Instructor - Norman Hollyn

Lesson #13

Nov 18, 2003

Added Material

Assignments for Next Week

Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week



Over the last several weeks, we've been looking at various aspects of the building blocks of editing -- the cuts, the scene, and the sequence. Knowing how to manipulate those elements helps to make for great editing. But there is something much less definable that helps give each film a different flavor -- style. So, what is style? And how do you get it?

Tonight we're going to take a look at Wong Kar-Wei's 1995 Hong Kong film FALLEN ANGELS (Duoluo tianshi). Right from the beginning of the film it establishes a very different type of style and reasoning from OUT OF SIGHT.

The sequence we are looking at tonight is about two-thirds of the way through the film. Wong Chi-Ming has tired of his life as a hitman and wants to break out of it, which would end the relationship with his Agent who he may be in love with, but who certainly is captivated by him. There is a second plot but our scene tonight comes as Chi-Ming accepts one final job which is initiated in the same way as always -- his Agent places an ad on the front page of a Hong Kong newspaper that sets all of the action in motion.

Here is how one reviewer (Ed Shum at his web site) described the film:

A short film about killing: the marriage of rhythm, texture and visual style is consummated in the gloriously climactic gunplay scenes. It is as if Chris Doyle was outdoing CUNGKING EXPRESS (quite a degree of that film was shot by Andrew Lau) with the gleeful agreement of Wong Kar-Wai and William Chang. But these are no ordinary scenes of violence: whilst stylish and stylised bloodshed is very common in Hong Kong cinema, Wong Kar-Wai’s scenes push very little narrative points - and there is a moral detachment which isn’t often seen in Hong Kong’s gun-toting movie heroes. In essence, we have the fight divorced from the cause - the spectacle divorced from the need. Though the killings form a crucial element to the feel of the film, Wong Kar-Wai shows us that the drama comes from something far more personal to his characters

Wong Kar-Wei has established, from the beginning of the film, that this film is a mirror of a certain type of Hong Kong noir-ish life. He has established the style of rapid editing, which mirrors the tempo of the city's heart; he has created wide-angle fish-eye camerawork which moves in a near-nauseating frenetic pace. There are powerful closeups of the characters, practically shoving their noses into the camera lens. The music, the sound, the cutaways of city life (often with moving clouds in an unreal sped-up time) all further the mood of the film. In this scene, as Chi-Ming calmly (as always) carries out his last job, all of these factors come into play. It's a powerful melding of style and story.

BlueWe will also take a look at the opening section of Krystof Kieslowski's BLUE, the first part of his Three Colors trilogy. In this film, Juliette Binoche plays Julie, who loses both her daughter and her husband in a car crash. The section of the film that we will look at (or you should check out yourself) comes at the very start of the film, in the moments leading up to the crash and her reactions to it.

Important elements to check out include Kieslowski's use of sound and the juxtaposition of images. We never see Julie at all it is important for us to see her reaction to the news of her child's death. We see bits and pieces and hear the odd line from her, but her character's presentation is disjointed and surreal. The film's style meshes well with its intent -- to examine the meaning of liberty/liberation (the first of the three elements of the French patriotic slogan -- "Liberte, Egalite. Fraternite" and the three colors of the Grench flag -- hence, the title of the trilogy). Julie will, throughout the film, attempt to avoid her past. Within the context of the film, she is looking for liberation from her old memories, a liberation that takes on a different meaning by the end of the film -- in fact, by the end of the trilogy.

Examine how the disjointedness of the opening both contributes to the sense that something extreme is going to happen, as well as to the overall quiet and severe style of the film. These editorial concepts, along with the production design of the film (blues, blues, blues) helps to contribute to the sense that would probably be in Kieslowski's analysis.

One other film that we may look at (perhaps, instead of one of the films above) is Tom Twyker's RUN LOLA RUN. This film, which has been described as a web site on film (in terms of its alternate paths) sets itself up to tell its rather straightforward story -- Lola tries to save her boyfriend Manni, who has lost a large sum of money and is going to be killed if he doesn't get it back in twenty minutes -- in a very non-straightforward way. As you look at the scene, look at how characters are introduced and featured -- many of them (even ones in small roles in this scene) will return later in the film as we examine two alternate paths that Lola might have taken in order to save her boyfriend, Manni.

Other films which develop a strong sense of editorial style in their storytelling include Mike Figgis' TIMECODE and Steven Soderbergh's OUT OF SIGHT, which we will not look at tonight. However, I have used the latter film in previous years. To see a discussion of that film click here.


This is a duplicate link to the same 17 page PDF file script pages that you received last week. It contains all of the scenes that you will be cutting as well as scenes that come before Scene 80 and after Scene 113. It also includes the interstitial scenes that you will not be cutting. Note that this is a early version of the script, so it varies from the footage that you have, which was rewritten during production.
Suzanne Hines talks about editing PSYCHO BEACH PARTY
Hines talks about the process of editing this low budget film.

Assignment For Next Week

This week you will continuing editing your final project -- the editing of scenes from the movie CRIMSON TIDE. This is a continuation of last week's scene, though there is nothing to prevent you from inserting a "SCENE MISSING" leader in between the two while you are waiting for some of the interstitial or insert shots that you will be receiving soon, You should first make a copy of Scene 80 and then begin attaching this new scene onto the end of the copy. Call this new cut something like "Scene 80-81" to differentiate it from last week's cut. Note that, at least in the scenes that we will be cutting, this is the first scene between Hunter and Bear (Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman) and contains the beginning of the arc between the two of them that will end up with their confrontation in Scene 113. Take this into consideration when you think about how to weigh this scene.
Recut Scene 80 from CRIMSON TIDE
I will have given you notes on this scene. However, I would also like you to recut this scene after you've cut Scene 81 and attached it onto this (remember to make a copy of Scene 80 before you hook it onto Scene 81 so you don't change your old version of it). This will force you to rethink some of Scene 80.

Added Material

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Run Lola Run and the Web [PDF file]
This essay takes the stand that the various timelines in RUN LOLA RUN, are analagous to web page links, and that the structure of the film is possible because of the explosion of the web.
Ransom Fellowship Run Lola Run Discussion Guide
This guide, done from a Christian fellowship perspective, looks at this film from the point of view of some of the filmmaking and sociological questions raised by the film.
Run, Lola, Run Term Paper
This very short analysis talks about the film in terms of mise-en-scene and time binding.

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All material, except where noted, ©1999-2008 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - September 30, 2008