directed by: Lev Kuleshov


IMDB link:

Submitted by Viktorija Eksta on 2008-10-07

Viktorija Eksta's comment:
This is a movie by Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov. At the time, when it was made, sound technologies were quite an innovation in Soviet cinema, so this is an early Soviet talky. I have done the measurment in 3 categories: for talking part, silent part and title credits. Film is based on the story "A retrieved reformation" by O. Henry that is combined with an inprisonment incident from his own biography. Film consists of episodes envolving different genres- melodrama, biopic, drama and musical performance. So it would be interesting to do the generic statistics for this film.

Number of shots:
MSL 3.2 5.3 5.9
StDev 5.2 10.9 15.3
Min 0.1 0.5 0.9
Max 35.4 82.6 115.1
CV 1.06 1.22 1.97

Step: Vertical resolution: Height:
Degree of the trendline: Moving average : Color code?

Users' comments:

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-10-19

Take a look at the trendline at Degree 6. It's a textbook-classical curve of a well-made and well-edited film. Is this by chance? By no means, Vika, by no means... Remember I told you to look up Kuleshov's 1941 textbook "Osnovy kinorezhissury"? It may be easier to do than it seems, for a reprint of this book appeared in Moscow in 1995. This book was used by generations

Kuleshov's textbook contains Chapter 4 called "Kadr i montazh." Now, what I want you to do, calit, is to look into the book and figure out if Kuleshov the director was abiding by the rules which Kuleshov the teacher laid out for his students.  There is much about editing rhythm in this book, about editing-cum-sound, and a whole sub-chapter on the length of a shotdepending on what it's about (p. 272--), etc.

So -- your task: read Kuleshov's film against Kuleshov's book.

Author: Date: 2008-10-19

I will get this book and other Kuleshov's works next week from the cinema museum (it was a surprise for me that a complete catalogue of national libraries offers only one book about Kuleshov in English and none of his writings), but on the internet I got an electronic version of the book "Кинематографическое наследие. Л. В. Кулешов. Статьи Материалы. Приход в кино. Кинохроника. Фильм „На Красном фронте". Исследования, статьи „Фильмы без пленки". Педагогические разработки „Мистер Вест." , so I am reading it now. It is published in 1979 by "Искусство" in Moscow. It mostly consists of writings of Kluleshov mixed with memories of his wife and other contemporaries.



Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-10-20

I submitted my entry for year thesis with a topic, that I formulated  "Ļeva Kuļešova kino valoda", but I was a bit puzzled with an accurate Englis translation for  this topic. Is "Lev's Kuleshov's film language" accurate enough?

I decided to make such formulation because it gives more free space to explore and make conclusions. I got all his movies except  "The Project of Engineer Prite" on the internet, so now it is an active movie watching phase.

Author: Date: 2008-11-15

in his book Kuleshov writes about relationship between two types of rhytm-  rhytm of movie's metric stucture (that is what cinemetrics works on) and rhythm of in-shot movement. If I uderstood corectly, you and your colleague Heidi Heftberger are working on checking hypothesis of  a shot lenght and in shot movement correlation in MVMC. Kuleshow writes, that if film is divided in beats, than every beat has to have it's stress point  (ударный момент) that is marked with expressive shot (close-up or some kind of visible action) and with regular repetition of this metrical beats the overall effect of a movie is created (these rhytmical stuctures work as a kind of pendulum in hypnosis session to make a spectator plunge into a world f movie.) So what I am going to do next? I want to try to divide movie into beats and mark stress points. That could be helpful in discovering the structure of in shot rhytm and to check it's correlation with metric structure of movie.

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-11-15

When we met in Riga you told me about an article about building city symphny movies based on MWMC. Unfortunatly I do not remember the name of the author. Maybe it is possible for you to email me this article, I would like to read it!

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-11-17

Take a look at

This is the essay I meant.

More on your comments tomorrow


Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-11-17

Viktorija, sorry if I droped the ball.  Here are a few answers that address your queries. "Lev's Kuleshov's film language" is a good subject for your course work, a wee wide, but if wide is what your school expects a student to write on it is fine.  The main thing, your text should not become too general.

