Chapter 4

What is rhythm for? We know what it is made of (time, energy and movement—see Chapters 1 and 2). We know how it is shaped (timing, pacing and trajectory phrasing—see Chapter 3). But what is it for? Why does a film need it? This chapter suggests two reasons: we need it to create cycles of tension and release and we need it to synchronize the audience with the movement of the film.

Here’s how it works: The editor shapes movement of events, movement of emotions, movement of images and sounds into rhythms that we follow empathetically. If she shapes them well we synchronize with them. We tense with the rise of tension, we let go with the release. Our minds, emotions, and bodies move with the rhythmic ...

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