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TALK Film Study -- Assembling Narrative Continuity: Editing Techniques in Alfred Hitchcock’s Experimental Films


  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University 8771 Lansdowne Road Richmond, BC Canada (map)

I will be facilitating a TALK (Third Age Learning at Kwantlen) film study on how narrative continuity is created through editing techniques. With the advent of DVD extras, home viewers now know that a feature film involves hours of footage that do not make it into the finished product. The process of determining the outtakes, deleting unnecessary scenes, reconfiguring censored material, streamlining the sequences, and creating overall narrative continuity is known as editing. As visual storytellers, filmmakers face space/time limitations that demand the average 2-hour feature film be created from, on average, 4 times that amount of footage. Editing, in the words of famed director Alfred Hitchcock, “means the assembly of pieces of film which, when moved in rapid succession before the eye, create an idea.” This three-day film study will look at how filmmakers create such ideas through editing techniques by screening and closely analyzing two of Hitchcock’s editing triumphs: Strangers on a Train (1951) and Rear Window (1954), along with Rope (1948, select scenes only). These three films are a master class in the creative possibilities of film editing.