My new favorite video essay combines two of my geeky obsessions: film editing and punctuation. Max Tohline riffs on an article in Vulture called The 5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature. The article in and of itself is pretty exciting to me: Nabokov, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, and Primo Levi. Each uses a single punctuation choice in an unexpected, powerful way.
Tohline then begins exploring the punctuation marks of cinema found not in typography or gestures by actors but in editing, a thing unique to the medium. He starts with those five literary examples then parallels to film editing, covering five types of disruption by editing:
- Disruption through surprise
- Disruption by derailing narrative assumptions
- Disruption by revealing time instead of action
- Disruption by overturning editing conventions
- Disruption by calling attention to the act or substance of the medium
In doing so, he provides a wonderful introduction to the effects of great film editing moments and editing choices in general.
I highly recommend this video essay to film and literature enthusiasts, editors, and those who love diagramming sentences.