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THE POWER OF MONTAGE# Film Style & Compostion

Once a director is competent with the basics of cinematography montage he or she will begin to create a personal style in the films they make. When you start going to see movies based on who the director is you will have been influenced by a certain kind of style, not Genre of Story because style transcends genre & story. You will have begun to deepen your appreciation for Montage. 

One of the more recent changes in the directors style has been the Pace at which the Montage is Edited. In general the pace has quickened dramatically. Whether its because its the rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in kids or because the faster pace of cutting and the amount of time kids watch tv has caused ADHD its hard to say. The fact is we can take in an incredible amount of information visually. From 1981 with the inception of  MTV  many directors have chosen a faster pace of cutting.

The other factor that may influence you to see a directors movie will be the Composition The way in which a shot is arranged, along with that what is called The Mise en Scene  which is what is in the shot.

Ok watch these examples of style in direction, pay attention to the pace of editing, the composition of the shot, the type of shot, the montage and the mise en scene. I am going to give you slow – quick – slow…

1. Director Stanley Kubrick  – a scene from Barry Lyndon 1975

Note: Dispenses with the need for dialogue, retains a voice over narrator.Slow measured edit pace to a classic ? (i will find out) Kubrick is a master of mise en scene, every shot in this movie is a painting. The eyes are the narrative here, if we allow ourselves this film will draw us slowly into the picture.


2. Director Michael Bay – a scene from Transformers 2007

Notes: Fast paced cutting, limited dialogue, rock music. Action driven.


3. Director Andrei Tarkovsky – a Montage from Stalker 1979

Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky slowed many directors down and show how with beautiful composition & lighting a mise en scene could be explored as a dream sequence.


4. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor – Crank 2006 trailer

One look at this trailer and you know what you are in for. Some very creative fast paced editing here.


5. Director Jim Jarmusch – Stranger than Paradise 1984

Unlike Tarkovsky’s dream reality montage, Jarmusch creates a hyper real world, with limited camera placements and slow cutting he was in direct contrast to the MTV approach.


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