Today we’ll touch on the technical side of filmmaking – the Best Editing nominees of the 27th Malaysia Film Festival (FFM27)! The awards ceremony, due on the 5th of September, will see top honours in the film industry handed out to several filmmakers and actors.
Editing is the art of assembling individual shots into a coherent sequence in order to tell the story in the best way possible.
According to National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), the checklist for choosing a recipient for the award involves a few simple questions: Does the film have a ‘flawless flow’ from scene to scene? Does the editing style blocks the emotions of the audience? What are the level of creativity and skill as well as style and precision of the editing?
Amir & Loqman Pergi Ke Laut edited by Nazim Shah
Our verdict: We love the commendable editing of the fight scene between Kak Mata Sedih (Tengku Sariwani Tengku Muzani @ Kuniey) and Kiah Koboi (Nadia Mustafar) that incorporated slow-motion to heighten the intensity – you could see every change of expression with every impact of the punches and kicks.
However, there were a couple of hitches to the film’s continuity such as: 1) Moving shots that cut to static shots and vice versa can be confusing and distressing to the audience, and 2) A character walks towards the left of the screen but in the next shot, he enters the frame from the left as well, making it hard to understand the movement and placement of characters.
As a whole, Amir & Loqman Pergi Ke Laut managed to hold our attention and kept us engaged throughout its 97-minute run. Thank goodness the film was not paced slowly or it would have been excruciating to sit through its storyline. Unfortunately, we cannot overlook its jarring transitions as mentioned above.
Lelaki Harapan Dunia edited by Liew Seng Tat
Our verdict: This acclaimed film displayed the simplest and cleanest editing. Thus, there is minimum discontinuity between shots and we get a sequence of scenes that fit together perfectly and flow from one another smoothly without appearing jarring, awkward, or confusing.
Lelaki Harapan Dunia is a fine example of how editing is part of storytelling. The editing weaves two separate stories of Pak Awang’s quest and Solomon’s misfortune into one until they finally meet during the final scene.
The Cage edited by Erik Moh
Our verdict: The Cage is a reality drama film in which actors perform without a script and ‘not-good’ (NG) takes. The directors explained that they shot this film as a ‘one scene, one take’ project; no retakes were allowed and all the films actors were required to react spontaneously to events that happen to them during production.
This begs the question of how a film of this premise is edited. Set within the confined space of the cage, how will the editor make the shots not appear repetitive and boring to the viewers? Surprisingly, the film segued seamlessly from one actor to another, keeping our eyes and brains working actively to keep up with the events in the film.
At times, too much was going on in the cage making it hard for us focus on a single character because of the fast cuts between them. Nevertheless, credit must be given to the editor in making this reality drama film as interesting as possible, seeing that the whole film is dominantly set within a single location.
Dollah Superstar edited by Adilan Azemi
Our verdict: Dollah Superstar has the most flawless flow amongst the five nominees. The film moves from one shot to another according to the pace and rhythm of the story, taking the viewers on a ride through this really unexpected funny and entertaining film.
There were many fight scenes in Dollah Superstar and although there was nothing fancy like slo-mo effect to wow us, the film’s combat felt more natural and in-the-moment to us. We say this because in Amir & Loqman Pergi Ke Laut, there were times where some shots had to block (what we assume) the stunt person in place of Kak Mata Sedih and Kiah Koboi.
Terbaik Dari Langit edited by Rewan Ishak
Our verdict: Despite its simple storyline, we notice that Terbaik Dari Langit has three versions of reality –the real world, Berg’s hallucinations, and scenes of Berg’s experimental film. All of which are gelled very well together to the flow of the story and the euphonious soundtrack by PitaHati.
However, the flashbacks can be a little confusing. For example, we couldn’t quite grasp the timeline of the film when it came to a few scenes – when Ijam (Iedil Putra) asks his assistant, Sara (Sharifah Amani) whether he should join Berg’s road trip, and when the doctor reveals Berg’s (Bront Palarae) sickness, it was not easy to tell which point of time in the film we were witnessing.
The Daily Seni’s Choice
It’s a close tie between Lelaki Harapan Dunia and Dollah Superstar but we will go for the latter for its consistent style of editing throughout the film!