Summer 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 49 of 63

48 CINEMONTAGE / Q3 2016 Editing and Special Visual Effects by Charlie Keil and Kristen Whissel, Editors Rutgers University Press Paperback, 256 pages, $27.95 ISBN # 978-0813570815 by Betsy A. McLane The number of books dedicated specifically to motion picture editing is not large. There is a steady supply of how-to guides, often geared to specific technologies, from The Language of the Cutting Room: A Primary Reference Manual for the Assistant Editor of 35mm Film by Bernard Balmuth, ACE (1980), to a new edition of Avid Editing: A Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Users by Sam Kauffmann and Ashley Kennedy (due February 2017). Noted filmmakers have shared their ideas and experiences from one century — The Technique of Film Editing, written and compiled by Karel Reisz (1953) — to the next — the iconic In the Blink of an Eye from Walter Murch, ACE, CAS, MPSE (2001). There also are books on editing theory; Jay Leyda famously collected, translated and edited Sergei Eisenstein's writings on montage from the 1920s and 1930s into Film Form: Essays in Film Theory in 1949. Auteur theory of the 1960s and '70s relegated editors to the background, especially for masters like Hitchcock, nine of whose major films were edited by one man, George Tomasini, ACE. Editing largely escaped the Ontological, Phenomenological, Structuralist, Post- Structuralist, Lacanian-Freudian and other abstract analyses that plagued American film studies in the last two decades of the 20th century. Fortunately, cinema studies turned in a different direction in the 21st century. Sound theory, including sound editing, has become a specialization on its own, and there is an emphasis on solid historical documentation, especially of American production. Editing and Special Visual Effects, edited by Charlie Keil and Kristen Whissel, is one of the newest examples of this trend. Like many texts, this book is an anthology of related essays, often specially commissioned and featuring a lengthy introduction by the editors. Editing such anthologies is one traditional way that academics achieve tenure and promotion. Keil, a cinema studies professor at the University of Toronto, authored Early American Cinema in Transition: Story, Style and Filmmaking, 1907- 1913. Whissel is the author of Spectacular Digital Effects: CGI and Contemporary Cinema and a Professor of Media Studies at UC Berkeley. Their approach to film is greatly influenced by prolific and influential scholar David Bordwell, who with his wife, Kristin Thompson, can take much of the credit for the critiques mounted against the theoretical "isms" and "ists." Keil and Whissel present the idea that film picture editing and special visual effects are historically linked and can be fruitfully considered together. This may seem obvious, but Editing and Special Visual Effects is the first major book to deeply explore the connection. To do this, the book's editors gathered 11 other university film scholars, each of who writes in a specialized area. The material is organized chronologically with one essay on editing and one essay on special visual effects paired in each of six historical periods from "The Silent Screen, 1895-1927" to "The Modern Entertainment Marketplace, 2000-Present." These chapters echo some of the generally accepted periods of American film history, but are arbitrary. One can argue that what Keil and Whissel term "Classical Hollywood" — more generally referred to as "Hollywood's Golden Age" or "The Studio Era" — lasted beyond the end date they choose, 1946. The editors elect to call 1947-1967 CUT/PRINT Of Montage & VFX A PEDAGOGICAL ANALYSIS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of CineMontage - Summer 2016