Creative industry practice: Manipulate Meaning: kuleshov effect

“This was a huge moment for cinema, with Kuleshov declaring montage to be the central principle that defines film as an art on its own. “


Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov (1899-1970), had put forward a question that would change cinema and how we view things:

“What made cinema a distinct art, separate from photography, literature or theatre?”

Taking a still photo of a very known actor, he then took another photo and placed it together with that one. Following from that, he used the same still photo of the actor again and placed it up to a completely different photograph of something entirely different compared to the original one. His theory was that by placing two different photos next to the another one, it can be interpreted differently by the eyes of who sees it.

He tested this in front of an audience and here were the results:


This film effect became known as a ‘Montage’.  A mental phenomenon where the audience find meaning from the interaction of two different still shots than from an isolated one.

Source : 1 | 2

After checking this out, I find this to be quite interesting and I start to get a thicker understanding of how a simple image placed next to another one, and for them to both change can change the over all response from an audience and I feel that if I consider this theory for my… let’s say ‘Guide to Ru Paul’ video that I’ll need to plan, develop and work on, I’ll have to think about where to place the imagery or information in the sequence to help the audience understand the formal approach that I’m trying to convey.


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