4 - Identity - Editing

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    Learning Focus: Editing

    Were focusing on developing knowledge around these

    core questions:

    - How does the editing in the film disrupt the suspensionof disbelief?

    - How/why can this connect to the construction of

    identity?

    - How does the use of intercutting reinforce these ideas,

    particularly in reference to the idea of identity as a

    palimpsest?

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    Process

    - A little from me about traditional editing processes

    - Understanding the concept of suspension of disbelief

    - Close examination of Hayness attitude towards editing

    by watching sequences

    - Discussing connection to the our recent ideas about

    distancing the audience

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    Traditional Editing

    - Essentially based around invisibility

    - Idea of continuity editing is that the viewer shouldnt notice

    the edits

    - Hollywood style editing avoids jump cuts or any editing

    styles that draw the viewers attention to the fact that editing

    is taking place

    - Intention is to establish and maintain the viewers

    suspension of disbelief

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    Suspending Disbelief

    - An unsaid social contract that takes place between the viewer and the

    film-maker

    - We always know that what we see on screen is a fiction. We always

    know this, even if the film is a documentary.

    - As a consequence, we cannot believe what we see, but we must see

    it as reality if we are to feel real emotions, if we are to be entertained,

    etc.

    -And so we willingly suspend our disbelief, i.e. the answer to why are

    you getting so upset, its just a film? is, I was suspending my

    disbelief, more me it was real.

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    Sustaining this...

    - In order for willing suspension of disbelief to be sustained, the film

    maker cannot draw the viewers attention to the fact that they are

    watching a film (think Inception, as soon as the dreamer is aware

    that theyre dreaming, the dream starts to become unstable)

    - And because editing is a hugely unnatural process, it has to be

    made as invisible as possible to sustain the suspension of disbelief

    - Thus, continuity editing attempts to smooth over the essentialdiscontinuity that exists in the editing process

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    In Im Not There

    - Its a combination

    - Within timelines, there is a lot of continuity editing, to help

    give us some investment in each timeline

    - Between timelines, the editing is jarring - we jump in time

    and space, and we jump between visual styles

    - Were interested in the impact of the editing between

    sequences and the effect of this has on any suspension of

    disbelief

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    Watching it happen

    - Do your best to keep up - not always easy

    - Focus on cuts between timelines

    - Note down the two shots involved in the transition and

    what timelines they come from, e.g. Jude LS to Billy CU

    We do this so that you can be specific when youre

    talking about examples in your response writing.

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    Why?

    So, an editing style of this kind draws the viewers

    attention to the fact that they are watching a film - they

    cannot suspend their disbelief as a consequence.

    Why would Haynes want to disrupt the suspension of

    disbelief?

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    The Bigger Picture

    In a really similar way to what the music does, the use of a discontinuous or

    non-continuous editing style draws our attention to the fictional nature of the

    film.

    We become much more aware of the cuts, and as a consequence we are

    made much more aware of the film as a construction - literally as a piecing

    together of different scenes.

    Once again, the form of the film represents this key concept of identity as a

    fiction/construction. The film reminds us that it is not presenting us withreality, it is presenting us with a construction - and because the film about

    about Bob Dylan, it reflects on the fact that Bob Dylan himself is a

    fiction/construction.

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    Intercuts/Insert shots

    As weve seen, the editing is not defined by cause and

    effect, but is far more dream like - its about

    interconnections rather than direct causes and their

    effects.

    One of the most jarring techniques that Haynes uses to

    achieve this are insert shots.

    The best way to describe these is to show a couple of

    examples...

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    From the directors commentary

    Haynes talks specifically about how it was the editing process that

    brought a lot of the final structure to the film. Initially the stories were

    more interwoven, with shorter times on each, but Haynes and his editor

    decided that they need to find a balance between what was watchableand what really make you think like you were living all of these lives at

    the same time.

    And so were back to multiplicity - the editing is designed to reinforce this

    sense of multiple identities all existing at the same time. It takes us backto that notion of the palimpsest - whatever we are seeing on screen

    always already has echoes of what has come before. Theres never a

    clear slate.