It is not clear which book by Kuleshov you used (references to sources -- you'll need those for your final text, why not do it right away?). The book I suggested actually goes into more detail. Before doing another Cinemetrics measurement, try to find out examples for Kuleshov's theory in his own film. Take one sequence, parhaps, and imagine that you are Kuleshov teaching his students how to edit using his own VU as an example.


Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-11-21

Thanks for advice, Yuri! This was a topic that Inga suggested when I explained her my interests. The book I am using is collected works of Kuleshov in 3 volumes (published by "Iskusstvo" in 1987) which include most of his publised works, also "Praktika kinorezhissuri", scripts, notes and some drawings. While reading I became interested in two aspects of his theory- the rhytm of cutting rate and rhytm of in shot movement. These two points are highlighted as important narrative means that affect spectator's perception of a movie, so they go well along with my topic.

Kuleshov wrote that cutting rate depends on:

1) Complexity of shot composition (the simplier the composition, the faster is cutting). This point has to do with in-shot movement. Kuleshov wrote that a message of a shot can be well received by audience if an in-shot movement follows certain trends of spatial location. The change of these trands is in time and that creates an in-shot movement rhytm.

2) The semantic task of the sequence. Sequences with diferent actions and moods must have diferent cutting rate.

So, to discover Kuleshow's method better and to understand how his theory of cutting rate, in-shot movement rhytm and spatial location of movement works practicaly, I am going to try to discover how the ideal Kuleshov's sequnce is built by taking 3 seqeunces of particular moods- (dramatic, comic and action)  from 3 movies and draw shot by shot the trends of in shot movement (as I understood from reading and watching, he did a lot in calculating these trends) and see how the cutting rate works in these sequnces (this is the job I gave myself for following weekend). What do you think of this idea?

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-11-22

A good plan, sirsnin, a good plan. That's the spirit. Do this to begin with, but never give up. Yes, the Practice of Film Directing which Kuleshov wrote in1934 and published in 1935 (reprinted in Vol. 1 of his Collected Works) works with your film and matches its release date well, yet that other book I mentioned, called Foundations of Film Directing [Osnovy kinorezhissury] published in 1941 has 463 pages, 567 drawings and graphs and goes into more details about how editing works. It is true, it is hard to get in Riga, perhaps, but then, for a cinemetrician, such obstacles hardly exist. If you talk to the ILL (interlibrary loan, SBA in Latvian) in either the National or the Academic library in Riga they'll order the book from Moscow if they don't have it. Runats-darits? 

Author: Heidi Heftberger to Viktorija and Yuri Date: 2008-11-23

I just discovered this interesting discussion going on here.  I don't want to interfere, only to listen in awe and learn from it.

Yuri, the link you provided ( did not work for me, can you check again please? Maybe I made a mistake. And as for the book you mention by Kuleshov, I guess it will be even harder to order it from Austria...well, I  might also have a look. The only book I have here is "Kuleshov on film" (ed. by Ronald Levaco, 1974) and I haven't read it yet.

Viktorija, I would be interested in why you chose these three categories in the first place (silent, talking, title), because the result is really interesting (yes, I just had it redrawn in colour). Would you mind explaining a little bit why it is like that - this silent huge "block" in the middle? Forgive my ignorance, I cannot remember too well, but there is also music in it, right? Where does that go?

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-11-23

Interfere? This is exactly what these comment boxes are about. We have a saying in Latvian, somewhat chilling, but worth quoting: no coffin ever stays long empty (correct, Viktorija? That's how it translates?).

How could you help being interested in this conversation, Heidi -- you have such an excellent copy of this film at the OeFM archive you work for, alongside f good number of other Kuleshov's films. At one point Viktoria may want to visit Vienna and see more of them. As an additional tip to you (pray stay with us, Heidi, baby) -- there is also a script of VU included in Kuleshov's Collected Works.

The link you complained about, Heidi, works fine, try again. It is to "Spatial dialectics: montage and spatially organised narrative in stories without human leads" by Stavros Alifragkis, whom you and I know. In fact, if you ask Barbara to ask Stavros' permission to add the text of his essay to Cinemetrics it can be done. (By the way, how is Barbara and her newborn son? Feeding well? Growing big?)

