Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain and Birth of a Nation

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Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain and Birth of a Nation

Looking at Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee, the film can be rated as a real masterpiece that has used many illusions as exhibited by the Hollywood art. The editing is a kind that helps in evoking a mood and the viewers are treated to a kind of subtle glimpse, which in essence produces the required mood. This is true a masterly of editing techniques by the director and therefore, it surpasses an ordinary form of shooting or recording and then turned into a movie or film. It greatly attaches itself to the Hollywood styles of creating harmony in pictures even though they themselves are a creation but not real action. The individual shots have helped establish elements of linking various spaces to become a superb kind of continuity and this is how the effects of surprise, horror, death, violence and tension are created.

According to Orpen (17), the spatial continuity is a kind of strategy that utilizes the strategies such as the 180-degree rule where the camera is not supposed to cross an imaginary line that is called the 180°. It also goes by the names the centerline and the axis of action and this happens frequently in film in an intentional way to produce the desired results. On the other hand, the temporal kind of continuity is gotten through the eye line matches and the matches on action and this confirm an action or movement in some two distinct shots that are simultaneous or continuous (Orpen 17). This is very much present in the movie or film by Ang Lee where the connection of pictures is done in a continuous way that helps bring out some moods. As would be contrasted with the birth of a nation, this film shows that it still belongs to some illusionistic Hollywood tradition and has a sense of radical stance. With foreshadowing and other elements, the continuity of space is maintained just like classic Hollywood.

The above is seen as different from the techniques that are used in the filming and editing of The Birth of a Nation by D. W. Griffith. Some of the techniques that are employed here are the use of parallel editing, close ups, panning and tinting and utilizes the arts in panoramic long shots and the high angle shots. This is different from the 180° degree rule and which is very common in the classical Hollywood film editing techniques. As well, this film utilizes other unique arts of editing such as the use of Mattes and Green screen as well as split screen techniques. According to Hollyn (121), the use of Green Screen is where a piece of an image usually a plain green screen is used and then it is replaced by another desired image. Images can be superimposed where, one image can be put on top of another to hide the original, or entirely, the original can be cut out and be replaced by the desired.  There is also the use of the split screens and especially, the film the birth of a nation has utilized this technique largely.

In the Birth of a Nation, D.W Griffith is effective in the use of this technique where, a diagonal split screen shot was used in depicting a burning Atlanta as split screens. It therefore shows that there are so many differences that are noted in the two films, that is, the Birth of a Nation by D.W Griffith and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. This is in the editing techniques where Brokeback utilizes the classical Hollywood techniques such as the 180° rule while the birth of a nation makes use of other forms such as the split screens. Overall, the two are seen to be successful in their own ways especially in the ways the themes or general moods are brought out. Even though different editing techniques are employed, the idea in all of them is to bring out the desires and some themes.

Works Cited

Hollyn, Norman. The Film Editing Room Handbook: How to Tame the Chaos of the Editing Room. Berkeley: Pearchpit Press, 2009.

Orpen, Valerie. Film Editing: The Art of the Expressive. London: Wallflower Press, 2003.




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