Order in Chaos

Lillhammer University college, the norwegian film school

project manager: Associate professor niels pagh andersen

We human beings have since the dawn of time tried to find order in chaos. We are doing it by telling stories witch makes logic and teach us the difference between right and wrong, evil and good. In the world of cinema we have created a way of telling stories, with a set of rules for a narrative structure, which we are basing our films upon.

The question for me is, how does those rules affect the stories we are telling and how does the stories effects us human beings in the way we are looking at ourselves? That is the main theme in my artistic reserach project Order in Chaos.

The film editor is a storyteller in living images and s/he has a knowledge about dramaturgical rules and how these cinematic tools influence the audience experience. My research will analyse my former works as an editor in order to investigate the limitations of the classic dramaturgy. Through the editing of the film “The Look of Silence” I will investigate the possibilities of expanding that dramaturgy and character-building to open up new layers of understanding and experience for the audience.

For more than 30 years I have as a film editor worked with the classic narrative method which is build on identification with a sympathetic main character.

This method was tested 3 years ago while I was editing Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing”, where the main character was a mass murderer whose ambition was to justify his past actions by re-enacting the murders into film scenes. “The Act of Killing” follows the process of the re-enactments and the discussions which takes place during the filming. “The Act of Killing” is a documentary film about self-presentation and storytelling.

While editing the film we could not use the classic narrative method and had to invent a new language and set of narrative rules. Joshua Oppenheimer’s new film “The Look of Silence” deals with the same historical event, but this time seen from the victims’ point of view. The editing of “The Look of Silence” is the first part of my artistic development project is now finished. The second part is to analyse and draw conclusions in an E-book.