Journal 15: The Lanthanide Series, Rope, Russian Ark

“To err is human” is one particularly interesting phrase when it comes to analyzing how people utilize technology. Technology often has a sense of certainty involved; degrees of freedom and certainty go to powers of ten lower than what a human can do him or herself. In this way, technology empowers filmmakers to create works of art that are otherwise impossible. Works like Rope, The Lanthanide Series, or Russian Ark are all examples, in both form and content, of how the precision of technology or intellectualism is either hindered or supported by general humanity.

Brandon and Phillip construct the perfect crime. Their execution and intellectual approach creates an undeniably well constructed web, impossible to unravel had it not been for Brandon and Philip’s own hubris. Their attempt to bring the murder into the aesthete realm by inviting people to a dinner party is their attempt to prove to themselves of their own wit and perfection. Hubris ends up being their downfall, however, and humanity is inevitably revealed. This parallels the movie’s own direction, where sets and shots are constructed deliberately and extensively planned. Hitchcock does not try to cut out his actors’ humanity in order to bring a focus on the incredible film techniques that could not be achieved through standard film, but rather uses the juxtaposition of imperfect, human actors with incredibly focused technology to allow his technology to act as its own element within the film.

The Lanthanide Series similarly uses technology to create stunning visuals and bring a sense of eerie beauty when discussing different ways in which visuals and reflections are created. Russian Ark has an incredible focus on beauty and perfection, just as Rope does when discussing the supposed “perfect crime.” Russian Ark uses a heavily edited, one shot sequence to bring an odd degree of perfection to the film. All of these techniques heavily utilize technology in incredibly different ways, but all to create a superposition of art and technology by using technology.

Unlike modern era blockbusters as modern superhero movies, in which special effects budgets have become their own topic of conversation, technology in these three films is used in combination with motifs and themes and other visuals to make a comment on vanity or perfection or beauty itself. Supposed perfection and progress associated with technology in film can only be fully utilized by including a director’s direction and coupling with the works of imperfect people, and such is the ideal exemplified in Rope, The Lanthanide Series, and Russian Ark.  

Journal 14: Hunger, Moments of Silence, Freedom Riders

 

Hunger may not be my favorite film, but in terms of its message and political value, I see it as one of the most incredible and valuable films we have watched in this class, and have incredible deference to it.

The interesting dimension included fourth by political film, or third cinema, is need for empathy and sense of urgency. Films like Moments of Silence or Freedom Riders or Hunger depict people deprived of fundamental human needs. Unlike movies as Castaway, however, the main focus is not about how protagonists react in these situations, but rather about the deprivation itself. How the characters are portrayed follows a different purpose from that of non-political films in that it is more crucial for the resolution to come in the form of inception in the viewer rather than spoon fed.

There is no call to action or description of the scenes depicted in Moments of Silence, but rather an overwhelming silence and awkwardness that pervades the entire 3 minutes that it runs. Here, form imitates meaning in that there is very little changing, and very little to bring the viewer to believe that change will be incited. Unlike the standard rising action, climax, and resolution form of first cinema, there is no often little to no resolution in political films. It is more about the message regarding the lack of change, and the fundamental need for human safety that is not being protected by an inactive congress, that pervades this compilation of silent congressmen.

This deeply ingrained message is paralleled in Freedom Riders, where people find themselves facing overt inequality and discrimination, and in Hunger, where an even more basic human need, food and nutrition, is taken away. Michael Fassbender does not manage to change the world on his own in Hunger. The Freedom Riders don’t necessarily change the minds and hearts of every single Alabama citizen as they drive through on a Greyhound. Instead, they incite an incredibly strong deference to the Freedom Riders and to the Irish prisoners that fought for a political cause.

This is why Michael Fassbender’s slow deterioration in Hunger, his brutal beatings, and his revolting living conditions may seem drawn out, and at times, even over the top. More than the story, a focus on the pain and suffering draws out a much stronger emotional narrative than does. It’s why the first hand, subjective accounts of the Freedom riders are more powerful in the Freedom Riders Documentary than is objective facts, and a horrifying, disjointed recollection of driving into Alabama incites more for the viewer than does facts and an objective narrative.

These films are incredibly powerful and moving, but also in form, much different from the films we have watched all semester. Rather than political messages being integrated into the story, or human needs and rights being sides of a conflict the protagonist faces, the story is built around the purpose of bringing forth a political message for the viewer, and human needs or rights are fundamental building blocks that define how the viewer empathizes with the film.

