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Film Editing as Punctuation

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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.punctuation-promo

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:

  1. Disruption through surprise
  2. Disruption by derailing narrative assumptions
  3. Disruption by revealing time instead of action
  4. Disruption by overturning editing conventions
  5. 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.

Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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