This essay will be, in the first part, mainly talking about the role of film editors in the modern film industry, while during the second, presenting a complex of creative editing techniques the editor used in the film requiem for a dream, to further demonstrate the former topic.
For quite long, film editors are deemed as people who do nothing more than cutting the film apart, taping them back together and threading them onto a Moviola. The common-sense views of the job of a film editor, therefore, seem to be naively oversimplified.
To be sure, the editing work can be incredibly tedious in a way. It involves viewing miles of footage for hours over and over again and turning them into a coherent and enjoyable whole that will bring sound and sight together artfully to convey the director’s vision. The difficulties of the work, according to that definition, are hard to miss, which is what happens in between----the art of editing.
Firstly, as an editor, you need to not only know the art, the business and the technology at the same time, but also be well adept at all.
Secondly, even though the magic is in your wand and curses to make the final story come to life, you cannot cross that line between a conveyer and a manipulator. After all, it is the director that “rules”.
Thirdly, it means you have to stand the long and tiring hours of working in isolation. Yet you also have to work closely in collaboration with others such as the sound editors and musical directors as the film nears completion.
Walter Murch, a preeminent Hollywood film editor, who has won the golden statue for three times, worldly-renowned for his masterful editing work in the English patient and the cold mountain, describes a film editor as a cross between a short-order cook and a brain surgeon. To rephrase his words, film editing requires the capability to do really delicate jobs to mainly assure the continuity of the movie, but...