In the worst case scenario, I have the much coveted book by Kuleshov, though I cannot bring myself to spend the time it needs to scan it at the machine. It's so thick, could kill a horse, to use another saying, this time from Russian.

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-11-25

Dear Heidi, I am happy that you have joined the conversation. The atmosphere here is getting vivid! I also read your discussions about MWMC and find them useful to me. I will try to answer your questions. I have chosen to measure the movie by citeria of sound because it seemed the most logical and convienient way that actualy followed from the stucture of this movie- it is constructed as sound movie with a silent movie inside. Sound movie depicts life of writer in prison and his reader and a silent movie- a  luscious story written by writer (O' Henry). At the time, when Kuleshov made this movie sound was still an experimental feature in Soviet cinema, so he wrote a lot about part of the sound in creation of film's language and about dificulties connected with sound editing (in "Praktika kino rezhissuri"). Why is the silent sequnce cut almost twice faster and has twice smaller standart deviation than a sound sequnce does? I think that rapid cutting is one of the devices Kuleshov used to underline the contast of two depicted wolds- world of the story vs reality. The silent sequnce concentates a lot of events in a relatively small screen time, so it has a very concentrated action. The fast cutting adds more speed and rhythm to the fast changing events hence works in achieving the effect of maximal concentation of action. This sequnce might be a stylization of an American silent action movie. Kuleshov was in love with American cinema- vesterns, action movies and Chaplin because of the thrilling action in there and he wrote that rapid cutting is the impotant method in achieving it (it is his American cutting theory), but I must check with other movies from data base to prove this assumption. The silent sequnce is made in unrealistic manner unlike the more realistic sound sequnce which does not employ any undiegetic sound. So only the sound sequence has music. What is interesting about the music in the movie? I read that it has been composed based on the score of movement that is depicted in the sequnce. So it can somehow help in exploeing the rhytms in the movie. I should examine this aspect more. I hope that I have somewhat answered to you questions. It is very nice to have some questions asked because this is the best way to start doing some thinking!

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-11-25

About a book- the seach of book poved to be fuitless in a snowy Riga, so I'll go to libary to try this ILL method which I never used before. There are also still some buerocatical problems left to be faced for me to acsess the movie fom the Smerlis achive. I hope that next week this will be completly solved.

I have made manual measurments and creation of trends of in shot movement which proved to be quite interesting. Tomorow my neighbour, who proved to be smart in statistics will try to remind me some details about converting these things into digital graphs, so that it could be possible to share my results with you.

About a link: for me it worked, but there was only an abstact of an article. In did the signing in and overlooked the online version of the issue, but the aticle proved not to be there. It's location is quite confusing.

Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-11-25

About the music score in the film- I was a bit wrong, because some music appears also in the sound sequence- there are few shots acommpanied with the mourning  sad music where Jimmy Valentine's cell mates are depicted. The music alternates with expressive sound of hearse and when action in the cell transforms in the rebellion against the guards, the music composition changes into fast and dramatic one. The sequnce of the rebellion has the most concentrated action in all the sound part of the movie.

Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-11-25

while trying to describe the interaction of music and action in the sequnce of the rebellion I made some shotnotes and understood, that there is some uncorectness in the measurment of the film, so I measured the sequnce by use of sound in it.  I will try to insert the graph in here (never done this, so I am not sure how will it look like when located in the comment)

Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-11-25

Author: Date: 2008-11-25

yellow- silent shot

beige- shot with mourning music

red- sound of hearse

pink- sound of steps

purple- the fast dramatic music score (the rebellion is in progress in this time)

in the last beige shot the alternation of music (mourning/ dramatic) takes place hand in hand with alternation of action

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-11-30

Good idea, Vikucit. Why?

Because Kuleshov himself used to make suchlike graphs. I scanned one for you from that 1941 book by Kuleshov you are trying in vain to find in Riga.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-11-30

It's quite big, isn't it?

1) Do you think you could give the idea of what it does for those of us whose Russian is not as good as yours?

2) How does Kulesho'v graph relate to yours and his film practice?

Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-12-02

Dear Yuri! Thanks for inserting the graph, it seems just the right thing. I got some good news- today after lasting search the book was found in Latvia and it arrived to the National library.

