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The Kuleshov Fallacy

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The face has long been regarded as one of the major weapons in the arsenal of cinema—as a tool of characterization, a source of visual fascination, and not least, as a vehicle of emotional expression. Research on emotion from psychology and other disciplines offers a rich resource illuminating the world of expressive behavior on which filmmakers draw, and shape to their own artistic ends, as I discuss in an earlier blog here. But there is an influential idea in the history of film—part of the lore of film theory, exerting considerable influence among filmmakers—which holds that facial expression is at most of secondary importance in the way that films generate meaning and emotional impact. That idea is the “Kuleshov effect,” named after Lev Kuleshov, one of the heroic generation of Soviet filmmakers who put Soviet cinema at the forefront of the new medium in the 1920s. This vanguard introduced numerous innovations and inaugurated (alongside filmmakers and critics elsewhere in Europe). . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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