Ivan Mozzhukhin’s Acting Style

Beyond the Kuleshov Effect

in Projections
Restricted access

Abstract

While the Russian film actor Ivan Mozzhukhin has been recognized by film scholars such as Jean Mitry as one of the important actors of the silent screen the nature of his contributions has gone unexplained and, ironically, Mozzhukhin is perhaps best remembered for a lost experiment, presumably carried out by Lev Kuleshov around 1920, that showed how the editor can construct character emotions with shots of contextual objects. The historical record and scientific attempts to replicate the experiment indicate that we need to pay attention to Mozzhukhin’s role as performer and my study of his performances suggests that we may have to rethink long-held assumptions about the relationship between performer expressiveness and editing.

Contributor Notes

Johannes Riis is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He has published extensively on issues of film acting, including a monograph (Spillets kunst: Følelser i film), articles in numerous journals and anthologies, including Cinema Journal, Projections, and The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. A member of the Board of Directors at The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image since 2005, he is currently writing a book on film acting styles between 1920 and 1980. Email: johriis@hum.ku.dk

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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