Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Kuleshov Effect... (film) Editing's most powerful tool.

by Chris Chaos

Editing's most powerful tool.

Named after Lev Kuleshov, [1] The 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.

The Kuleshov Effect is a film editing (montage) effect demonstrated by Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in the 1910s and 1920s. It is a mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation.

Interesting how this must be explained to the up and coming film makers when explaining how manipulation in the press is conducted.


Still comes down to good old manipulation concerning the meaning of multiple shots strung in a predetermined meaning...just as intended by the editor.

                                           Hitchcock explains the Kuleshov effect

Lev Kuleshov on the origins of the "Kuleshov effect"

Now for the political take:

Media can change the tone and the audience for a news story by following it by a combination of the 4 followed photos. You can play on people's emotions and political naivety  with a photo..because it speaks a thousand words.

President Obama Laughing

Former President Bush Laughing
President Obama Crying 

Former President Bush Crying

The story can be anything, but lets make up a fake scenario. (Once again, these are MADE up examples and are NOT real)

The Liberal Example:
A liberal news station, MSNBC dislikes Bush and wishes to show him in a bad light. So they may run a story concerning the misfortune of a famous liberal...then they will cut to video or a picture of Bush laughing..

.....then cut to a picture of Obama crying to show his concern.

The Conservative Example:

A Conservative website, Breitbart, may report on the injury of one of Bush's family members, it would then cut to a video or photo of Bush looking sad

 and then to build contempt for liberals, cut to a video/photo of Obama laughing.


(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey. He is a filmmaker, a business owner, writer, urban explorer and investigator of the odd and weird, a proud parent, happily taken and a connoisseur of hot wings. Chris can be reached at

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