Journal 13: Bicycle Thieves and Killer of Sheep

Neorealism is not simply following people through their daily lives without purpose. The narrative structure is not simply to disengage with typical story direction, but rather to explore and enunciate truths that exist in daily life. Bicycle Thieves and Killer of Sheep are both just that. They follow the neorealist prototype of disenfranchised citizens, showing their struggles and highlighting the general unfairness of life that they face.

This can be seen in Antonio’s short journey looking for his bicycle. He seems to be punished at every turn for his decisions, whether they’re good or bad. He sells his bicycle to feed his family, only to quickly find out that he needs it to work to feed his family. He tries to find a bike, only to get caught in the rain, and shouted at by criminal street peddlers. In an act of pure desperation, trying to save his job and family, he tries to steal a bike in much the same way his bike was stolen from him. However, unlike the thief that stole his bike, Antonio is caught almost immediately.

Killer of Sheep, on the other hand, makes use of the viewer’s strong sense of ennui to depict dissatisfaction in the characters’ lives. The confusing narrative structure and slowness in the film not only represents the pace at which the character’s lives move, but also real life in general. This affect is twofold in representing the characters from a neorealist perspective, but also using that perspective to give viewers a similar sense of anxiety and dissatisfaction with where the characters are in life.

The tragic irony in this story simply goes to show that life simply is not fair. Neorealism follows regular people in their regular lives in order to provide the simple idea that not all stories have resolutions. Life is not a sinusoidal curve of rising actions and resolutions, but rather a transverse wave of problems, an idea encompassed by both Bicycle Thieves’ and Killer of Sheep’s overarching feeling of numbness and dissatisfaction.

Journal 12: Cleo from 5 to 7, Breathless

Cleo from 5 to 7 and Breathless are both French New Wave films that play with the idea of mortality. Whether it’s Cleo’s inability to deal with the nature of her possible cancer or Michel’s continuous escape from the police, the two films play with the existentialism and strangeness of human experience in a way characteristic of French new wave, all with a great focus on feminism from a political standpoint.

“As long as I am beautiful, I am more alive than many others.” Cleo hardly believes her own words as she looks in the mirror and faces her own mortality. In the face of her illness, she has to face the fact that as a female, much of her life and value are determined by talent and beauty. Hardly anyone seems to take her illness seriously, and she is barely allowed to speak about it because, according to her advisor, men don’t like it when women talk about darker issues. As one might see from her character’s immense focus on superstitions, Cleo’s character has an immensely outer locus of control;  both a focus on her inability to come to terms with her own mortality and a political commentary on women’s roles in society at this time. She shows immense growth as she begins to break away from superstitions and puts less emphasis on value that is assigned to her by the people around her, becoming a stronger character from an emotional standpoint, but also a feminist standpoint.

Michel’s misogynistic attitude and simply terrible personality makes him hard to root for in Breathless, but he does act as a great measuring stick for Patricia. Michel’s cavalier attitude towards his misdeeds and silent but strong control over Patricia is very representative of French societal oppression towards women of this time. From a political sense, Breathless is part of the New Wave in that it portrays Patricia as a very progressive and powerful female. She, like the writer she interviews says, can “dominate the man.” She makes her own decisions, and eventually even breaks free of Michel to turn him in to the police.

French new wave films are more than just the style or locale in which they are shot. Sure, Breathless was shot on scene and using handhelds through many of the scenes, helping represent a sense of urgency in the plot. However, what truly makes Breathless and Cleo from 5 to 7 French new wave films are the underlying themes depicting a mixture of mortality and human experience with political agendas as feminism.

Journal 11: Persepolis, A Single Man

Both Persepolis and A Single Man may depict universal human truths through depictions of depression and genuine human connection.

Collin Firth’s depiction of George in A Single Man is eerily relatable for me. His inability to function by feeling rather than thinking reminds me of my own bouts of depression and anxiety, and his brief but intense interactions with the few people around him remind me of my own rays of sunlight in an otherwise lonely world.

