Week 9 – Discontinuity Editing: “Rules were made to be broken”
CONTINUITY EDITING DISCONTINUITY EDITING
- gives the impression of a “natural” - gives the impression of an “unnatural” diegesis,
diegesis, wherein the unity of time and wherein the unity of space and time is
space unfolds clearly and coherently before interrupted by the artifice and artfulness of
our eyes filmmaking
- editing techniques are invisible – seamless - editing techniques are highly visible – “in your
- editing serves the narrative progression
- editing serves the form of the film
- narrative economy: maximum coherence,
control, conventions equals minimum - narrative economy: minimum/different
conscious effort on part of spectator to coherence, control, conventions equals
make sense of what is on screen maximum conscious effort on part of spectator
to put everything together – editing
discontinuities force the viewer to work out the
- encourages a certain passivity on part of implicit meanings
spectator to sit back and enjoy
- encourages a certain activity on part of
filmmaker – we are asked, as by the Soviet
filmmakers, to analyze – or at least to figure
things out for ourselves
Editors try to hide the way that they edit and change them to keep viewers interested.
Rule breaking techniques:
Mismatching or contrasting the 4 elements of editing.
Axis of action is the 180 degree frame that always shows where the action takes place.
- discontinuity editing
definition: “Any alternative system of joining shots together using
techniques that would be unacceptable within continuity editing principles”
BT’s two major violations:
• Jump cut – changes graphic discontinuity, elliptical cut (cut
where there is a leap in time) interruption of a single shot.
Distance viewers from the film make us aware that what we
are watching is art and it is constructed.
• Nondiegetic insert – insert a shot or shots from outside the
time and space of the film narrative. Prompting viewers to
search for a deeper meaning. (example on 259) -When you insert nondiegetic you are disrupting the narrative of the film. Filmmaker
must decide if they want the viewers to read the implicit meaning behind the scene or to
leave the narrative intact. (Page 255)
-The seamless editing in classical Hollywood film gives the viewers a passive role. It
influences viewers without the viewer being aware of the influence. They construct the
norms in basic societies.
-discontinuity can make us aware of how films can be used for political means instead
of just propagandistic ones.
- The French New Wave – 1959 until the late 1960’s
Wanted to challenge the norms of classic Hollywood films.
Cahiers du Cinema, edited by Andre Bazin – strongly attacked them based
on their tradition of quality. Used the term sarcastically and made this a
negative thing in film.
Being faithful when adapting the book to the film.
Said filmmakers should film on location and step away from the norms and
have a looser approach on acting. Directors should create their films as
films and do the cinematic medium justice.