The soviet montage and the formalist tradition are two types of editing. Pudovkin’s concept of constructive editing was that each shot made a new point. He felt that juxtapositions of different shots would allow new meaning. The style manifested itself on film because Pudovkin used montages and put close ups in order to create a greater meaning.
Lev Kuleshov was Pudovkin’s mentor and felt that actors had no talent, but it was the film maker who had the talent. This was called the Kuleshov effect where actors were mere tools, and did not contribute to the artistic expression. He focused on juxtapositions and how they create emotional meaning. He felt that long shots were unnecessary, and close-ups with juxtapositions created the most emotional meaning. This effect can be seen in today’s films in documentary films. Documentary films usually involve unprofessional actors, yet the films are still able to create emotional meaning.
Eisenstein’s montage was about constant change. He wanted to produce contrasting images. It works in the “Odessa Step” sequence because there are short cuts between different images throughout the sequence. Long shots are not often seen, but rather short and fast paced cuts. He is able to portray emotion of sorrow in the situation by quick cutting between distressed faces and dead bodies on the steps. It is used in today’s films by the montage style. Most movies have montages to show the progression of time, and the subtle differences of change that occur. A montage is able to accomplish an idea that takes 30 minutes to portray into 2 minutes of close cutting that shows the development of the character.
Andre Bazin was an editor, who criticized formalism and classical editing. He believed that formalist techniques violated reality; therefore, it destroyed the effectiveness of the scene. He believed in the montage technique. Bazin believed that ambiguity was the best way to portray reality. He felt that there was more involvement from a realistic style over a classical style, for a classical style was predictable and didn’t involve the audience’s consciousness. Realistic editing involved the audience’s consciousness because the cuts were more based on real life.
Realist film makers strive to use long shots, wide screen, lengthy takes, deep focus, panning, craning, tilting, or tracking rather than cutting to individual shots. The film must maintain continuity of real time and space.
A favorite technique of realist film makers was deep focus photography, because it doesn’t give special attention to certain characters, like a close up does. They feel that everything must be included, and that there should be no sacrifice with detail.