To understand what’s crucial about A Single Man, there must be some measuring stick, some standard by which to compare the story. My immediate choice would be Le Fou Follet, in which the main character also decides to commit suicide in a day, and then spends his next twenty-four hours looking for a reason to live. As he visits his friends in Paris and witnesses them leading blind lives through unbridled hedonism, he becomes more and more disillusioned, and eventually kills himself. George is still standing at the end of A Single Man, and the most obvious difference would be Kenny’s involvement. Kenny’s genuine connection to George, his understanding that something is wrong and involvement in George’s suicide attempt are all examples of the genuine human connection that people need, a basic human truth that, though not presented in a groundbreaking new way in A Single Man, is portrayed so genuinely that the audience can’t help but be moved. .

George fell into his depression after losing Jim. His eventual succumb to suicidal thoughts and depression can be attributed to his isolation, something that his closest friend, Charley, couldn’t seem to fix. There seemed to be something briefly ingenuous there, or at least disconnected, when Charley tries but is unable to understand George’s relationship with Jim.

Connections George makes with characters like Kenny or Carlos have much the same purpose as Marji’s rebelliousness in Persepolis. Like the need for genuine emotional connection, humans have a genuine need to express themselves. Marji’s depression and attempted suicide immediately follows a bout of TV and lethargy, an obvious attempt to convey that living in front of a screen the way some people do is not truly living at all.

Though seemingly very different on face value, A Single Man and Persepolis both deal with universal human needs: crucial aspects of Maslow’s hierarchy. These are conveyed through character development and intentional use of attempted suicide, a controversial yet effective method to depict the loss of something innately human.

Journal 10: Meshes of the Afternoon, Mothlight, Dante’s Quartet, Lemon, Telephone, Bridges Go Round, Lia Hona

“Avante-garde” can often be a cue to stop paying attention for the layman. After all, watching film with intention can be exhausting, and focus when watching a superhero movie is usually less on the incredibly innovative anachronistic narrative effect and more on the three million pound monster whose diet seems to consist solely of special effects budgets. However, redefining the limits and standards in film isn’t just for the sake of experimentation. Avante-garde films use new techniques and perspectives to tell stories or provide messages that otherwise couldn’t have been effectively narrated using standard film ideals.

Take Meshes of the Afternoon for one. An anachronistic, surrealist film, it uses recurring and interchangeable motifs, such as a rose, a telephone, and a knife, to act as items of constancy in a repetitive sequence that seems to get a little more surrealist and absurd with every take. The non-contiguous timeline is far more committed to disorienting than slight anachronistic narratives like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, committing in fact to having a character interact with herself. It is not necessarily a manipulation of a timeline, but rather the ignoring of time and constancy as a concept in general.

Abstract films like Dante’s Quartet and Mothlight are similarly about one aspect of what one considers a definitional aspect of film being turned on its head. The concept of film was originally a continuous series of images that, through the scientific phenomena of stroboscopic motion, would look as though they are moving. However, like in abstract paintings, these works are more about the form and geometry of moving images rather than the story that the images themselves will tell.

Lighting is normally a supporting character in film. In Lemon, it tells the whole story. Telephones creates a disjointed and roughly organized compilation of other works that involves telephones, not necessarily having a story but rather a general structure, pointing out similarities between scenes. Bridges go Round uses bridges around a city to create an emotively stimulating conceptualization of the life of the city. These films take approaches to narrative structure that maybe redefine what is expected from how moving images may create a story, the very definition of avante-garde.

Lia Hona, on the other hand,  is more a mixed media art form than just a film. The “avante-garde” comes from its ability to convey ideas and opinions on Mormonism using film. Prose and narration create a fluid beginning, middle, and end to an essay that we do not necessarily imagine as words on paper. The dichotomy of teachings and actions in the Mormon community, for example, is explained using a series of narratives and speeches mixed with statistics and facts projected on the screen. Opinions on religious themes and ideals, especially ones so emotional, are often easier to consume through a narrative. Lia Hona uses film as a drawing board for narrative structure in order to convey information that text possibly can’t.

Avante gardism is defined by experimentation. It confronts us with shapes and ideas that don’t geometrically fit into our definition of film, and in some unique way or another, all of these films do just that.

Journal 9: Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

Physically, Guillermo Del Toro’s shape of water strongly resembles his other fantasy series, Hellboy, in its mise en scene. The Asset’s costume and detail roughly resemble his Hellboy aquatic counterpart, Abe Sapien, also played by Doug Jones. Both characters love eggs and float freely in a glass tank. However, that’s where the similarities end, and Toro’s intentions for the Asset in his Shape of Water can clearly be seen.

