Compare the editing styles, aims, and consequences of D. Griffith, Sergi Eisenstein, and Dziga Vertov. What is the relation between editing and "telling a story" in each? How do they reflect the cultures (Hollywood, Revolutionary Soviet Union) from which they come?.
During the early days of film, few filmmakers stood out more for their unique styles and views of editing in film than D.W. Griffith, Sergi Eisenstein, and Dziga Vertov. These men were well ahead of their time. Each was a storyteller with an exclusive view on how a story should be told, and each story they created focused heavily on the ability to edit film.
Film editing is defined as the joining of one shot with another. The two shots that are then joined have the ability to show different places in time, location, you name it. When editing was first discovered it took time before filmmakers got a real feel for it. Vertov, Griffith, and Eisenstein were the innovators, they displayed the type of impact editing could really have.
Griffith was one of Hollywood's first great directors. His timeless classic Birth of a Nation put his true editing skills on display for the first time. He was the first to edit for a story. Utilizing the technique of cross cutting, Griffith was able give his stories extra emphasis and flair. This helped to create the classic Hollywood style of editing for story.
In his film Birth of a Nation, Griffith utilizes cross cutting near the final scene. As the town becomes riotous and Stoneman and his daughter are under siege, Griffith repeatedly flashes from the town to the gathering of the clan. The more intense the situation in the town becomes; the swifter the clan begins to ride. As a viewer, emotions begin take rise, and the search for good and evil begins. Who in this situation is right? We cannot be in favor of the KKK; they are the epitome of evil. Yet, can those pillaging the small town be heroes? Griffith's superb job of editing is the key factor behind the viewer's struggle.