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The Editing in Farewell My Concubine - Essay Example

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The reporter states that Chen Kaige’s film Farewell My Concubine is a historical account of the life of two opera singers. It traces their lives from humble beginnings through tumultuous times during the Japanese invasion, and the Cultural Revolution…
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The Editing in Farewell My Concubine
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Download file to see previous pages When characterizing the film in regards to its technical elements one notes that despite its elaborate mise-en-scene and epic subject matter, the film is shot and edited in a very straight-forward and direct manner. This essay specifically examines elements of editing in Farewell My Concubine and considers the means by which they contributed to the film’s meaning and overriding style.
As the film opens the camera follows Dieyi and Xiaolou, in full opera garb, as they enter the vacant auditorium. The film cuts to a shot situated from high in the crowd and the viewer is put in the place of the audience. The juxtaposition of these shots has the effect of first giving the viewer the impression of an upcoming grand performance, and then subverting their expectations with the shot from a distance. It immediately creates a sense of isolation and emotional impoverishment; this is further enforced as the viewer soon discovers that the two performers haven’t performed together since the Cultural Revolution. During this opening scene director, Kaige largely refrains from editing shots together, instead of allowing the scene to develop. Some viewers might immediately be disrupted by this more ‘art film’ style approach, but by not cutting with the frequency the director situates the viewer as an actual member of the audience. The long scenes also establish the film overarching tone as somber and slightly cerebral.
Farewell, My Concubine also makes notable uses of montage editing to condense time. While it’s become cliché for many films to develop an entire sequence of shots that are spliced together to give the viewer the impression of time’s passage, director Kaige has a subtle technique that adds considerable poignancy to the film. After Xiaolou has been forced to sit outside in the snow with a board on his head, the film cuts to the troupe of boys standing outside in the cold reciting lines.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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