What pops up in your head when I use the words film editing? Do you picture a scissor going through a film reel? Well it’s exactly that and much more. The dictionary meaning of editing is to choose material for a film, radio or television program and arrange it to form a coherent whole. That sums up what a conventional editing task would entail. Drop the unnecessary pieces of the puzzle that leaves you with a crystallized product.
But “product” happens to be the entirely incorrect adjective when referencing an art form. So editing is much more experimental and reflective of an ardent desire for exploration that sometimes makes the audience question the absoluteness of the film and no one realizes that our conception of absoluteness defined entirely by convention and the mundane tendencies of mediocre filmmakers to confine to them. Our experiential senses are fulfilled only when those conventions and our disturbingly rigid expectations are authoritatively challenged.
I’ve always likened editing to puppeteering or composing a symphony. You constantly control each element of the cinematic life of the film and you alternately tighten and loosen that control. It’s like a dance, a sophisticated engineering and makes all the obstacles in the path of a filmmaker to gain utter control of the audiences’ mental trajectory vanish. With that, here is the list of top film edited sequences ever, ranked in order of impact, import and ingenuity:
10. ‘The Hours’: The Women Wake Up
Stephen Daldry’s ‘The Hours’ is a love-it-or-hate-it film. Its tender, sometimes deliberately stylized observations make for a stunning collection of simultaneously bleak and empowering images. This scene finds the three protagonists, utterly distinguished in character, period and lifestyle, yet inexplicably intertwined in their exhaustion of life and its incessant banality, wake up and look for something new to hold on to. It is deeply relatable, lends you immediate and profound insight into the characters and while not technically audacious sets the tone for the film effortlessly.
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