So, I will try to explain the graph to non-russian speakers. It depicts the use of sound in the sequnce of a movie ("Victory" by Vsevolod Pudovkin, I read that in the "Osnovi kino rezhissuri" today). In the upper row of numbers in the chart are the shot numbers, lower row of digits describes the shot lengt in seconds. So every numbered column labels one shot. Four rows marked with names are the categories of sound that are used in the sequnce. These categories are:

1) Music

2) Noises

3) Dialogue

4) Pause

The shaded cell depicts the category of sound that is used in the specific shot (we see that the content of chart is a bit similar to advanced cinemetrics statistical graph when sequnce is measured by use of sound).

The segmented trendline in the upper part of the picture informs about the development of the cadence in the sequnce. In the point "X" cadence reaches it's maximum and is accompanied with the distant sounds of trumphet. The hemispherical curves in the line matches with places where the spoken words interrupt music. The line in the lower part of the picture informs about the footage of the sound track. We can see that this line is cut or disrupted in the places of modification of the sound category.  The good thing on the graph that we can see the accurate place of overlapping of diferent sound categories.

Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-12-03

On the graph we can see only the relation of the cutting rate and the use of sound. What can we say about the structure of this sequence based on this information and knowing that the graph is made by Kuleshov? I have never seen this movie, so I will try to do the reading from the graph. We can see that the sequnce depicts a developing action (because the trendline of music goes up and the cutting gets faster) in the shot 120 the action reaches it's peak, the pause follows and the new event beginns. The shot 120 must be the strongest stress point of the sequnce (if we keep in mind  that Kuleshov divided his films in beats to create a proper rhythm). So the part of the sequnce before shot 120 is an action part, but after that  follows the calmer respite. I am not sure about shot number 114- it is 10 seconds long, but in the chart it is divided in 20 equal parts. This division might be made due to some kind of repeatable rhytmical in-shot movement and serve as a metronom of a movement. But to see all the other stress points of the sequence, it is not enough of information. To do it, we must know more about the in-shot movement and the gradation of shots. In the book Kuleshov writes about 8 parameters that must be followed when editing the movie and building it's rhytmical score of the movie and 5 of the have to do with movement

This type of graph must be good to ilustrate the relation of cutting rhythm, in-shot movement  rhythm and spatial location of the movement. Because I have started to do this kind of research, but I was confused in finding the way of illustration.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-07

Good for you, Vikucit, all this makes sense and clarifies the graph.

One should also pay attention to the fact that here the length of each shot is rendered visually by the legth of the graph cell; so you can actually see the rhythm of the sequence: the finer the "fence," the faster the cutting.

What you can also see at a glance is that the musical "cadency" representes by the line above the graph does not coinside with the frequence of the "fence." The climax is music falls on the longest take in the sequence (11 seconds).

What was the terms Societ filmmakers used for devices like this, Viktorija? Right: they called it the "audio-visual counter-point".

The graph is not merely a teaching aid; as Kuleshov explains in his textbook, Podovkin used to draw suchlike diagrams and hang them on the wall of the cutting room as he was editing films.

And you are right -- the tempo of in-shot movements is important to assess the overall rhythm of this or that sequence. In fact we know something already about this, remember?

Go to comments under Man with a Movie Camera (Motion type data redone): (6) ASL 2.3 to learn about the Heftberger Correlation dicussed under the graph.

Yes, Viktorija, Victory (1938) is not an easy film to see, but is survives  at Gosfilmofond in Moscow -- it's a movie about a strato-plane's crush-landing in the polar ocean and the rescue team that saves the crew.

Author: Heidi to Viktorija and Yuri Date: 2008-12-09

I am following my quest of finding that Kuleshov book, will be hard. So I am very envious of you ;-)

Another short remark (I would like to hang around here more in this discussion, also because I can enjoy me being simply a "guest" here): It would be really nice to locate the actual sequence in the movie, so see the "real Film" and the "diagram". Is that the only one of this movie?

And Viktorija: You said "This type of graph must be good to ilustrate the relation of cutting rhythm, in-shot movement  rhythm and spatial location of the movement.", what do you mean with spatial location of the movement?


Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-12-11

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-12-11

So, now I will try to comment the strange looking graph above that I created inspired by the Kuleshov's graph on sound editing that Yuri submitted some time ago. So this is the graph is an attempt to understand more about relation of cutting rhythm, in-shot movement  rhythm and spatial location of the movement.

It depicts the same rebellion sequnce. As we see, the first row is a shot number, the last one the shot lenght and the width of cells is rendered by length of each shot (like Kuleshov did it), the rows between are categories of Shot Scale from Barry Salt's article that is on cinemetrics.

The colored cells show us where on the Shot Scale shot is located. Why are there diferent colours? I used them to ilustrate speed of in-shot movement, similar to what Heidi and Yuri did on MWMC. All this sequnce is shot using static camera, so only speed of in shot movement differs.

Now I'll provide the legend for colours:

  Still frames
  Slow naturally
  Normal naturally
  Fast naturally

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-12-11

I used the category "slow naturally" because this distinction of speed is quite noticable.

Why are all these arrows and lines in the cells? That has to do with the spatial location of movement. Kuleshov wrote, that the composition of shot should be as simple as possible and that every shot has a dominating inner direction- horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

If the trends of direction of in-shot composition is not distinctive, then it is difficult for spectator to perceive the information that it has to deliver. So I decided to notify  the direction of the inner movement in shot (that what arrows do here)

Lines in the still shots, where no movement take place depict the dominant direction of lines in the shot composition.

I thought that this kind of information could help in discovering more about inner shot rhytm in the movie (to divide it in beats and discover the shots that are so-called "stress points". As we remember stress point is a distinctive shot in the beat- different by scale, by active in-shot movement etc.

I am not so sure about it at the moment, I probably have to take a little pause and check more with the book. It would be good to do this sequnce frame-by -frame one day, because the rebellion scene is cut enourmously fast.

I started to do search on "Victory" movie on the internet, but probably no pirate yet has digitalized this Gosfilmfond's treasure!



Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-12-11

little update on graph- shot nr 11 is done with moving camera, but I am not sure if in this case camera movement affects in-shot movement. I think that the next sequnces to take a closer look on will be an arrest of James Valentine in the silent part of the movie and fight scenes from other movies.

Author: Yuri to Viktorija and Heidi Date: 2008-12-12

You are both amazing, my heart melts. Heidi, don't feel you are a guest anywhere, this is how the place is designed, to be home for all who care.

And clearly, looking at what you have done so far, the is not this home is not one for the old and the disabled.

Heidi, what do you say looking and Viktoria's graph does the Heftberger Correlation work for the above sequence from Kuleshov?

Looking ar the colors alone it seems to. You may want to ask your sister, Veronika Johanna, to do the math for you.

The graph looks beautiful, Veronika, very stylish, much like Kuleshov's own, and even, as Gunars' mother said when I showed it to her,

a little like a painting by Mark Rothko  -- an artist born in the no too far from your own native village.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-13

Two thoughts on Viktorija's diagrams with arrows.

Much like Heidi and I discovered earlier on a propos Man with a Movie Camera, shots with no movement in them may not necessarily be the longest  ones in terms of duration.

This is understandable: when nothing happens in the shot it is harder for it to sustain our attention. But let's see what numbers will say.

Note also that the fast-moving shots (little red squares at the right-hand flank of the diagram) show a tendency to become tighter scaled as the riot evolves.

This is also for a clear reason: as the viewer gets to knows does what Kuleshov feels he can afford to shift from figures  to details.

Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-12-14

One of the shots without inner movement is the shot numeber nine, the longest shot in the sequnce.

How is it possible for this shot to sustain our attention and tell new information about what is going on?

The shot is a close up of a black prisoner, all 20 seconds we see his face, where some micromovement actualy take place-

his eye lids tremble and we can notice that he is breathing heavily, but the main reason, for the lenght of this shot is the use of sound in it.

The first half of shot is silent, but in the middle of it  the sound of hearse is introduced. Sound dramatizes the visual picture, we start to notice

new emotions on the prisoners face, it seems that his fear becomes stronger and rage is starting to evolve.

