In this paper, we will try to explain how the montage is linked to the images in the movie, because each image is associated by audience with a specific film. In addition, editing directly affects on the narration in the film. We will research the articles of the three different authors, Rudolf Arnheim, Andre Bazin and Sergei Eisenstein, which relate exclusively to the montage. In addition, we will analyze the film “Fist of Fury” in terms of art of montage.
Let us start with Rudolf Arnheim. In his book called “Film as art”, he describes that the main thing is the building of the image in the film (Arnheim). At the same time, the effects or individual episodes with special effects can take a back seat, as while editing, you can just leave a close-up of the main character. The remaining effects are minimized, and in the foreground there is a protagonist, or rather his image, which has been already built in the viewer's mind. In every scene of the film, the image of the character remains depicted in the mind. The editing minimizes costs of the shootings, and cinematic art thus becomes more affordable for a lot of directors. Rudolf Arnheim gives examples of classic films, when very unobtrusive moments without much action became a classic thanks to the art of montage and its proper use. In addition, Rudolf Arnheim argues that inanimate film properties are as useful as the ability to show the actor's mental state and perfectly play his part. After all, if you think about it, even taken separately a game of the best actor is nothing, compared with the finished version, which we see on the screen. Our feelings are hurt, while watching not only the direct acting, but also the correct edition, choice and transition of shots. All these details in aggregate affect influence the overall picture, which, in turn, hurts our feelings.
One of the most famous film historians Andre Bazin in his book “What is cinema?, or rather in his critical article on the western, also identifies the editing as an incredibly important part in the construction of the film (Bazin). However, unlike Rudolf Arnheim, he believes that the montage produces no images of the main characters, but creates the correct narrative line. He described the Western genre itself and said that a specific genre cause waiting of the viewer about the narration. In addition, the narration must be directly related to the images. according to Andre Bazin, all these elements allow you to combine the montage. In addition, Andre Bazin says: “the durability of the western heroes and plots has been demonstrated recently by the fabulous success on television of the old Hopalong Cassidy films. The western does not age” (Bazin p .141). Yes, to a certain extent, it is right, but not entirely. Still, we have to admit that the films coming from the east, if you do not underestimate the role of the modern western film, then at least make a competition to the Western.
The issue of editing and its importance was very thoroughly investigated by Sergei Eisenstein in his article “The film sense”. In his essay, he raises the issue of primary significance of the montage. He says that the importance of this over the years has lost its position, but only true professionals can understand how the editing is important in setting the film, images, building a narrative, and so on. Even the most ardent opponents of the montage as a means of creating movies recognize that sometimes it is necessary primarily in terms of the design of the narrative line. On Sergei Eisenstein’s opinion, the main task of editing is to convert the image into several partial views. These ideas form the main characters and the narrative line on a viewer’s subconscious level.
Sergei Eisenstein says: “the creators of a number of films in recent years have so completely" discarded "montage that they have forgotten even its basic aim and function: that role set itself by every work of art, the need for connected and sequential exposition of the theme, the material, the plot, the action, the movement within the film sequence and within the film drama as a whole” (Eisenstein p.3) , but in this respect the director Lo Wei stands on his way as he has not lost the connection of editing with the basic elements of filmmaking.
In general, the editing is a creative and technological process of the connection of individual means of expression in a single ideological and artistic whole. This one ideological and artistic whole includes the narration, the formation of images, and other key moments of the film. Every artistic image is created by the joining of the expressive elements that in scattered form have a different quality than in the sum. This is the essence of artistic thinking. Art thinks in images and associations chain. Association means the "connection" between the individual performances, in which one performance causes another. Each person has his own associative world, which is different. It depends on his everyday or educational outlook, and on the degree of his ability to associative thinking. Associative imagery in art is completely devoid of classical logic. If logical thought is unambiguous, the imaginary one is many-valued. Artistic and figurative language helps to say what words cannot say and that is wider and deeper than words.
