Editing Children of Men

We have been talking about the editing of Children of Men in class and you may find this interview with editor Alex Rodriquez  in Movie Maker interesting and useful.

Here is an extract:

MM: What is striking to me from your work in Children of Men is that you don’t notice the editing, which is beautiful. There seems to be a marriage between the movement of the camera, the acting, directing and the editing that is subtle and intuitive as breathing. Was Children of Men more difficult to edit then projects you have done in the past?

AR: Yes. It doesn’t look difficult, but it was more difficult. First of all, working with Alfonso Cuarón… you need a lot of energy. The approach to editing Children of Men was very similar to Y Tu Mamá También. Actually, he really had it in his head the way he was shooting–very long shots, just one long take–and then for the editing it was more about the rhythm between all these long scenes trying to address the story from the narrative point of view.

MM: I know that you were asked to be on the set during the filming pretty constantly because of that reason–because of the long takes.

AR: Yeah, you have to be there to make sure all the takes will match.

MM: For example, the car scene in which Julianne Moore’s character is killed. The camera is inside, rotating 360 degrees to capture both the inside action as well as the outside view of the rebels coming from the forest to attack the car in what appears to be a single take. Were there any cuts inside that sequence?

AR: (laughs) Yes, there were. There were some cuts. The take was almost physically impossible to shoot the whole take, so it was shot in segments and each segment was joined digitally. But the framing of the camera was very similar, so it’s only a few frames that needed correction.

MM: The other memorable shot was the birth of the child. How difficult was that to edit?

AR: The take was chosen the day of the shoot, because it involved visual effects and adding the build up of the sound. But it is only one take.

MM: I have a friend in New York, a war photographer, who told me that the scenes in Children of Men paint the most realistic version of what it is like to be in the fields of battle. The camera continually shifts perspectives of what Theo (played by Clive Owen) experiences, having the camera both behind him and in front of him, the camera is constantly shifting as he goes through the landscape of the film.

AR: And at some points it goes to strict points of view, the camera goes behind him and in front of him with a strict point of view. So you have all the positions of his perspective. You are always stuck with the character. Everything you see he sees or lives.

Read the rest here.


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