So we see, that it is a dramaturgical structure of the shot, that movivates it's leght.  Can the point of introduction of hearse sound be called audiovisual counterpoint, that Yuri had already mentioned in a comment above?

The perception of our shot would be completely different, if other sound instead of hearse sound would be introduced, we would read other emotions on a prisoners face,

different sound in the shot could work like different pictures connected with Mozzuhin's face in famous Kuleshov's experiment.


Author: Viktorija to Yuri and Heidi Date: 2008-12-14

Comparison of graph with Marko Rotko's painting seemed quite amusing to me. I am familiar with his work, although not realy his admirer. Recently his museum was opened in Daugavpils (that is the name of his native village)

I wanted to write the thing I noticed, when I tried to find and explanation, why are first still shots so long, is that they actualy work as one division, but the shot nr 4 is a begining of a new division that Kuleshov would call tact, borrowing the term from the music.

So number 4 is a first stress point of a new tact. Stress points in the sequnce are shots number  4-9-13-19. On the graph we can see, that the distance between two stress points is similar.

Similar distance on the graph equals similar lenght of  film in metres.

Comparison of graph with Marko Rotko's painting seemed quite amusing to me. I am familiar with his work, although not realy his admirer. Recently his museum was opened in Daugavpils (that is the name of his native village)

I wanted to write the thing I noticed, when I tried to find and explanation, why are first still shots so long, is that they actualy work as one division, but the shot nr 4 is a begining of a new division that Kuleshov would call tact, borrowing the term from the music.

So number 4 is a first stress point of a new tact. Stress points in the sequnce are shots number  4-9-13-19. On the graph we can see, that the distance between two stress points is similar.

Similar distance on the graph equals similar lenght of  film in metres.

This is made after a Kuleshov's book, so I add a picture from a chapter about editing rhythm for those, who do not have a book.

Every next tact introduces the new stage in the direction of strenghtening of rage, we move from passivity to activity.

Shot number 19 signalizes a beginning of total activity- a riot has started. It's fast cutting does not allow us to trace the rhythm so easy,






Author: Heidi to Viktorja and Yuri Date: 2008-12-16

Your diagram looks amazing. I am especially inpressed with the lot of information that is in your sketch: It captures the shots, the movement within the shot AND the direction and in addition to that the Shot Scale. It is very clever way of including a lot of observations.

A question though: Is your category "Still Frames" the same as our "No Movement"? Was there a special reason for naming it like that? I may be already too obsessed with MMWC, because I am instantly thinking about Freeze Frames when I hear Still Frames.

And I see that you also came across something, that I was also thinking about when annotating the different movement types, it is really crucial where we make a difference - is micromovement a movement? Is it more about WHAT is moving and not so much about how much of the things in the frame is moving? Take for example a scene in MWMC: A shot where you see a landscape, trees are moving in the wind in the distance, apart form that everything is static, also the camera. We decided to tag this "No Movement", because clearly Vertov meant this as a sort of prologue, an exposition only. So of course it is also about the content and interpretation of the story, when it comes to measuring it. For our project partners here in vienna, the Software Department, it is only about pixels which move, how many and where to. This is in my eyes also the weakness of this automatized method, because it misleads. This is just to add to the difficult task of annotating movement.

Another question to the "length of shots": 9,5 would mean meters, right? Have you thought about giving frames?

And: Sometimes there are arrows and sometimes only lines. What is the difference? Apart from that I would be interested in what is happening in Shot Number 16, since this is a short shot with slow movement.

And a last remark about the colours: I personally would have chosen yellow for Still Frames and then going on with Slow in Turquoise, Natural in Blue and Fast in Red. This is only a suggestion, because looking at it I see myself always going back to the legend and read what the colours stand for. You could say it is a remark on an intended immediate understanding of a diagram in general. Yuri, what would you say in this, thinking so much about inherant perceptions of humans?



Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-16

A quick clarification. What Viktorija meant by "frames" is what we call "shots" in English ("Kadr" in Latvian and Russian).

"Frame" is a misnomer, what she had in mind is exactly what you called "No motion" in your MWMC study.

