Editing: The Aspect of Cinema

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The Associate Dean of American Film Critics, Jonathan ‘I will sit through a 19-hour cut of La Maman et la putain and I will fucking love it’ Rosenbaum has a great article, inspired.. by that same French excellence, in Slate today. Choice passages:

Regarding terms like director’s cut and restoration: The fact that these categories are now integral parts of sales pitches seriously diminishes the possibility of their serving as accurate descriptions. Arguably, one reason why the film industry has encouraged and promoted the concept of director’s cuts, even though this might appear to be counter to its own interests, is that it enables a film’s owner to sell the same product to the same customer twice—or even, in a few special cases, three or four times.

The bottom line is that Welles never had a final cut on either Touch of Evil or Mr. Arkadin, so claiming to ‘restore’ something that never existed, as a good many publicists and commentators do, is tantamount to fibbing.

‘For my style, for my vision of film,’ Welles once declared to André Bazin, ‘editing is not an aspect, it is the aspect.’ By this criterion, no edition of any film that Welles never completed could meaningfully be called complete. But if your criterion is that of a collector and a footage fetishist, the rules change. And it’s the collectors and those servicing them that are rewriting much of our film history.

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~ by ohkrapp on June 25, 2009.

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