The Use Of Editing In "Bowling For Columbine"

1364 words - 5 pages

Editing is the act of assembling components of a piece by cutting and splicing. As a filmmaker, and especially when making a documentary, the use of editing is very important in putting together ideas and arguments. In the case of a documentary, editing can be used to further push a thesis and prove a point which the filmmaker is trying to put across. The possibilities are endless; dialogues can be shortened, scenes can be added or cut, or even switched around to be in any order desired. By doing such things, a very plain portion of footage can be used to argue an idea. In the movie, "Bowling for Columbine," Michael Moore is a genius when it comes to his editing choices concerning Charlton Heston and the NRA. Using a few well placed insert shots Moore is able to bring the attention away from Heston long enough to change around parts of his speech and shorten dialogues. By means of crosscuts he is able to make it seem as if though Heston is talking insensitively to the weeping children of Columbine. All of this is an attempt to incriminate Heston by deception. Moore gives the story, but emphasizes the parts that promote his argument. By means of the numerous little editing "tweaks" mentioned above, Michael Moore is able to use "Bowling for Columbine" as propaganda against the NRA and make Charlton Heston the antagonist villain.A crosscut is a cut where the camera jumps from one scene to another and makes it seem like they are happening concurrently. Moore's first use of a crosscut to incriminate Heston is during the shooting and Denver NRA meeting scenes. At first, Moore has footage of the Columbine massacre; interviews with different people, actual footage from the school. He ends this scene with crying children outside the school. Directly after this, he cuts to Heston, who is at an NRA rally. This is Moore's use of the crosscut. Heston is holding a musket and proclaiming "I have only five words for you: from my cold, dead, hands." He put the NRA rally directly after the crying children on purpose. It's an attempt to make Heston look unsympathetic to the entire situation, and a supporter of gun violence. He makes it seem as if Heston's comments are directed towards these weeping children. Another interesting thing to note is that Moore makes it seem as if this quote comes from a rally at Denver, however, it was not given directly after Columbine, rather a year later in Charlotte, North Carolina; He was giving thanks for the fact that he was given a handmade musket by a member of the NRA (Fritz). Clearly, giving thanks for a handmade musket in no way relates to the massacre of Columbine. But as the viewers, we have no idea where he is directing that comment, and Moore deliberately cuts to that part of the speech for this reason. In addition, Moore doesn't say that this is from the Denver convention, but he doesn't say it isn't either. If we knew that this speech was given a year later there is no way we could logically connect it to the events...

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