Close to the Edit
Filmmaker Mike Figgis explores the story of edited film, audio and culture, and how the simple process of cutting and splicing has changed the way people view the world.
We are living in an age of the edit.
From the jump-cuts of Eisenstein and Hitchcock, to the fractured narratives of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, from the cut-and-paste sounds of musique concrete and hip-hop, to the sensibility of social media (to say nothing of the radio feature itself), it's the edit - the cut, the splice; montage and juxtaposition - that has ushered us into the present. To some, it's the stuff of life itself: chimps, for example, share 99% of our DNA; what matters is the sequencing, the edit.
There's a year zero to this story of the edit. From the moment we get up in the morning until we close our eyes at night, the visual reality we perceive is a continuous stream of apparently linked images. That's the way we experienced the world for millennia. Then suddenly, just over a century ago, human beings were confronted with something else: edited film.
But this isn't an exercise in cinema history. It's about our present culture. A culture in which the invisible mediating hand of the editor is ever-present. A culture of the 'creative commons' in which we can pull anything out of context and re-edit it (a gif, an internet meme, a mash-up, a parody of a political speech) and make the edit itself become an art form. Cutting, splicing, sampling -- it's all part of the way the world functions now. This is just the beginning.
With Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us, Margie Borschke, Walter Murch and Will Self.
Producer: Martin Williams.