There is a YouTube video of Werner Herzog onstage during a university Q&A. One student asks the veteran filmmaker: ‘What advice would you give young filmmakers like me?’ Herzog’s answer is simple, ‘READ!’ I would say that 80% of the job of an offline editor is not spent hammering away at a keyboard cutting. It is absorbing and archiving books, films, TV, music, podcasts, social media content etc. in order to someday be able to reappropriate that knowledge in order to solve an editorial puzzle. Here are some things that I have enjoyed recently. There could be spoilers.
Will Sharpe’s Landscapers on the face of it is a true crime story about the investigation, arrest, questioning and eventual trial of Susan & Chris Edwards. In someone else’s hands this narrative may have played out as procedural. Sharpe eschews traditional form in favour of something much bolder. Post-modern techniques are used to tell the story and portray the inner emotions and fantasies of the central characters. The couple’s obsession with classic Hollywood films are woven into the visual aesthetic of the show, scenes are graded in black & white and vignetted, a classical score rises to heighten the fantasy.
There is CCTV footage integrated seamlessly into the coverage of a scene. Interview scenes cut between full frame & the 4:3 digital video of the police video camera used in the scene, capturing characters in squeamish vulnerability. The climactic court scene is rendered in cold grayscale, but also intercut with the couple engaged in a sepia toned western shoot out with the police. There are also scenes where the camera moves away from the set, stage hands taking props away, characters actively moving to another location in the sound stage. All of this is done in service of the narrative, there is no subtle self-conscious academic winking at the camera suggesting a commentary on form. It is executed with a confidence that’s admirable.
Nobody is the result of someone pitching the idea ‘what if John Wick was a normie’ and overall is a bit disappointing. That said, the opening minute is excellent. A montage of jump cuts of the central character’s life, Monday to Friday. Each shot is visually distinctive and accompanied by a distinct sound effect producing a rhythm to the montage that progressively quickens pace with each iteration of the week. The result is a snapshot of sub-urban middle-aged malaise that perfectly contextualises the character at the beginning of the film.
ROOM TO DREAM
David Lynch’s biography is odd, probably because David Lynch is odd. The book is half biography, brilliantly researched and written by Kristine McKenna; and the other half is David Lynch’s shambly anecdotes about the preceding chapter.
This result is as explained in the book, someone having a conversation with their own biography. The overall theme is a meditation on the nature of creativity. How inspiration for a story can come from a traumatic childhood event, a lyric in a song or a random thought whilst walking (‘a woman in trouble’). There are a couple of chapters focussed on his post-production process, finding the film in the edit is a common subject. Lynch was often not afraid to recut a scene which would lead to a recut of the entire film, an editor’s nightmare/dream. One section explains how he feel most vulnerable during festival selection screenings. In one story, not daring to enter the theatre only to be told by the projectionist that the Cannes Film Festival delegation had left before his film was screened…to an empty theatre. Lynch’s story should be interesting to any creative who feels slightly leftfield and anxious about their expression.
Article by Richard Gorman
Offline Editor & Workflow Technical Support at Wordley Creative