Eisenstein on the Audiovisual: The Montage of Music, Image and Sound in Cinema (KINO - The Russian Cinema)
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The pioneering film director and theorist Sergei Eisenstein is known for the unequalled impact his films have had on the development of cinema. Less is known about his remarkable and extensive writings, which present a continent of ideas about film. Robert Robertson presents a lucid and engaging introduction to a key area of Eisenstein’s thought: his ideas about the audiovisual in cinema, which are more pertinent today than ever before. With the advent of digital technology, music and sound now act as independent variables combined with the visual medium to produce a truly audiovisual result. Eisenstein explored in his writings this complex, exciting subject with more depth and originality than any other practitioner, and this is an accessible and original exploration of his ideas. Winner of the Kraszna Krausz Foundations’s And/Or Award for Best Moving Image Book of 2009, Eisenstein on the Audiovisual is essential reading for students and practitioners of the audiovisual in cinema and related audiovisual forms, including theatre, opera, dance and multimedia.
glasses at the bar, particularly caught Eisenstein’s imagination. Joyce’s blend of the strongly visual with the musical, the melding of the ‘bronze by gold’ sirens with the ‘oceangreen of shadow’ and the marine references emerging from the song lyrics and the Homeric original, combine in a model of audiovisual counterpoint that AUDIOVISUAL COUNTERPOINT 33 Eisenstein was seeking for the sound film.70 Joyce was equally intrigued by Eisenstein’s films and expressed a wish to see them. Eisenstein
production of Wagner’s Rienzi in 1921, due to the closure of the theatre in which it was being rehearsed.27 He returned to opera when he produced Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades in 1935.28 Meyerhold wrote that in this production he had aimed to allow his performers ‘a contrapuntal rather than a metrically precise relationship’ to the music, so that if they wished, they could act in contrast to the music; they could vary their responses to it, ‘anticipating or lagging behind the score instead of
after Eisenstein’s arrival in Mexico, Rivera took him to see his murals showing the Spanish conquest, in the Cortés Palace, Cuernavaca. He was also struck by the paintings of other Mexican muralists, in particular José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.17 In addition Eisenstein read what he could find about Mexico, including D.H. Lawrence’s travel book Mornings in 84 EISENSTEIN ON THE AUDIOVISUAL Mexico (1927).18 He also read his novel The Plumed Serpent (1926), which he admitted
in people, different in animals, trees and flowers. And still held together by the unity of the weave – a rhythmic and musical construction and an unrolling of the Mexican spirit and character.89 Colour, line and music in Que Viva Mexico! The weave of the serape becomes like the lines of music in a score; its unfolding becomes like Faure’s idea of a film ‘unfolding in a musical space’. At this point it becomes difficult to imagine Que Viva Mexico! as anything other than a film in colour.
working with colour and with music. Once you have understood how you should treat the musical resolution, you have laid the groundwork for handling colour too.’ He then attacks the approach of synchronising the pairing of sound and image as being uncreative. The process of deliberate disassociation between these two elements should result in ‘an arbitrary unity of sound and depiction’.93 SYNAESTHESIA 163 This is the point at which audiovisual expression begins: ‘the art of audiovisual montage