Author: Viktorija to Heidi and Yuri Date: 2008-12-18

Thanks for the comments! Yuri is right, I mistyped the category "still frames", the right name for this category would be "no motion shots". There are no freeze frames in this movie.

Heidi, have you seen this movie and any other movies by Kuleshov?

Unfortunatly, the measurment of  this movie is not done frame by frame because it's copy on film is not available in Latvia.

The only Kuleshov's movie that is on film here is his first movie, "The project of engeneer Prite" (1918) and next Monday I will finaly have a chance to do some work on it. I do my study using dvd's downloaded from the internet. For now it is the only option, but I am seeking for an oportunity to work on Kuleshov's film prints for nearest future (hopefuly this summer). It is important  because I want to write my bachelor thesis about his work next year.

So, the shot lenght is lenght in seconds (I probably had to use a word "duration").

I agree with you that assessing micromovement is a confusing thing.  In this situation it is important to look on the shot in context. Most confusing for me are mimic movements in big close-ups. Can the change of eyeball's position be considered as a movement?  In the normal situation this mimic movement is never fast, but the slightest changes in the speed express much about person's mood.

Is it possible to join automatized method of annotating movement with a work of human observer? That would be a great solution. Machines are more precise in counting work, but fortunately people are better in assesing things in context.

The shot 16 is a big close-up of a black prisoner (his close-ups are no motion shots number 9 and 13 ). In these 3 shots we see the development of his emotions. In first two shots his head is in still position, we see only micromovents in his face, but in the shot number 16 his head slowly goes in the direction to right upper corner. In the next  shot we see the continuation of this movement- his full starture in a slow somnambulic way moves towards a cell mate. As you can see, I used the movement of a head to asses the speed, not the mimic micromovement.  I think that Kuleshov considered first two close-ups to be no motion shots.

Arrows in the graph show the direction of in-shot movement, but lines without arrows mark overall direction of  lines that create composition of a shot. This category is for non motion shots and slow movement shots, where the direction of movement is not distinctive. I decided to use it because Kuleshov in his theory wrote how shot composition works in creation of movie's rhythm and in the perception of the movie by spectator.

My opinion of colour perception is that colours, that are considered cold are related with image of low energy, so they are good to denotate stillness. As we know from nature- the higher is the temperature of a system, the higher its internal energy. Kinetic energy is gained by acceleration of speed. This process is often connected with an increase of temperature.  So it could be good to enhance the warmth of  denotative colour when mark the acceleration of speed.  According to this theory, ideal combination of colours from the legend would be:  blue for no motion, purple for slow motion, yellow for natural and red for fast.


Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-19

Your color choices, Viktorija, coincide with Kandinsky's -- as expressed in his Reminiscences and On the Spritual in Art.

Briefly about the print. If you want your data to be more exact, you can digitize a DVD of Velikiy Uteshitel and use one of the software editing systems to record cuts and send the result to Gunars to submit.

You will find plenty of recipies how to do this in Barry Salt's essay posted on "Cinemetrics Studies" and on the Discussion board under "How to make cinemetrics automatic?"

Actually, I have a DVD of a print preserved at Heidi's Film Museum in Vienna -- a working low quality transfer, but good enough to detect cuts.

As the the DVD you can have it soon enough. I am leaving Riga for Moscow tonight but you are in Riga and read this soon enough you can try to catch me at the Riga railroad station around 6 pm, by carriage # 9, I'll have it ready for you. If not, I return in 10 days.

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-12-19

Dear Yuri,  I read your coment just now- at the moment when the train has just left,  so I only can wish you to have a nice trip. I will be happy to meet you and get a dvd after you return back to Riga!

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-19

You are very fortunate, because with all that snow and traffic I was late for the train. I'll try again tomorrow, see what happens -- but just in case the same thing happens again -- better wait till I return on Dec 29.

Author: Viktorija Date: 2008-12-20

For my transport snow and traffic jams are not an obstacle- I stil ride my bike. So I can try to see you tomorow because I am not sure that on 29th I will be in Riga.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-20

I'll go for the 4:20 train now. Not taking any chances. Will give you the car # when I have the ticket in hand

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-20

Got it. 4:20, car # 6. Will try to be on the platform some 15 minutes beforehand this time. I'll have the DVD just in case, but this is clearly not the best weather for biking, so feel free to stay at home, I'll get the disk to you somehow.


