“The Night of the Hunter” (1955) opens with an ominously dark night sky, sprinkled with stars and permeated by the righteous voice of Ms. Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish). Ms. Cooper is recounting a tale of the age-old struggle between good and evil. She cautions us that malice takes many shapes and forms, that it can come in the disguise of sheep’s clothes, but beneath the surface are “ravening wolves.” And on this unsubtle yet effectively unsettling note, the epic tale of two children’s endurance through adversity begins. [click to continue….]
An editor splicing together 16 mm film. Photo Credit: Matthew Cavanaugh
Irritated, lost and matted by a tired, cold sweat, I arrived at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU not fully knowing what to expect. Of all of the intricacies and nuances of film, I had never for more than a few minutes considered the significance of film editing, and how it could so easily make or break a movie. The construction and deconstruction of a film were hardly more than purposeful, passing thoughts that were bound to be stored somewhere around the middle-ground of my mind. I took a seat on the floor of the lobby and did my best to settle into the school’s environment. It wasn’t too hard; the school radiated a bustling, enthusiastic vibe that on most good days matched that of the city it was situated in. Only a minute aura of the school’s true prestige was evident as I quietly observed it. This thought added a bit more comfort. The mild excitement of a new experience, and the raging headache I had slightly obscured my emotions, blurring them. They reminded me that so far– from my overly early exit from school to resorting to call my mother to ask for the directions – it had just not been my day. Maybe, though, there was a chance that this could improve it.
Jennifer Ruff, from the Department of Graduate Film at NYU, spoke with Film TRaC this spring.
That fragment of a hopeful thought did not disappoint. As I fought to keep my eyes open and a nagging yawn at bay, our instructor and guide took the floor. Ms. Jennifer Ruff, editor at New York University’s Graduate Department of Film and Television, captured my focus simply by her calm composure, and her equally earnest and relaxed approach to describing the process of editing. From the tattoos scrawled down her arms to her clear wealth of knowledge, she was the focal point of the room and my unwavering attention. [click to continue….]