Information Services banner Edinburgh Research Archive The University of Edinburgh crest

Edinburgh Research Archive >
Literatures, Languages, and Cultures, School of >
Literatures, Languages, and Cultures PhD thesis collection >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

This item has been viewed 1250 times in the last year. View Statistics

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
Russell2009.pdfPhD thesis6.39 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
Russell2009LyX files.zipFile not available for download9.15 MBUnknown
Title: Soviet montage cinema as propaganda and political rhetoric
Authors: Russell, Michael
Supervisor(s): Scheunemann, Dietrich
Ostrowska, Dorota
Beugnet, Martine
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: The University of Edinburgh
Abstract: Most previous studies of Soviet montage cinema have concentrated on its aesthetic and technical aspects; however, montage cinema was essentially a rhetoric rather than an aesthetic of cinema. This thesis presents a comparative study of the leading montage film-makers – Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Eisenstein and Vertov – comparing and contrasting the differing methods by which they used cinema to exert a rhetorical effect on the spectator for the purposes of political propaganda. The definitions of propaganda in general use in the study of Soviet montage cinema are too narrowly restrictive and a more nuanced definition is clearly needed. Furthermore, the role of the spectator in constituting the rhetorical effectivity of a montage film has been neglected; a psychoanalytic model of the way in which the filmic text can trigger a change in the spectator’s psyche is required. Moreover, the ideology of the Soviet montage films is generally assumed to exist only in their content, whereas in classical cinema ideology also operates at the level of the enunciation of the filmic text itself. The extent to which this is also true for Soviet montage cinema should be investigated. I have analysed the interaction between montage films and their spectators from multiple perspectives, using several distinct but complementary theoretical approaches, including recent theories of propaganda, a psychoanalytic model of rhetoric, Lacanian psychoanalysis and the theory of the system of the suture, and Peircean semiotics. These different theoretical approaches, while having distinct conceptual bases, work together to build a new and consistent picture of montage cinema as a propaganda medium and as a form of political rhetoric. I have been able to classify the films of Kuleshov, Eisenstein and Pudovkin as transactive, vertical agitation propaganda and the films of Vertov as transactive, horizontal agitation propaganda. Furthermore, I show that montage cinema embeds ideology in the enunciation of its filmic text, but differs from classical cinema in trying to subvert the suturing process. I conclude that Vertov at least partly created a non-representational cinematography and that he could be regarded as being at least as much a Suprematist film-maker as a Constructivist one.
Keywords: cinema
Kuleshov, Lev
Eisenstein, Sergei 1898-1948
Pudovkin, Vsevold Illarionovich 1893-1953
Vertov, Dziga 1896-1954
Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich 1878-1935
Appears in Collections:Literatures, Languages, and Cultures PhD thesis collection

Items in ERA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.


Valid XHTML 1.0! Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh 2013, and/or the original authors. Privacy and Cookies Policy