The Asset’s animalistic, beast-like nature is strongly differs from Abe’s super-intelligent and often emotionally stunted self. It doesn’t speak, and has a rougher and darker exterior when compared to Abe’s light blue self. These decisions speak strongly on the innately primal traits Guillermo Del Toro wants the Asset to portray as it slowly accepts and is accepted by Elisa in the film.

Guillermo Del Toro creates fantastic and unbelievably detailed creatures, but often uses detail in their monster-like qualities to convey innately human traits. The Asset’s exterior is more a symbol of alienation than its lack of humanness. It is able to emotionally connect with Zelda, Giles, and Elisa, characters that are intentionally chosen to be minorities in race, sexuality, and disability respectively, and at multiple points in the story, even heal some of them. This, against the backdrop of the conniving, torturing, and imprisonment that come with the Cold War, creates a conceptually complex but emotionally and symbolically simple mise- en-scene.

The green tint that pervades the entire tilt has the same effect as in the Matrix in that it muddles the sense of reality. In the case of The Shape of Water, it resembles the murky water that the Asset lives in, as if to tell the audience that the truth is not so easily seen. Michael Shannon’s character, a white male (let’s not forget that our female lead is mute and has one black and one gay friend) is quite clearly the most privileged and powerful person in the film. Despite being representative of the societal “norm” (really another word for privileged prick at this point), even when compared to the aggressive aquatic beast, he is definitely the true monster in the film.

Guillermo Del Toro often uses incredibly intricate costumes and details and sets to display “monsters,” but gives those monsters innately human personalities and traits to describe something about the human condition. Despite being about an amphibious sea god, The Shape of Water uses its incredible mise-en-scene to say something about how societal “norms” might be misleading. The most marginalized members of this movie are seen as the strongest and most understanding characters, and their understanding of what it means to be on the “outside” provides a clear view of the “accepted” or “privileged.”

Journal 8: Citizen Four, The House is Black, In the Street

As anyone who’s watched the iconic “mockumentary” style The Office show might tell you, the purpose of a documentary is not the preservation of objectivity and actuality. Instead, it’s the creative treatment of reality and formulation of narrative within the world being filmed. After all, a camera’s representation of actuality is limited simply by the edges of its field of vision.

Citizen Four takes this into account as its reflexive and participatory approach to the Snowden leak takes both an observational and expository quality. Laura Poitras’s approach to Snowden’s story actually goes against much of his original aim. Snowden approached journalists in order to insert as little of himself into the scandal as possible, preferring to have the story be about privacy violations rather than a conversation about the credibility or history of the perpetrator. However, Laura Poitras made her documentary with a purpose beyond the scope of simple information dissemination, which was easily achieved by the leaked files and Glenn Greenwald’s column. Her exposition, her narrative based around the paranoia and risks that Snowden, Greenwald, MacAskill, Binney, and other members involved in the leak faced helps frame and inform the argument on whether Snowden is a national hero or traitor, a patriot or criminal.

Narrative structure is not necessarily as structured or purposive as in Citizen Four. In the Street and The House is Black, though vastly different in tone and mood, are far more poetic than narrative. In the Street captures snapshots and excerpts of people on the street; children playing on the street, owners walking their pets, people sweeping the streets. There is a dichotomy between observational, fly on the wall filming, where the documentary tries to capture, in its most unbridled and natural form, how children might play on the streets, and reflexive filming, where children smile and fight for real estate on the camera. Going back and forth and capturing emotive states rather than long-term interactions makes In the Street a poetic documentary that focuses less on the expository aspect of documentary.

The House is Black’s expository approach to its subject leper colony is partly performative and participatory. Rather than try to act as a fly on the wall, capturing life in the leper colony in an untainted form, the documentary attempts to blend creative-nonfiction and poetry to symbolically and metaphorically get its ideas across. The man slowly walking back and forth in front of a line of windows and a child unable to name ugly things beyond his own body parts may both be performative, staged on some level, but this does not detract from the level of truth in these shots. The physical deformation against the backdrop of people who live in absolute solitude despite being so close to one another serves to emphasize a point made at the beginning of the documentary: there is no shortage of ugliness in this leper colony.

Truth is subjective. Documentaries, in their attempt to critically narrate truth, must creatively treat actuality. This could mean staged shots or cheated angles or biased reporting. This does not, however, mean that there is any less truth in the ideas proposed by the documentary itself.

Journal 7: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, La Jetée, Dream of a Rarebit Fiend

I’m aware that this journal entry is not between 250 and 500 words. Still, I love this movie, so I apologize for nothing (sorry though).

