Montage and Mise-en-Scene
Thinking through montage and mise-en-scene
‘It is important to recognize that narrative is
neither primary nor necessary to cinema, and it
forms no putative essence of the medium’
-- Sean Cubitt
What other ways do we think through film?
 Montage
Narrative Montage
In narrative montage connections between
shots are used to drive the story forward,
and to show relationships of time and place. This is
The most technique in modern filmmaking
We see a man buying tickets at an
airline counter, followed by an image of an
aeroplane in flight, then the same man riding in a
taxi, and we understand that he has travelled to
another town or city.
*Taken from Brian Moon, Viewing Terms (2004:118)
Rocky montage
Ideational Montage
In ideational montage images are linked
together to suggest an idea or to comment
on the action.
Ideational montage does not attempt to create a
unified time and space, but instead juxtaposes
heterogeneous objects and events for the purpose
of creating abstract, symbolic or metaphorical
Soviet Montage
Sergei Eisenstein proceeded to
forcefully engineer cinematic
consciousness through his
‘montage of attractions’ that
was designed to ‘shock’ the
thoughts of the spectator into
thinking through filmic
Eisenstein’s Montage Techniques
 Juxtaposition
 Metric montage: the temporal
metre with which individual
shots are assembled, it doesn’t
refer to the content of shot, but
the way shot lengths are
shortened or extended in order
to produce a ‘pulse-beat’
 Rhythmic montage: the tempo
of cinematographic movement
within the composition
Dziga Vertov – Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Mise-en-scène is a French term and originates in
the theater. It means, literally, ‘put in the scene’.
 Refers to almost everything that goes into the
composition of the shot, including:
- framing
- movement of the camera and characters
- lighting
- set design and the general visual environment
- sound as it helps elaborate the composition.
 Mise-en-scène can be defined as the articulation
cinematic space, and it is precisely space that it is
From Robert Kolker, Film Form and Culture (2001)
Die Hard
Effects/affects of mise-en-scene
Spatial articulation of:
 Mental states
 Metaphors
 Moods, sensations, desires
 Aesthetic figures
 Abstract ideas