The Art of Parallel Editing: From D.W. Griffith to Nolan’s Inception
Editing is one of the main toolbox available for filmmakers to tell their story, and we often say that it is when the third draft of the film is written. Some of tools have become classics, others have different cycles of life, and we often fall into one of the six editing techniques developed by Vsevolod Pudovkin.
In his video essay The Inception of Movie Editing: DW Griffith, Kevin B. Lee shows how the ‘father of narrative cinema‘, DW Griffith mastered the Parallel editing technique to tell more complex and ambitious stories, something he believes Christopher Nolan borrowed for his multi-layered dream induced Inception.
So what’s Parallel Editing?
Here is what Lee says: “In Parallel editing, separate scenes in different locations or periods are cut together to make it appear as if they are unfolding at the same time.”
For Lee, D.W. Griffith “practically invented such techniques like parallel editing, pushing them to unprecedented levels of complexity and depth.” And this is what Lee’s goes on demonstrating with the video below.
The “demonstration” about whether or not Nolan’s use of parallel editing is more mind-blowing than Griffith, feels like an excuse to really talk about this narrative technique than can be a powerful tool to tell compelling stories. And this is really what it’s all about. Check below the video for more links to take it one step further.