My favourite way to introduce the mechanics of a montage is with that song from the movie ‘Team America – World Police’. Sprinkle humour on a few ‘scars of labour’, and you get:
We’re going to need a montage (montage)
Ooh it takes a montage (montage)
Show a lot of things happening at once
Remind everyone of what’s going on (what’s going on)
And with every shot, show a little improvement
To show it all would take too long
That’s called a montage (montage)
From there you can get lost in a rabbit hole of montage history – from its modernist origins, to Soviet theory and French translations. It only gets deeper and more nuanced from there, but I think that quick scene from Trey Parker teaches the most.
The seventh Nikecraft challenge encouraged people to create a short film from 36 moments and places of change. By omitting all unnecessary frames, everyone crafted short reality montages. With every shot, they showed a little of how someone progresses through time and space: crossing tiny thresholds on their own journey into the future. You need a montage, even rocky had a montage.
Photo: Tom Sachs
Originally written for the Sachsian Syndicate.
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