Author: Viktorija Eksta Date: 2008-12-30

Dear Yuri, thanks for the dvd. The digitalization went on succesfuly and now I am working on creating a precise measurment of  "Velikij uteshitelj" in Adobe Premiere editing programme.

It looks quite promising, specially for all the very fast cut  fight sequences of movie. It would be good to examine early works of Kuleshov this way because they are cut

much faster- if  ASL in "Velikij uteshitelj" is 7.5 seconds, than in "Mr. West" it is 4.3 seconds, in  "By the law" 4.1 sec and in "Death ray" 3.6. sec and

in all of these movies the fight scenes are number one in speed of cutting, I think that they deserve a closer look (I incline to say that fight scenes were Kuleshov's speciality particularly in years when he worked with his collective)

Yeasterday I sent to Gunars results of my frame-by-frame measurment of Kuleshov's first movie "Project of engeneer Prite", so hopefully we will soon get some

visible results. They seem to be interesting because as we all know from cinemetrics starting page,  this was the movie that indicated changes of editing tempo of Russian cinema from slowest in the world to the fastest.

I can give you back the dvd if  you are still in Riga, I will be there from 1st of January.  I also wanted to ask, if  you have D. Crafton's book "The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound,

1926- 1931"  because I realy want to read it, but it was impossible to find it  anywhere in Latvia. Laimīgu jauno gadu!


Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2008-12-30

Good for you, Viktorija, keep the DVD.

Your plan of digitizing the complete oeuvre by Kuleshov is not a theoretical fiction, it's doable. The thing is, a complete Kuleshov retrospective took place this summer in Bologna, and the archives involved made DVD's for most of his films.

And yest, Kuleshov loved staging fights, and he did cut them fast.

I have Crafton's book on my shelf in Chicago. Try to get our Nacionala biblioteka loan it from another one in Europe, they have web resources to find the closest fit.

Laimīgu jauno gadu to you too, which to those who decide to learn Latrvian online means Happy New Year!


Author: Heidi Date: 2008-12-31

Viktorija - how did you do the digitalization? Which program did you use?

And I hope you gonna make it to Vienna sometime next year: As Yuri said, we have a lot of Kuleshov movies to see.

guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

Author: Viktorija to Heidi and Yuri Date: 2009-02-11

Hallo again on cinemetrics! Some good news from Riga. During a month of absence I have passed exams, gained a scolarship to for cinema and art studies to Sicily for 2 semester starting from mid- March

and made measurments on DVD of "Velikij uteshitelj" that Yuri has kindly provided. I used Final Cut Pro software for work and results are already sent to Gunars,

so I hope that very soon we will get the new chart and also chart for "Engeneer Prite Project". One thing that surprised me was quite big diference in total shot number- in digitalized

version there are more than 20 shots less. I am not sure, that I managed to make so many phantom shots with cinemetrics tool, so I'll probably better check if there is any difference between

copy of movie that I got from the internet and the one Yuri gave me.

At the moment I am doing the digitalization and measurments of fight scenes from his movies and writng the first part of my work on Kuleshov- that is about relation between Bauer's and Kuleshov's cinematic languages.

We all know that Kuleshov started his career in cinema at Bauer's studio and later in his first independent works he became an opposite extreme not only in terms of cutting tempo, but also in use of other cinematic devices. 

But there are some movies from the middle of his career that are not availiable for me (his first sound feature "Gorizont" is one of them), so if any are in Vienna than I am very keen to come and do a research on them.

It is possible for me to come in Summer, on my way back to Latvia and stay for some days. So, dear Heidi, I want to ask you, what do I need to get to know about movies that are availiable

and also what should I do come and see them (if there are any kind of formalities that should be fixed etc.)

Now I am writing So, dear Heidi, I would like to


Author: Heidi to Viktorija Date: 2009-02-23

Hello there!

Sorry for the late answer. Viktorija: Here is my email address for further arrangements:

Congratulations also on your scholarship!

So I am gonna be very brief here, let's discuss the filmarchive related things via email and I will have a look at your new submissions.

Best, Heidi


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