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is, in short, a film about loneliness. Michael Gondry’s direction creates a film about two characters, Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, who struggle with their immense solidarity both together and apart. As we witness the deterioration of their relationship in a backwards chronological fashion, we see Clementine’s personality “applied in a paste” in her hair, bright green to represent life, clean red to represent intense passion, dirty red to represent faded passion, and a deep blue to symbolize loss and sadness. We see Joel go from feeling nothing to feeling happy to feeling lost, and eventually realizing that that nothingness he felt before was a form of aloneness. But most importantly, we see two characters experience genuine human connection, and how that connection changes both of them permanently.

Clementine Kruczynski, named after a dead past love from the folk song “Oh My Darling Clementine,” desperately tries to live life to the fullest by trying not to be bored for even a single second. The manic pixie dream girl persona that she creates makes her feel alienated by men who see her as simply a concept, a savior to take them away from the mundane.  Suitors like Patrick, though they might say the right things and buy her the right trinkets, approach her with a reverence that cannot also include the genuine love she wants. She just want to feel beautiful, and to believe herself to be worthy of an emotion deeper than reverence. She seeks validation from others because she is unable to get it from herself, and uses alcohol as a way to drown this fear and loneliness.

Joel Barish is, at least at face value, a more conventionally lonely person. He often confides in a journal rather than with the people around him because he believes himself to be boring and uninteresting. Despite living with Naomi and having supportive friends, Joel finds that he has spent his entire life feeling immensely alone, drowning in his own thoughts and struggling with not having the courage to chase after the things he wants. He sits in a train and draws a sketch of himself and Clem, with shadows of footsteps making a beeline towards her because he clearly wants to approach her, but when she comes to him instead, he clams up and almost immediately pushes her away out of fear.

Chronologically speaking, the earliest memory in Joel’s mind is of him and Clementine as children shortly after he hammers a bird out of peer pressure. One bullied and one projecting her insecurities on an ugly girl doll, the two characters are able to feel unalone in a memory that never truly existed. The bare forms that they take in this memory make it easier for the audience to understand their more complex interactions as they get older.

When they first meet each other at the beach, Clementine’s immediate familiarity when she takes Joel’s chicken makes him feel as though, despite having sat so far away from all his friends, there was someone who could truly relate to him. Joel’s reservations actually make Clementine feel more comfortable, as Joel doesn’t seem to be attracted to Clementine just because he feels as though she would make him “feel alive.” Joel’s trepidation and cowardice, which Clementine chastises, is really one of the main reasons she falls in love with him. Her hair color at this point, a bright, healthy shade of green, is representative of the life and animation that their relationship promises. For the first time in their lives, neither of them feels alone.

Clementine doesn’t drink, and nor does Joel write in his journal, in the time where their relationship is healthy and passionate. They watch movies together or run across the frozen Charles. They hike and sit on the couch reading and share childhood insecurities, reveling in the love that they feel for each other, represented by the bright, fiery red of Clem’s hair. These memories are edited in the film to jump and flit from one to another to represent how, more so than each individual memory, these exist in Joel’s mind as simple happy experiences.

As they spend more and more time together, however, Clementine’s and Joel’s insecurities take hold, and they slowly lose touch with their original passions. Clementine once again gets insecure as she realizes Joel doesn’t see her as a fit mother, convincing her that she might be nothing more than a concept to her despite everything that has convinced her otherwise. Joel, once again convinced that he doesn’t have much interesting to say, dives back into his journal and writes in silence while Clem drinks. Joel’s notebook records his meal at a Chinese restaurant, an image that directly transitions to his actual meal to represent how immediately Joel’s consciousness shifts to his journal rather than to conversation with Clem. At the Chinese restaurant, Joel and Clem sit feet from each other, eating together but feeling completely alone.

As Joel’s memories get erased, there is a transition from blank loss of memory to specifically choreographed memory loss. When he loses the memories of Clementine at the flea market, his entire conscious fades, and he lets go of the memory quite easily, easily achieved by Gondry’s green-screen fade-out affect. However, as Joel remembers more and more of Clementine’s qualities that he eventually began taking for granted, his memory loss becomes more of a progressive experience. In his conversation with Clementine at the library, the book spines are slowly whited out until all his memory is is of him and Clementine, alone, having a conversation that they never had in the memory itself. In his first interaction with Clementine at George and Ruth’s house, his memory literally falls to pieces around him, symbolizing the memory loss combined with his world metaphorically falling apart. Like Howard says before he wipes Joel’s brain, each memory has a core, the destruction of which causes the degradation of the entire memory. For Joel, the core of each of these memories is Clementine.

