Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Artist, Hugo and the Kuleshov Effect
Kuleshov Effect exhibits the most basic functions of storytelling in film I've stumbled upon. It shows the direct relationship of human and subject, and from that, the audience is capable of filling in the blank. You show a man with an expressionless face looking at something off-camera, followed by a shot of steaming spaghetti and meatballs, and cut back to him with the same void expression. The audience reads his emotion as 'hungry'. You show the same shot of the man's face and then a shot of a coffin and back to the expressionless face, the audience perceives it as sadness. You show the SAME shot of a man, followed by the shot of a beautiful woman walking with another man, and back again, and it conveys jealousy. It's fascinating mechanics, and I feel like the principal is rarely used anymore, even though it's often more entertaining and effective than just a spelling out of the emotions through overly-complex editing sequences. This should honestly be one of the first lessons in film school over anything else. It teaches not only the importance of simplicity, but also the importance of all departments, performance, cinematography and editing. A story can be told at the most basic level this way, and it's truly sad that this basic mechanism for storytelling is often looked over and viewed as archaic. Thank you Mr. Hazanavicius and Mr. Scorsese for reminding the whole new emerging crop of filmmakers how to tell a story.