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Timing, Rhythm, and Pace > Timing, Rhythm, and Pace - Pg. 481

chapTer 21 the art and technique of editing 463 Figure 21-25 The jarring editing style and lapses in continuity augment the energetic introduction of the street gangs in City of God. two scenes with contrasting visual rhythms. The very first scene plunges the audience into the sounds, colors, people, food, music, and dangers of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. A street party is in progress with food being prepared and music playing. The sequence is put together with familiar editing patterns. For example, there is a POV sequence involving a tied up chicken; the chicken looks (looking shot) and sees a knife cutting the throat of another chicken (POV shot), and when we cut back to the chicken (reaction shot) we see panic in his eyes (thank you, Mr. Kuleshov) (Figure 21-24). The chicken then tries to pull free of his bindings (cause and effect). Once the chicken is free, a chase sequence ensues, with gun-wielding kids trying to kill the frantic chicken in the alleys of the favela (Figure 21-25). However, while the basic patterns are familiar, the editing (and camera work) does not strictly adhere to the rules of continuity. Through rapid cutting, combined with dynamic visual discontinuity and percussive jump cuts, the editor creates a visual equivalent for the driving and syncopated Brazilian Batucada rhythms that play on the sound track. By varying the length of shots, which creates surprising accents throughout the scene, the cutting assiduously avoids a constant rhythm. Instead, the cuts create a complex syncopated visual rhythm that instantly holds the audience through its momentum and visual audacity. The propulsive energy of the scene would be destroyed by smooth, continuity style cuts, perfect matches on action, strict adherence to the 180° rule, and editing that was too metrically regular. When you watch this sequence, you can turn off the sound track and still dance to it! During the dynamically rhythmic chicken chase scene, the film cuts to Buscapé, the level-headed protagonist of the film, who is casually walking and talking with a friend (Figure 21-26). Buscapé has a calm, thoughtful, Figure 21-26 Buscapé's (Alexandre Rodrigues) introduction in City of God is marked by a shift in editing and cinematographic styles, immediately establishing him as a level-headed, decent character.