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Cutting Rhythms by Karen Pearlman

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CHAPTER 6

Physical Rhythm

In the late 1920s Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov made a strong argument, in words and through his films, for editing being a means of showing the truth of the movement of the world:

To edit; to wrest, through the camera, whatever is most typical, most useful, from life; to organize the film pieces wrested from life into a meaningful rhythmic visual order, a meaningful visual phrase, an essence of “I see.”1

If one is concerned with physical rhythm, one is concerned, as Vertov proclaims above, with “meaningful rhythmic visual order,” not as a means to something else but as a revelation in and of itself.

“Physical rhythm” is the rhythm created by the editor when she prioritizes the flow of the visible and audible ...

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