Thursday, September 24, 2009

Editing for Rhythm in Delicatessen

The editing rhythm in this scene from "Delicatessen" is definitely an example of, as "Analysis of Production Elements" puts it, the "music of the image." The editing is dependent on the rhythm of the squeaking (which is made by the butler). This symbolizes the dependence of the characters on the butcher who are doing daily acts in accordance with the squeaking. The squeaking represents the butler, who provides the only source of food in the town, making the noise. 
Each duration of the shot mimics the rhythm: the first shot is very slow-moving and lasts very long while the girl uses the squeaking as her metronome for the scale she plays on the cello. This long shot creates suspense and desire. 
As the squeaking gets faster, so do the actions of the people and the editing. The "rapidly edited shots build tension, indicate urgency, and create a rushed atmosphere." This urgency indicates that something is wrong which is represented by the following symbolism: The other characters following the rhythm are also trying to drown out the sound. Their act represents the characters' dislike of the butcher. However, they must still deal with the sound by covering it up, just like they must deal with the butcher, regardless of their opinion of him, because he is their only source of food (the world is in a famine). Ultimately, they are dependant on him just as their actions are dependent of his squeaking. At the end of this scene, all of the characters face their limit and either break their cello's string or fall from the ceiling, etc. which foreshadows their impending rage against the butler.

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