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Parallel editing in The Godfather

by Oliver Gaycken

This sequence from The Godfather provide an example of parallel editing. One event--the christening--is intercut (or crosscut) with other events--a series of murders. The implication is that these events are occurring simultaneously or at roughly the same time (it's unlikely that the murders would all be occurring at precisely the same time). The narrative effect of the parallel editing is to juxtapose these two lines of action. On the one hand, this juxtaposition is ironic, since Michael professes to renounce the Devil and yet we see that he has ordered a series of murders, which is clearly a cardinal sin. On the other hand, however, there is also a resonance between the two lines of action, namely, the creation of "family." The christening introduces a new member into the family of the church, and the murders effect the consolidation of the Corleone crime family's hold on power.

Parallel editing in The Godfather

An example of parallel editing in The Godfather

from The Godfather (1972)
Creator: Francis Ford Coppola
Distributor: Paramount
Posted by Oliver Gaycken