Clancy, AJ Guff, Flo El Kumeshi, Caroline Kahlenberg, Tara Quinn.


The objective of our montage is to parody the way the term montage has come to be understood in Hollywood and the overall American film industry. We want our montage to address how this can be done successfully.

Through our readings on the theories of Pudovkin and Eisenstein in combination with our class understanding of montage, we have extrapolated Eisenstein’s formula with a twist. We employ the equation A+B=C as a means of colliding two disjunctive events to create meaning rather than narrowing in on the collision of two disjunctive shots. Given this variation of Eisenstein’s theory in conjunction with our storyline—in which two male athletes undergo intense training to open jars of peanut butter and jelly—we have constructed our own equation: Event A (training) + Event B (opening peanut butter and jelly jars) = C (parody).

In addition, we choose to convey the narrative without dialogue, but rather with music. We feel that the most effective means of communicating the narrative is contingent on the actions and expressions of the characters. Thus, playing “Eye of the Tiger” in correspondence with two athletes training guides the viewer to focus on the athletes’ actions and facial expressions. We further emphasize a viewer’s focus on the imagery through a synthesis of a series of short shots and close-up shots. Through this, we hope to overdramatize the characters’ actions, intensify their facial expressions, and capture their emotions.

We firmly believe that montage is the most effective vehicle for dramatizing and parodying film and that the long take would not have expressed our storyline properly. As mentioned above, the multitude of shots utilized in montage dramatizes characters’ actions and further constructs anticipation of what is to happen next in a scene. As a result, a series of multiple shots enables the viewer to invest his or herself in the scene and dedicate his or herself to the characters on screen. For example, the intercutting of short shots within the temporal ellipsis—which we include twice in our video—not only provides the viewer with a sense of time, but further causes the viewer to think about how the images relate to each other over time. The long take would have taken away from constructing a sense of time for the viewer and his or her anticipation of what is going to happen next.

Hangover (Montage – S2G3)

3:00 cut:


3:49 cut:


Group members: Todd Bratches, Kiara Cobb, James McMillan


To view Hangover in optimum quality, please follow the link below:

Hangover – HD



In our film Hangover, we utilized the film editing technique of montage to juxtapose present day experience with flashbacks, in order to create a suspenseful and thought-provoking film that reflects the intricate links made in the human mind. The focus of our film is the main character, who must reconstruct his memories of the night before.  Waking up in the morning, he has no recollection of what occurred, but is slowly reminded through his actions. The film never explicitly determines what is real or imagined, and what is current or past. Montage is a form of editing that allows for seemingly organic representations of the fantastical, or on the other end of the spectrum, a representation of the human mind.

One of the most important aspects of our film is the confusion created from the flow of real time and flashbacks that hangs between the ordinary and illusion.  The audience is not sure whether the screen portrays a diegetically true or imagined sequence of events—much like the main character who cannot fully remember or understand the consequences of his actions the night before. Like the audience, Todd will not discover Kiara’s suicide until the end of the movie, if he or we realize it even then. The jarring absence of a sequentially comprehensive timeline is only possible through montage, because long takes are limited to showing real actions happening in real time.

Not only can time and place be changed onscreen in montage, but these changes can be made to physically represent the human mind—something that is difficult to explicitly show through long shots (it is mainly portrayed through acting, not editing). Our film was almost entirely based off of memories in Todd’s mind.  For example, the scene when Todd walks down the hallway that is switches back and forth from morning to evening shows the parallel in his actions, but with the ending of the movie, is more of a contrast; this is a juxtaposition that can only be accomplished through several cuts.

In addition to evident qualities that come with montage editing—building suspense, including a wider diegetic world etc.—there is the more subtle demand from the director for the audience to think about the specific cuts that are made. In a long take, the viewers must try and understand what happened before the scene, or what will happen as a result of a scene. With montage, all of that is shown on screen, and so we must try and understand why the director, or why the human mind, chooses to juxtapose certain memories or thoughts. In this way, montage editing goes one layer deeper in the cinematographic representation of the mind than long shot, and demands more thought and analysis from us as viewers.


Mary’s Cemetery: Group 1 Montage – Cagan/Carina/JP/Stephanie

Our group decided to take advantage of the possibilities of montage to create a film that explores the viewer’s perceptions of characters through different shots to create a murder mystery. We strived to create meaning in the same manner that Eisenstein suggests: through the use of opposing shots that contrast one another and create meaning. As a group we decided to shoot a murder mystery because it would best showcase the power of the montage to create suspense and engage the viewer. The quick shots in the film combined with the two different songs help create the ambience of the film.
In the beginning of the movie, the viewer sees shots of JP that are sandwiched by black screens that establish the intense, dark, and mysterious element of the movie. In this part of the film the quick shots of both JP and the cemetery help develop the idea that something is not completely right in this scene. The music, “Requiem for a Dream,” adds to the intensity as well as the impact of montage in this scene. The music gives the viewer a sense that something important or powerful is occurring during this sequence and gives the quick shots more power.
In contrast to the bold, heavy beginning of the film, the next sequence of the film is characterized by an eerily happy and normal sequence of clips. The transition from the opening sequence to the shots of three normal college students waking up to their alarms is a bit disjunctive, but serves to suggest to the viewer that these two occurrences are somehow related. In the beginning of the “routine sequence” of the film the viewer sees a quick cut of a knife which is an effective use of montage to continue the suspense of the film as well as a reference back to the earlier, more serous part of the movie.
Another way in which we used montage to manifest our ideas and contribute to our movie effectively was in the knife sequences with the characters cutting the food. These shots are a bit of a nod to the television show Dexter’s opening credit sequence, and also serve to unite the two parts of the film. The text on the screen also helped us to use montage to our advantage as well as to add some non-diegetic information to the plot of the film.
Overall, montage proved to be a challenging form of film that really is contingent upon effective editing and shot-making. The montage helped to further our story and create the kind of mystery and suspense needed to create an effective murder mystery.