The filmmakers use parallel action because it helps increase the
intensity of a movie and lets us see the story from different point of views at
the same time.
John P. Hess mentions the parallel action technique in the video
The History of Cutting – The Birth of
Cinema and Continuity Editing. He shows three parallel actions used in the
movie The Lonely Villa from 1909 by
D. W. Griffith. The scenes include a woman in a house, robbers trying to break
in, and her husband rushing home to the rescue.
The technique was first introduced by Edwin S. Porter in the
movie Life of the American Fireman in
1903. In the video The cutting Edge: The
Magic of Movie Editing, Part 1, we can see firemen rushing to a fire in one
shot and another shot is an indoor scene of a building on fire. Seeing both
scenes at the same time makes us realize that the people inside of the building
are in danger, while the firemen are rushing to rescue them.
action means using shots from two
or more different locations at the same time to create or support a story.
The filmmakers used juxtaposition here to show us that they can
easily shape or completely change our feelings about a certain scene just by
adding an extra shot.
In the YouTube video of Hitchcock
explaining juxtaposition to Fletcher Markle, Hitchcock uses simple
close-ups of a man that is looking at something in the first shot and smiling
in the other shot. Just by adding a third shot in between, we can create a new
meaning of the existing two shots. Hitchcock explains that if we add a shot of
a mother holding her child, the smile of a man in the last shot gives us an
impression that “he is a kindly, sympathetic man” (MediaFilmProfessor, 2011).
However, if we insert a shot of a girl in bikini instead, the same shot of a
smiling man makes us think of him as an “old, dirty man” (MediaFilmProfessor,
Juxtaposition is an interaction between two or more separate independent shots
that create new meaning when put together in certain order.
The filmmakers use editing to make movies more attractive for
the audience. They tell the story by putting thousands of shots from different
angles in various rhythms and speeds into a certain order. Emotions of the
audience are manipulated by adding sounds, music, and other effects.
The very first movies looked like moving photographs that showed
one scene until it got ‘boring” or the filmmakers ran out of film. Nowadays,
filmmakers are offered an endless amount of options when deciding about the
final look of individual scenes or a whole movie. In the video The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing
Part 1 editor Zach Staenberg says that “what makes a movie a movie is the
editing.” Editing can move us between
places and time, slow down or speed up the scene, and make us feel emotional
connections with the characters, etc.
Editing is a powerful film technique that filmmakers use in the editing
room to create a story, adjust reactions of the audience, and produce the final
look of a movie. Editing was also referred to as a “montage” (fr. monte – to
assemble) by Soviets (FilmMakerIQ.com, 2014).