Group members: Todd Bratches, Kiara Cobb, James McMillan
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In our film Hangover, we utilized the film editing technique of montage to juxtapose present day experience with flashbacks, in order to create a suspenseful and thought-provoking film that reflects the intricate links made in the human mind. The focus of our film is the main character, who must reconstruct his memories of the night before. Waking up in the morning, he has no recollection of what occurred, but is slowly reminded through his actions. The film never explicitly determines what is real or imagined, and what is current or past. Montage is a form of editing that allows for seemingly organic representations of the fantastical, or on the other end of the spectrum, a representation of the human mind.
One of the most important aspects of our film is the confusion created from the flow of real time and flashbacks that hangs between the ordinary and illusion. The audience is not sure whether the screen portrays a diegetically true or imagined sequence of events—much like the main character who cannot fully remember or understand the consequences of his actions the night before. Like the audience, Todd will not discover Kiara’s suicide until the end of the movie, if he or we realize it even then. The jarring absence of a sequentially comprehensive timeline is only possible through montage, because long takes are limited to showing real actions happening in real time.
Not only can time and place be changed onscreen in montage, but these changes can be made to physically represent the human mind—something that is difficult to explicitly show through long shots (it is mainly portrayed through acting, not editing). Our film was almost entirely based off of memories in Todd’s mind. For example, the scene when Todd walks down the hallway that is switches back and forth from morning to evening shows the parallel in his actions, but with the ending of the movie, is more of a contrast; this is a juxtaposition that can only be accomplished through several cuts.
In addition to evident qualities that come with montage editing—building suspense, including a wider diegetic world etc.—there is the more subtle demand from the director for the audience to think about the specific cuts that are made. In a long take, the viewers must try and understand what happened before the scene, or what will happen as a result of a scene. With montage, all of that is shown on screen, and so we must try and understand why the director, or why the human mind, chooses to juxtapose certain memories or thoughts. In this way, montage editing goes one layer deeper in the cinematographic representation of the mind than long shot, and demands more thought and analysis from us as viewers.