Crash Editing Film Essay

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Vinca Weidemann wrote "storytelling in film constantly deals with breaking and creating continuities, as all films are based on fragments of reality.” Crash, directed by Paul Haggis and edited by Hughes Winborne, does not stray from this notion. Crash depicts a controversial tale of the collision of otherwise unrelated lives coming from different ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds in post-9/11 Los Angeles. After filming, Winborne was left to cut around half-a-million feet of film into a coherent and effective final cut with an editing technique that spoke to the title of the film - Crash. Winborne achieves this by cutting the film in a manner that is in fact, “constantly breaking and creating continuities” to instill chaos and collision between each interlocking story as well as to create emotional engagement within the audience. This editing technique is present throughout the film’s entirety, but one sequence that best exemplifies this concept is when Jean demands that Rick gets the locks changed. It opens with an establishing shot of Jean walking down the stairs; Winborne selects this viewpoint as the primary shot because it appears as though Jean is walking down upon the head of the locksmith. It serves to foreshadow the upcoming shots as she verbally walks all over the locksmith while in argument with Rick. Once the foundation is set for the sequence through this primary shot, Winborne then creates continuity by making almost no cuts in the editing phase as Jean walks towards Rick. As she moves, the viewer notices many pans and zooms of the camera instead of jump cuts. Winborne creates continuity at this point so that as the argument escalades, the breaking of that continuity is vivid through the use of jump-cutting. Winborne utilizes close-ups of Jean and Rick as their argument escalates and jump-cuts between them at a rapid pace to speak to the collision between these characters opinions and to play up the rhythmic dimension as chaos erupts....
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