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Overlapping editing in Potemkin

by Oliver Gaycken

The filmmakers of the Soviet avant garde are particularly well known for their experiments with film editing. In this clip we see an example of overlapping editing. The action of the sailor raising and smashing the plate is not shown in a single shot; instead, Eisenstein has broken the action down into a number of shots that repeat certain aspects of the movement, which results in its intensification.

His Girl Friday: Temporal expansion by overlapping action

by Michael Frierson

Overlapping action, replaying a portion of what has been shown extends time in tehe syuzhet (the plot unfolding on screen) and running time by inserting the action again. David Bordwell gives a classic Hollywood example of this from His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940) when Mollie Malloy (Helen Mack) the girlfriend of the escaped murderer Earl Williams (John Qualen) is driven from the room by the callous conversation of the newsroom reporters. Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) leaves with Mollie, and the reporters know they have behaved badly. When Hildy opens the door and returns to the room, Hawks cuts from the long shot of the group to a plan américain of Hildy repeating the action, addressing them sarcastically as “Gentlemen of the press.” This overlapped action, Bordwell argues, “accentuates the pause and Hildy’s muted denunciation. This instance shows that manipulation of duration in editing often requires controlling the frequency of the syuzhet event – repeating or not repeating a particular action.” from Narration in the Fiction film, p. 84.

Overlapping editing in Potemkin

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An example of overlapping editing from Battleship Potemkin.

from Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Creator: Sergei Eisenstein
Posted by Oliver Gaycken