Vera Kérchy: The When-Effect As the Presence of Theatricality in Erdély’s Oeuvre
The basic tenet of Vera Kérchy’s essay is that from Miklós Erdély’s oeuvre, two kinds of attitudes towards theater emerge: one is manifestly antagonistic, and can be considered as being in line with the montage theory that Erdély explicitly endorsed; in addition, there is a covert, sympathetic attitude as well, which coheres with another montage theory that undermines the foundational principles of the former theory.
The critical nature of montage derives from unusual juxtapositions, a move that requires the first step of decontextualization, during which the creator of the montage extracts “bits of reality” from the world. In the theoretical writings of Erdély, most likely, he condemns the “dishonest” world of the theater because its basic elements, the actors wearing a “mask” are always already in the state of disguising and pretense, so they cannot serve as “bits of reality” for the artist selecting the pieces of the montage.
Despite this, it seems as though certain cinematic scenes “enacted” the illusion-making mechanism of theatricality. Through the specific cinematic examples and a rereading of montage theory, a new form of the theory emerges, one that is attracted to the pretense-reality of theatricality for the very reason that it models the forever-inaccessibility of “bits of reality”, indicating that things are always already in a state of disguise. Viewed from this perspective, everything is already montage, but it cannot be tracked back to where the bits had been pieced together and where the fracture generating tension within the montage is located.
The essay closes by demonstrating the workings of the covert montage theory and of the unlocatable montage through an analysis of Erdély’s film Version.