Friday, June 5, 2015

The Night Belongs to Kubrick

"You've quoted Pudovkin to the effect that editing is the only original and unique art form in film.
I think so. Everything else comes from something else. Writing, of course, is writing, acting comes from the theater, and cinematography comes from photography. Editing is unique to film. You can see something from different points of view almost simultaneously, and it creates a new experience.
Pudovkin gives an example: You see a guy hanging a picture on the wall. Suddenly you see his feet slip; you see the chair move; you see his hand go down and the picture fall off the wall. In that split second, a guy falls off a chair, and you see it in a way that you could not see it any other way except through editing.
TV commercials have figured that out. Leave content out of it, and some of the most spectacular examples of film art are in the best TV commercials.

Give me an example.
The Michelob commercials. I'm a pro-football fan, and I have videotapes of the games sent over to me, commercials and all. Last year Michelob did a series, just impressions of people having a good time —

The big city at night
And the editing, the photography, was some of the most brilliant work I've ever seen. Forget what they're doing — selling beer — and it's visual poetry. Incredible eight-frame cuts. And you realize that in thirty seconds they've created an impression of something rather complex. If you could ever tell a story, something with some content, using that kind of visual poetry, you could handle vastly more complex and subtle material"-  Tim Cahill Interview with Stanley Kubrick, Rolling Stone, 1987

Between this and his admission that one of his top ten films of all time is "White Men Can't Jump" , Kubrick remains a total mystery.  The one thing I can say about these Michelob ads (which, far from visual poetry, seem pretty standard in terms of editing/visual narrative in 80s commercial advertising) is that it's a bit amazing how...well, clothed the women are.  Though they are obviously objectified to an extent, the very physical dignity they are given seems completely anomalous in our current regressive fucked-up environs.

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