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  • Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films

    Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films

    May 19, 2010, 12:25 pm
    After the last blog entry with the book list, I found myself inspired to revisit Tarkovsky’s body of work. If you’ve read it, you’ll know that he was a stickler for long takes and very little cutting; each cut has a specific purpose and is used more for bringing the viewer into the next part of the story and the rhythm of the story rather than the cut itself or for montage. So, we’ve seen long takes with the emphasis on performance (i.e. Keitel), and now let me wrap up with long takes with the emphasis on story rhythm.

    After the last blog entry with the book list, I found myself inspired to revisit Tarkovsky’s body of work. If you’ve read it, you’ll know that he was a stickler for long takes and very little cutting; each cut has a specific purpose and is used more for bringing the viewer into the next part of the story and the rhythm of the story rather than the cut itself or for montage. So, we’ve seen long takes with the emphasis on performance (i.e. Keitel), and now let me wrap up with long takes with the emphasis on story rhythm.
    Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films
    5. Ivanovo Detstvo (1962) (Ivan’s Childhood)

    This was Tarkovsky’s first feature, and you can see where he really starts to explore the long take without actually having painfully long takes. That said, there are some killer transitions from one scene to the next (most especially coming in and out of the dream sequences), which is another trend that he continued throughout the rest of his career. Each scene flows nicely into the next, and this is one of his most easily digestible feature films for people who view movies as entertainment rather than art.
    Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films
    4. Solyaris (1972) (Solaris)

    This is the film that everyone knows, probably because of the remake starring George Clooney, but this one is done Tarkovsky-style. The biggest benefit to doing it Tarkovsky-style is that the long takes and awkward silences make everything so much creepier. Especially considering we’re following the story but not really sure what the "fog-goo" is doing until the second half of the film (and even then it’s really up to the viewer’s personal conclusions).
    Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films
    3. Offret (1986) (The Sacrifice)

    As much as I actually do "get" Tarkovsky and appreciate his work, most of his movies are difficult for me to watch. I guess I’m plagued by the Y generation’s short attention span. In any case, if you want the epitome of long takes, this is the only film you need see. Consequently the film feels more like a stage play than a film at times. That said, even though each take is somewhere between 3-5 minutes long, the cuts all make sense, and the scene transitions are brilliant. Anyway, this is a film that I need to spend more time with, because for many it is a "life-changing" film. But, it’s only life changing if you can muster up the patience to watch it all the way through.
    Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films
    2. Andrey Rublyov (1966)

    For Tarkovsky fans, this film is the favourite. Everyone goes on and on about how "this is the best film that’s ever been made!" Well, editing-wise, it’s pretty darn awesome; it includes both of Tarkovsky’s signature moves. My favourite aspect is how he manages to tie in scenes together by transitioning in cool ways. For example, after the attack in the woods there’s a cut to a blank wall that is splattered with paint (similar to blood...). It sounds like a clich? move, but I don’t think too many people were cutting with such purpose like this when he made this film. It has since become a clich?, thanks to Tarkovsky. All that said, for me, the time span of the long takes make it difficult for me to sit still.
    Top 5 Edited Andrei Tarkovsky Films
    1. Stalker (1979)

    Ok, I confess that I’m a little biased to this one, because this is one of my favourite films of all time (it’s on my personal top 5 favs!). Before you ream me for not putting Andrey Rublyov at number one hear my story. I first saw Stalker a couple of years ago at the Cinematheque Ontario because my Film History professor required that we see a minimum of three films there per semester and write reports on them. I used the closed-eyes-with-finger-in-the-phone-book technique on the programme, and came out with this as one of my three. Not knowing what to expect, I go to the screening and the first thing I see is an incredible sepia image. The mixture of the image quality and the length of all the takes put me into a trance that I have never experienced before and haven’t been able to forget since. Watching it again, now, the movie is even better. Each cut is purposeful (as usual) and the viewer is hypnotically sucked into this world that Tarkovsky created. The takes are long enough to be interesting and draw you in, but not so long that you’re squirming for the next cut. It is the perfect balance between pace and content in cutting, image, and story. On top of that, the philosophical and spiritual content is mind blowing. If you’re ready for it...

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  • Other Postings By Member
    • The Top 5 American Western Standoffs
      EDITING

      The Top 5 American Western Standoffs

      August 5, 2009, 12:24 pm
      To kick off the first post for the Edit Decision List, I thought it would be fitting to choose a topic that relies on one of the most fundamental techniques in editing film: building tension. There are many places for using this technique, but it is in its most blatant use in the Western Standoff. Therefore here is The Top 5 American Western Standoffs based on editing.

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    • Top 5 Edited Live Action Movie With Talking Animal
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Live Action Movie With Talking Animal

      July 17, 2009, 12:32 pm
      I just recently finished compositing some shots for a live-action Disney DVD film (soon to come) involving talking animals. This is the first time that I’ve really done anything like that, and although I wasn’t editing, I could appreciate how difficult it can be to edit a film with animal actors as I saw the shots come in. And it’s difficult regardless of if they have moving mouths or not. Animals aren’t really "acting" on their free will as humans do, so discerning which take is the best has to with a mixture of the action being performed properly (pun intended) as well as juxtaposing the action with another action to convey an accurate sense of emotion, which 95% of animals (arguably) don’t naturally exhibit.

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