In the blink of an eye…

Don't blink! (or do, it's a long take!) "Solaris" dir. Andrei Tarkovsky (1972)

The metaphor Walter Murch uses re: the cutting of a film as akin to the blink of an eye. It’s an elegant piece of writing/thinking that allows for people to understand the art of editing a little bit better. A well cut film, especially one that’s edited with very long takes like Bela Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, or Apichatpong Weerasethakul (all of these foreign names are hell on my spell check!), the “eye blink as an edit’ philosophy makes the viewer accountable for the the pacing of the shot, and thus the pacing of the film itself. Our viewing experience of the movie is usually one that says “editing is/should be invisible”, so that the viewing experience remains “uninterrupted”.

However, where we blink during a film doesn’t create a cut the same way an actual cut does, since a cut changes time and space, even to a minuscule degree, something within the realm of the physical and visual has changed, something we can’t do with an eye blink, since a cut is a very controlled thing, a blink  is very random, and in fact most people don’t even know why people blink, or how it happens as a pattern (if it does happen as a pattern), so it seems a stretch (but an elegant one!) to call it a natural edit that we do, but we certainly do “edit” or control the pacing of a movie in our heads, especially through our memories of the movie (has a movie ever gone faster or slower in your memory? it has for me), but Walter Murch’s image of a galaxy of winking dots sure is a nice one.

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~ by frankmc5 on March 7, 2011.

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