The fact that the art and image language is wider and deeper than words was demonstrated by the director Lo Wei in the movie “Fist of Fury”. The editors in the film were headed by Peter Cheung, who eventually won the "Golden Horse" at the Taipei Film Festival for the best editing. That is why we consider this film in terms of installation as an integral part of filmmaking. In fact, all descriptive and expressive means of the screen – frame composition, plastic, in particular color and lighting, sound – are involved in finding on-screen equivalents of the creators’ thoughtful work. However, in the process of audiovisual "description" of what is happening and thinking particularly important role is played by the editing - interframe and intraframe, freely operating the space-time certainty of material. With its expressive possibilities, we can present the logical train of thought on the screen and thereby control the associations of the viewers. These operations were carried out in the “Fist of Fury”, which eventually became one of the most popular and recognizable films precisely in terms of images and narrative manner. Peter Cheung succeeded brilliantly in working with the feelings and the viewers’ perception of the images, proposed by Lo Wei. When asked why the editing allows so much to influence the viewer's perception of images and the whole gamut of their feelings, we can only answer that the art of editing gives you access to unlimited manipulation with the shots, which viewers see in the end. The editor can as thin as possible edit each fragment of the film, down to the smallest details to work out stuff, throwing out flaws and leaving the perfect shots, causing a storm of emotions from the viewer.
Editing is basically a means of expression that allows directors to lead the narrative, create dramaturgically rich stories, analyze and summarize the phenomena of reality, to express a concept, to create images. The strength of the editing in film “Fist of Fury” is that the viewers’ emotion and mind are in the creative process. Editing interface determines the specific interpretation of the world, transforming it from the screen into the audience. The individuality of the viewer is not enslaved by the author's personality. It is even revealed to the end in a merger with the author's meaning.
In the movie there is not used a flow to connect the frames – perhaps due to the fact that this technique violates its elaborated composition, though only for a few seconds. After all, the film does not even contain shooting "from fade" or "in the shade". Language in the film “Fist of Fury” thanks to the editing (there is used exclusively inter-intraframe editing) solves both aesthetically and ethically the problem of expression on the screen the progress of human thought. The power of montage is used on the screen not only for identifying author’s considerations in the emotional sphere, but also in the field of logic, for the disclosure of the meaning of what is happening through abstraction. Screen concepts – the results of abstraction – are a form of reflection of the world in thinking, in which the essence of this phenomenon is perceived through the generalization of its characteristic signs and sides. Thus, we see that through the editing it is possible to express of the movement of the author's thoughts in terms of the on-screen images. In addition, it is possible to penetrate into the psyche of the depicted persons (previously it was considered a prerogative only of the literature), look at the world through the prism of the experiences of the characters. The movement of the author's thoughts is always directed at the reproduction of the human life. A human is placed in a different situation through editing, the life situations, which have a direct impact on the senses and the consciousness of the viewer. That is how we got a kind of emotional connection with the viewer what is happening on the screen.
In addition, in the film “Fist of Fury” editing plays a special role, and from the standpoint of drawing of the main characters it allows to concentrate on the protagonist Bruce Lee. Editing is made as if the camera lens were jumping from the eye to the eyes of the protagonist villains. With the help of the editing it was very clearly marked with the views of the protagonists. The views are not directed at the audience, but to each other, that is, the main characters have focused on communication within the film, rather than on a direct connection with the audience. Editing allowed to emphasize this element of the movie. Rudolf Arnheim also emphasizes the importance of this type of editing, saying: “Hence a film actor must be capable of producing, "pure" expression. His face, for example, must be so constituted that the required expression emerges quite clearly down to the smallest details” (Arnheim p.136).
Thus, according to the statement of Sergei Eisenstein, realistic value of the montage is expressed in the construction of an image, which embodies the theme through a combination of individual "pieces". It was during the construction of the on-screen image when there are revealed creative possibilities of the author-director, since the image of the art implies inseparable connection of sense and logic as well as a certain percentage of imagination, fantasy. In the film “Fist of Fury” a very important aspect was that this tape is about martial arts, and editing is playing a special role in that. In addition to direct communication with the audience, the story line and other elements, the editing was to look perfect in moments of action as well. The combination of all those elements, taking into account the smallest of them, at the time of editing conquered both the audience and professionals. For this great work, Peter Cheung has received awards and recognition. Influence of editing on the minds of people in the film “Fist of Fury’ is one of the most striking examples from different points of view. First of all, it is a narration and a direct impact of editing on it, as Sergei Eisenstein and Andre Bazin stated. Secondly, it is about the importance of editing as inanimate property, imperceptible to the human eye, as noted by Rudolf Arnheim. These properties of editing were successfully combined in the film “Fist of Fury”.
Arnheim, Rudolf. Film As Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. Print.
Bazin, André. What Is Cinema?. University of California Press, 2004. Print.
Eisenstein, S.M, and Jay Leyda. Film Form ;The Film Sense. New York: Meridian Books, 1959. Print.