Sunday, September 18, 2011

Editing and Acting!

Given that this week we have gotten really in depth into acting and ways actors should express emotion in front of a camera, I decided to make my post on the Kuleshow effect. Over the summer I decided to watch 2001 Space Odyssey again (last time I watched it I was 13, of course I didn't like it) because I felt that analyzing this movie would be really beneficial for me. After watching the movie I decided to research more about it, and this is when I found out about the Kuleshov effect. This effect was "discovered" by russian director Lev Kuleshov (hence the name). It is basically a technique of editing in which he alternated an emotionless shot of famous russian actor, Ivan Mozzhukhin, with three other different shots. After showing the same different montages with the same shot of Mozzhukhin to different audiences, Kuleshov demonstrated that in film acting the audience is the one to attributes an emotion to character, depending on the different shots the director decides to cut to.

According to the different audiences, in the first shot Mozzhukhin looks hungry when he the shots cuts to the plate of soup. on the second shot he looks sad, and on the third one they said he had desire for this woman.

Here is Alfred Hitchcock explaining the effect. I feel he makes a better job trying to explain the effect.

I think it is really interesting how this effect has influenced the acting and direction in the history of films. Going back to 2001 Space Odyssey, we found the effect in most of the shots of the computer Hal. Given that he is a computer he cannot show any kind of emotion, but the audience gives the computer human emotions by the way Kubrick intercuts between him and the crew members of the Discovery one.

The last part this video reveals to us that Hal feels betrayed and angry with the crew members just by the way it was edited. The shot of Hal is just a red dot, We don't even see any facial expression, but when it is intercut by Hal reading the crew members lips, the shot of Hal is more powerful. I feel that we can take this kind of editing in mind when we direct our actors during a scene.

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