Re: collage film history

From: Myron Ort (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jun 29 2009 - 15:09:09 PDT

In that the term "collage" was initially used to describe the impulse
of the cubist painters, Braque and Picasso in particular, to
incorporate "foreign" material (newsprint say) into their oil
paintings, I would say that the term "collage film" would best be
used to describe a similar process of incorporating material
"foreign" to the imagery inherent in the original exposed film emulsion.

A film, perhaps conceived with structural concepts borrowed from the
world of Cubist painting, might be called "cubist film" and in that
sense if multiple exposure had been used, non-narratively,
non-"figuratively", and non-gimmickly, but rather as a way of
achieving the same compositional or visual organizational goals as
Cubism in painting, then that term might be appropriate to film as
well, although certainly the technique could also be used to achieve
something akin to "Dada" and/or "Surrealism" as known in the history
of art as well.

I am comfortable with the term "Found Footag Film" to describe the
genre so masterfully achieved by the likes of Bruce Conner and
others. I would myself describe Rose Hobart as a found footage
film. I would describe Larry Jordan's work and other similar as
"collage animation".

All other schemes for arranging shots seem to be covered by the term
"montage" in the general sense, "editing" or "cutting" in an even
more general sense, or more specifically "intellectual montage" if
consciously evoking Eisenstein's approach to thesis/antithesis/

"The now-common montage sequence often appeared as notation in
Hollywood scripts of the 1930s and 40s as the "vorkapich" because of
his mastery of dynamic visual montage sequence wherein time and space
are compressed using a variety of editing techniques and camera
moves. Vorkapich used kinetic editing, lapse dissolves, tracking
shots, creative graphics and optical effects for his own stunning
montage sequences for such features as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,
Meet John Doe, Maytime, Crime without Passion, Manhattan Melodrama,
Firefly, and Manhattan Cocktail. He created, shot, and edited these
kinesthetic montages for features at MGM, RKO, and Paramount,
popularizing the usage of the term "Vorkapich" in the Hollywood
screenplays of the time."

Myron Ort

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