Friday, May 11, 2007

unedited notes on editing itself

So any Sopranos fan would have been in 7th heaven on my couch last night.

Mickey Blue eyes is a flatly linear narrative... not once is there a flashback, flashforward or memory sequence (the closest there is is a recurring snapshot of Mickey 'kissing' a ditzy blonde waitress). Each shot is constructed in a logical order. Many of the shots (esp at the beginning) are also rather long in duration - adding further to the one-dimensional feel of the movie, its fluidity and freely flowing capacity.

One very careful editing technique that stands out is the use of sound and the rhythmic ordering of shots to match its tempo. The film thrives on a seasoned buffet of alternately tense and jovial 80s Italian hit songs, not to mention a fair dash of romance thrown in for good measure. There are heavy uses of non-diegetic sounds, one in particular that stands out is the loud gong that introduces us to the Chinatown (fortune cookie proposal) scene. In fact, sound (and quite often, music) prefigures image in all of the location/scene transitions, suggesting a mood-oriented relationship between it and the film's visuals. There is one part where the music is even synched up with a series of gunshots, making for an rapidly unsettling sequence among the longer takes.

I found the shot-reverse shot sequence between Mickey and Gina's uncle to be particularly inlluminating. I love how the camera is angled looking down upon Mickey, whilst it points upward the uncle, an understood sign of the preeminence that longtime gang members these longtime gangsters were surrounded with. Think Citizen Kane on a smaller scale.

As for mise-en-scene, the smoke hovering above Gina and Mickey from her uncle's cigarette is a classic Hitchcockian prefigurement of their wedding day doom.. And, in the last five minute build-up toward the speeches, real time is utilised to heighten the sense of tension that is slowly erupting as Frank is expected to shoot his newly-pronounced son in law. For the most part, dialogue drowns out the rest of the sound, leaving an odd, lingering silence as the audience awaits the trigger being pulled. This is soon disrupted by a rather loud, abrupt turn of events that ends in momentary tragedy as Gina herself is shot..

Momentary, of course, because this is Hollywood, where restoration of love in imminent and a shiny resolution is unanimous. A highly entertaining watch, with a unique element of slapstick and darkness that one can only hope we are able to mimic to some extent in the coming weeks.

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