Clementine and Joel both erase their memories because, after finally discovering what it is to be unalone for the first time in their lives, they can’t stand the prospect of going back to solitude. Despite the misery the audience sees (quite literally in terms of Clementine’s blue hair) them so obviously feel when they have their memories erased, to Clem and Joel, this sadness and depression is closer to normalcy than active pain. When they meet each other and once again feel that passion, Gondry is able to depict human irrationality in the face of genuine connection. Despite having their memories erased, neither Joel nor Clementine forget this genuine connection. Joel goes back to Montauk beach after being impulsive for the first and only time in the film, whereas Clementine seems to understand that despite saying and doing all the same things, Patrick cannot make the same emotional connection with her as Joel can.

Because of the dream and memory state that Joel lives in for a majority of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gondry is able to manipulate and edit the film to better fit emotional states. Joel’s tiny self sitting under the table is reminiscent of powerless and lonely he feels, desperate for any form of attention whatsoever. The lights turning off as he leaves the library are a perfect representation of how dread feels, and are an almost unnoticeable transition to his return to his friend’s living room. Brief flashes of illogical moments; a tower of salt-shakers and books building itself up backwards, Joel completely buried in sand and surrounded by broken bookshelves and dilapidated plane parts, symbolically allow Gondry to describe Joel’s mind state rather than what actually happens to him. Gondry’s firm grasp on the human condition and elaborately planned shots help create an immensely powerful depiction of two incredibly lonely people and their connection to one another.

Journal 6: Battleship Potemkin, The Man with a Movie Camera, Un Chien Andalou

From Battleship Potemkin to The Man with a Movie Camera to Un Chien Andalou, there is a visible progression of experimentation with the definition of montage and the expected chronological and logical progression of shots that were canon at the time.

Battleship Potemkin’s editing often uses a repetition of patterned clips to establish relationships and emotions. In its famous Odessa steps sequence, instead of just one long, wide shot of civilians running away from approaching soldiers, Eisenstein patterns close ups of civilians running away in horror with low angled views of the approaching soldier’s boots (coupled with a rhythmic soundtrack making the impending doom the residents of Odessa felt all the more real) and wide angles of people falling over as they flee down the stairs.

With small, almost anecdotal tragedies such as the mother who loses her son or the runaway stroller being inserted in these larger, high tempo sequences, the montage slows down for brief moments, if just to allow the audience to empathize with an emotion far deeper than the general, primal fear of the overlaying pattern of escaping citizens. Even as a pioneer and experimenter in montage, Eisenstein understood the importance of manipulating tempo and mixing continuity and parallel editing to create a natural, unforced sequence.

The Man with the Camera is less concerned with this. Instead of using a variety of techniques in a Stanley McCandless way of keeping the audience in the film, engaged with the plot, The Man with the Camera rather uses freeze frames and jump cuts and backwards clips and even split screens to create an avante garde and self-reflexive film about filming. In doing so, it is far more important for the audience to be aware of the film and be placed outside of it to understand its purpose, as is reflected by the cover-art of a cameraman standing atop a massive camera.

The cameraman featured in the film, diligently running from place to place, once even losing his life on the train tracks trying to capture the shaking of the rails, captures the need of the filmmaker to create and experiment and expand upon the films they create. Cameramen in The Man with the Camera go anywhere, climb perilous chimneys and stand on railways for the perfect shot, and are able to film an immense range of shots from those vantage points, as a reflection of the progressing role of film in contemporary society.

Un Chien Andalou‘s use of montage is considered much more experimental and, in the words of some of my friends, “icky,” than Battleship Potemkin or The Man with a Camera. However, personally, I found that Un Chien Andalou is less of an experiment in film and more an experiment in surrealism. Salvador Dali’s involvement in the project prompts me to believe that Un Chien Andalou is an experiment in bringing surrealist art into the fourth dimension. Of course, this intersection between pre-existing art form and film is also a massive step forward in film, but to try to ascribe purely film terms to understand Un Chien Andalou is an exercise in futility. Instead, it seems more important to understand that montage is used as bronze is in Homage to Newton, yet another tool to express an artistic idea.