Avid Blogs by Gordon Burkell
The following is a guest contribution from editor, Gordon Burkell. Gordon is the founder of Art of the Guillotine, a site that shares and organizes new information and news for Film Editors and recognized as one of the top sites for film news by MovieMaker Magazine. The site includes Aotg.tv, The Cutting Room Podcast and mobile apps for Film Editors. Gordon currently teaches and hosts panels, events and lectures at Ryerson University.
For a film that has been analysed and lauded endlessly by film critics, the opening scene of City of God stands out as an achievement in cinematic storytelling through traditional montage theory. Like the opening to Apocalypse Now or The Sound of Silence montage sequence from The Graduate, City of God’s opening sequence has become a must watch for film editing students globally.
I was fortunate enough to host an Avid Toronto Editors event interviewing Daniel Rezende for a sold out audience at Deluxe on February 21st, 2013.
Daniel is a Brazilian editor whose first film was City of God, cementing his place in the editing community the way Run Lola Run did for Mathilde Bonnefoy. The film was his first feature film after working as a successful editor in commercials for several years. Like many other editors, the world outside his work ultimately influences his final product. During the discussion he revealed to the audience that he worked as a DJ in Brazil, while cutting commercials. This influence can be seen by Rezende’s strong understanding of musical timing, rhythm, and beats and has influenced his work in editing and luckily for us, reveals itself on the screen in the opening of City of God.
City of God’s opening is the visual equivalent of a classical piece of music remixed by a modern master of the turntables or in this case, the cutting room. We watch as a chicken’s life flashes before her eyes, she witnesses and reacts as her peer is being murdered, plucked and prepared for a feast and she comes to the realization that she is about to die, all through the use of traditional montage techniques. This all occurs while, Brazilian street performers set the pace to music. As the chicken escapes and the chase begins the scenes are cross cut with two young boys walking down the street talking about everyday things. These two moments create a collision of Sergei Eisenstein and Lev Kuleshov’s ideas with everyday life and sounds of the Jacarepaguá borough in Rio de Janeiro, also known as The City of God. read more...