A brief look at some of Vsevolod Pudovkin's theories on editing as well as some examples from more recent movies.
If you're interested in reading some of Pudovkin's writings, his book "Film technique and Film acting: The Cinema Writings of V.I. Pudovkin" is available for free in PDF, Kindle, or EPUB format at the link below.
A shot-by-shot investigation of the three-way standoff at the climax of Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, revealing mathematical patterns, images of thought, and pure musical rhythm.
A video essay by Max Tohline, 2013. Dedicated to the editors, Eugenio Alabiso and Nino Baragli.
For educational use only. The content of this video is protected by the Academic Fair Use clause (Section 107) of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. For further information, see: copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf
If you would like to license this video for classroom use, please leave a comment or send me a private message.
Film Editor Margaret Sixel was given over 480 hours of footage to create MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. The final edit ran 120 minutes and consisted of 2700 individual shots. That's 2700 consecutive decisions that must flow smoothly and immerse the viewer. 2700 decisions that must guide and reveal the story in a clear and concise manner. One bad cut can ruin a moment, a scene or the whole film.
One of the many reasons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is so successful as an action film is the editing style. By using "Eye Trace" and "Crosshair Framing" techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot...the Center of the Frame. Because almost every shot was center framed, comprehending the action requires no hunting of each new shot for the point of interest. The viewer doesn't need 3 or 4 frames to figure out where to look. It's like watching an old hand-drawn flip book whiz by. It's always in the same spot!
It got me thinking about what the five best "punctuation marks" in film might look like. I wanted to assemble a video essay with a rapidfire list of nominees of great moments of editing-as-punctuation in film. But as I started putting it together, the project grew into a twofold piece: an analysis of and response to Schulz's article as well as an attempt to spur new insights about editing by examining it through the metaphor of punctuation.
So, here it is: 20 minutes long, clips from 100 films (101 if you count that Woody Allen quotes Duck Soup in Hannah and her Sisters), and, I hope, an inspiration to anyone else who loves film on a formal level and believes, as Bazin did, that the language of cinema isn't done being invented yet.
Thanks to Kathryn Schulz for sending me down this wonderful rabbit hole of thought, and to the editors (in order of their cuts): Sally Menke, Buster Keaton, Abel Gance, Yelizaveta Svilova & Dziga Vertov, Michael Snow, Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss, Harry Gerstad, William Reynolds & Peter Zinner, David E. Blewitt & Robert K. Lambert & David Newhouse, Sergei Eisenstein, Daniel Rezende, Valeriya Belova, Richard Pearson & Christopher Rouse, Lou Lombardo, Marguerite Beaugé & Carl Theodor Dreyer, George Tomasini, D.W. Griffith & James Smith & Rose Smith, Lev Kuleshov, Charles Chaplin & Willard Nico, Ron Fricke & Alton Walpole, Sam O'Steen, Edgar Adams & Edward L. Cahn, Ray Lovejoy, Siro Asteni, Anne V. Coates, Robert Wise, Susan E. Morse, LeRoy Stone, Ken Eluto, Spike Lee, Jerome Thoms, Lyudmila Feyginova, Peter Przygodda, Ferris Webster, Andrew Weisblum, Léonide Azar feat. Anton Walbrook, Alan Heim, Claudia Castello & Michael P. Shawver, Michal Leszczylowski & Andrei Tarkovsky, Ralph Rosenblum, William Hornbeck, Barbara McLean, William Chang & Kit-Wai Kai & Chi-Leung Kwong, Véronique Parnet, Kim Hyeon, Andreas Prochaska, Mary Sweeney, John Smith, Jolanda Benvenuti, Harold F. Kress & Argyle Nelson Jr. & J. Frank O'Neill, Florence Eymon, Nicholas T. Proferes, Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Yoshiyasu Hamamura, Cécile Decugis, Joe Bini, Robert Leighton, Milton Carruth, Jay Rabinowitz, Owen Marks, Ted Cheesman, George Tomasini (again), Blanche Sewell, Georges Méliès, Reginald Mills, Siv Lundgren, Thelma Schoonmaker (finally!), Kôichi Iwashita, Alex O'Flinn, Kirk Baxter, Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Chris Marker, Jean Ravel, Roderick Jaynes (Ethan and Joel Coen), Sharon Rutter, Miroslav Hájek, Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy, Melvin Van Peebles, Martin Arnold, Bruce Conner, Walter Murch & Richard Chew, and Yelizaveta Svilova & Dziga Vertov again. Plus unseen contributions from Jacqueline Sadoul, Jim Miller & Paul Rubell, Monique Bonnot, Ralph Foster & Stephen Perkins & Andrew Weisblum, Verna Fields, Jack Murray, Daniel Mandell, Françoise Collin, Solange Leprince, Patricia Canino, Nelly Quettier, Matt Chesse, George McGuire, John Seabourne Sr., Takis Davlopoulos & Giorgos Triandafyllou, and a few VFX teams, too.