Editing as Punctuation in Film

A video essay by Max Tohline:

In January 2014 Kathryn Schulz published an article in Vulture called “The Five Best Punctuation Marks in Literature.”

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.

See also

  • Film School’d on movie editingIn less than 7 minutes (and plenty of cuts), we’ll show you just how important editing is to the creation of film: from the first stop trick to today.
  • Pudovkin’s 5 Editing Techniques — A brief look at some of Vsevolod Pudovkin’s theories on editing as well as some examples from more recent movies.
  • The Editing of MAD MAX: Fury Road — 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.

(via kottke.org)

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