In 1918, Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov edited a short film of meaningful images (a bowl of soup, a woman, a girl in a coffin) and actor Ivan Mosjoukine’s emotional reactions (hunger, desire, grief) to these shots.
Audiences praised Mosjoukine’s ability to convey complex emotions in his performance.
The kicker? Mosjoukine’s reaction was the same shot every time. This phenomenon of context-based emotion was coined the Kuleshov Effect.
The Kuleshov Effect illustrates that emotion can be a product of editing, applying to both live action and animated narratives. What we see is as much a matter of proximity as content.