Unreal Nature

May 7, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:50 am

… if they work, they feel organic … and therefore invisible.

This first is from the interview with Susan E. Morse found in Selected Takes: Film Editors On Editing by Vincent LoBrutto (1991):

[ … ]

How much impact can editing have on the style of a film?

Godard has always been given enormous credit for his audacity in using jump cuts in Breathless. I would be very surprised to hear that he began shooting the film with that thought in mind. I would much more readily believe that he and his editor threw caution to the winds in the cutting room in an effort to solve pacing problems, because it made emotional and philosophical sense in that picture to break the traditional rules of filmmaking. I don’t know this for a fact, but I do know that such stylistic elements often evolve in the cutting room rather than spring full-grown from an auteur’s mind. By the same token, if editing solutions work to the point of being truly seamless, it is entirely possible that no one will see through them and therefore no credit will be given for them.

Woody and I had a good chuckle over a comment someone made in a recent screening to the effect that the film looked as though it had been shot that way, that nothing had been discarded and reshot or in any way reworked — this on a film where the reshoots ultimately comprised forty percent of the final film and where the climactic scene had not even been a part of the original script. As is the case with most of Woody’s films, the editing solutions overlap to such a degree with rewrites and reshoots that it would be more correct simply to call them postproduction solutions and not attempt to pigeonhole them more exactly. The point remains, if they work, they feel organic to the film and therefore invisible.

The following is from the book’s interview with Carol Littleton:

[ … ]

Jerry Greenberg told me that films are details and details within details. Do you agree, and how does this affect the film editor?

Yes, and it’s exponential. It grows and grows. As you narrow the film down, the detail becomes more and more dense. I think editors absolutely have to be detail-oriented. You have to realize that each solitary detail counts. There are so many things that can go wrong.

[ … ]

Where do you think film editing is going as a craft?

… So many young filmmakers spend so much time on style and not actually on what they have to say that a lot of movies simply don’t work because they are just style, just acrobatics. I hate to see that happen. I have a feeling that what we’re seeing coming into film by way of MTV is largely experimentation; it will find its level. What’s good about it we’ll keep, and what isn’t will be culled out. Editing is like everything else. It’s a reflection of how people think about their times and how we react to the medium. You can look at a film made in the 1960s and know if it was made in 1963 or 1969. Editing is a lively art and it changes with the seasons. So we’re always going to have something new and something unusual coming up.

My most recent previous post from LoBrutto’s book is here.




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