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Importance Of Kuleshov Effect Example In Film Industry


The Kuleshov Effect example is a video editing effect created by Lev Kuleshov, a Soviet director. It is a psychological phenomenon in which the viewer takes more meaning from the interplay of two back-to-back shots than from a single picture alone. It is a psychological phenomenon in which viewers extract more meaning from the interplay of two consecutive photos than from a single shot alone. Psychologists have investigated the impact, and it is well-known among contemporary filmmakers. In his interactions with François Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock mentions the effect, using actor James Stewart as an example. Hitchcock is squinting in the first version of the model, and the viewer sees a film of a mother holding a baby. The camera then returns to Hitchcock's face, which is now smiling. In essence, he is a kind elderly guy. In the second scenario, Hitchcock argues that the wife and infant are replaced with a woman in a bikini: "What exactly is he now? He's an unclean old guy."

Kuleshov established the importance of montage as a fundamental technique in filmmaking. According to Kuleshov, cinema consists of pieces and the assembly of those fragments, assembling parts that are unique in reality. It is not the substance of the pictures in a film that matters, but their arrangement. The basic materials of such an art piece do not have to be unique, but maybe prefabricated parts that the artist can deconstruct and reassemble into new juxtapositions. Kuleshov's montage efforts in the late 1910s and early 1920s provided the theoretical foundation of Soviet montage cinema, culminating in the renowned late 1920s films by filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Dziga Vertov, among others. The Battleship Potemkin, October, Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and The Man with a Movie Camera were featured.

The Kuleshov Effect

What Was The Central Principle Of The Kuleshov Effect?

A montage is a primary element that distinguishes every film as an art form in and of itself. This technique's core idea is that cinematic meaning is determined by the edited sequence rather than the individual shot. Kuleshov observed that art is composed of two fundamental elements: the material and how the artist arranges it. He later learned that the arrangement of individual pictures in a montage distinguishes a film.

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In 1921, he carried out the Kuleshov experiment, which entailed projecting the expressionless face of a well-known actor, followed by a shot of a bowl of soup. He then showed a different photo of the same blank actor, followed by a girl in a coffin. The last one was the actor's face, followed by a beautiful young lady lying on a sofa. Although the man's demeanour remained the same each time he was onscreen, the audience's view of him altered depending on whether he was holding a bowl of soup, a pretty young lady resting on a sofa, or a girl in a coffin.

The first series of pictures represented hunger, while the second represented melancholy. People said that the third set displayed desire. After examining people's responses to the photographs, he found that the arrangement of the shots made two discrete locations seem to the audience to be one continuous area. His contemporaries investigated the power of montage, and the innovations that resulted opened the path for modern filmmakers. He demonstrated that a film is nothing more than juxtaposing two images stitched together to produce emotions. He discovered that shot length, movement, cuts, and juxtaposition were filming methods that might affect spectators emotionally. As a consequence, using editing to manipulate space and time became conceivable.

Movies That Use The Kuleshov Effect

Other instances of the Kuleshov effect may be found in films from the previous century, and this idea can be used to motivate the filmmaking process.

  • "Rear Window" - Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" heavily depends on the Kuleshov effect to generate suspense throughout the film. Entire sequences alternate between the main character, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart, and what he views out his window, eliciting a range of emotions from the spectator as they watch his point of view. After the film's release, Stewart claimed that his performance was different from how his character was depicted due to this editing approach.
  • "Psycho"- In the classic shower scene, another Hitchcock film, "Psycho," incorporates the Kuleshov effect. Because the viewer only sees three frames of a knife penetrating flesh, the spectator's comprehension of what happened, Janet Leigh's character stabbing, is only suggested. The camera shifts from Leigh to the murderer wielding the knife, creating this effect to elicit anxiety and suspense in the audience.
  • "Se7en" - In "Se7en," a scene transitions between what's inside a box and the responses of each individual in the scenario, each of which is vastly different from the others. The viewer needs to witness the reaction to what is in the box to grasp the situation and what will happen next.
  • "Silence of the Lambs" - Kuleshov's thesis is fully realised in "Silence of the Lambs," creating tension between characters as the stage is prepared for a spectacular surprise. Most viewers had a distinct response to this moment since they thought one thing was true to discover it was not the case.
  • "Inside Out" - The Kuleshov effect may also be seen in children's movies, such as Pixar's "Inside Out." Riley is shown watching television, and via the response of the character Fear, she starts to respond to the scenario as well. We alternate between Riley, Fear, and the other emotions and the TV to see the escalation.
  • "Arrival" - As the opening scene of "Arrival," the spectator witnesses glimpses of the protagonist's life. The juxtaposition of events elicits emotions when the spectator learns that Louise is in sorrow after losing a child to cancer and is subsequently hired to speak with aliens using her language ability. The main character's melancholy casts her in a new light that shifts as the novel progresses.
  • "The Dark Knight Rises" - Catwoman observes Batman being battered by Bane, the film's central villain, in "The Dark Knight Rises," the concluding entry in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" saga. The contrast of her perspective with the sombre surroundings creates melancholy.
  • In his films, especially "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," Steven Spielberg is a master of the Kuleshov effect. One of his signature shots is the "Spielberg Face," a close-up reaction shot to whatever the character sees that causes the viewer to respond.

Why Is The Kuleshov Effect Important

The Kuleshov effect states that two bullets in a sequence have a greater impact than a single shot alone. Understanding the Kuleshov Effect enables editors to more effectively manage the tone and meaning of their films. The Kuleshov Effect influences how current directors create films: Write down major responses in scripts. Give your characters the opportunity to respond to every crucial piece of dialogue, reinforcing their feelings, beliefs, and world views if you're creating a screenplay. These responses will be very useful throughout the editing process.

The Kuleshov Effect Examples

Even in children's films, such as Pixar's "Inside Out," the characters may see the Kuleshov effect. Riley is seen watching television by the audience, and she starts to respond to the scenario as a result of the response of the character Fear to the situation. We flip back and forth between Riley, Fear, and the other emotions, as well as the television, to watch how the case is progressing.

How Did Kuleshov Effect Influence World Cinema?

The Kuleshov Effect influences how current directors create films:

  • Write down primary responses in scripts. Allow your characters to respond to every crucial piece of dialogue, reinforcing their feelings, beliefs, and world views if you're creating a screenplay. These responses will be beneficial throughout the editing process.
  • For reaction shots, use close-ups. Directors use close-ups to accentuate a character's emotional response, which informs the viewer how they should feel about the on-screen event.
  • In postproduction, emphasise emotions. With a plethora of great close-ups and reaction shots in the can, editors will blend sequences in a manner that directs the viewer towards a particular sensation.

The Kuleshov experiment was groundbreaking for its time since it was the first to establish the significance of shot juxtaposition. While a cinematographer may light a scene precisely and an actor can provide a faultless performance, the location may not effectively express emotion if the shots are not juxtaposed properly. Today, the Kuleshov Effect serves as a reminder to filmmakers, especially editors, that the context in which an actor's face appears influences how that actor's face is viewed. Editing is more than just gathering shots to convey a tale; it's about carefully picking images and perspectives that affect the audience's perception of the storey. Something as basic as a reaction shot or a close-up may significantly impact how an audience perceives a film's action and message.

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