Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Killers: Editing Made Hard

When I teach, my main goal is to take complex ideas and make them much more difficult.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I try to demystify, and I try to clarify, and I try to put things into a framework people can work with and understand. I want to deliver a comprehensible version of difficult material. I just don't think the idea of "making things simple" is very helpful, especially in editing.

Tomorrow I have to teach my editing class at Bronx Community College. I'm going to be looking into how the same scene can be shot and edited in completely different ways. I'm showing three scenes from films that use Ernest Hemingway's short story "The Killers" as basic source material:

The Killers (1946)
Ubiytsy (1958)
The Killers (1964)

It's a great opportunity to demonstrate that the mechanics of filmmaking -- shot selection, camera movement and editing -- are malleable in the hands of artists. The same scene, made into three very different experiences by the choices of the director and editor.

(These are all available on the Criterion Collection disk below.)

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