The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film By Michael Ondaatje, The Conversations Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film The Conversations is a treasure essential for any lover or student of film and a rare intimate glimpse into the worlds of two accomplished artists who share a great passion for film and storytellin
  • Title: The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film
  • Author: Michael Ondaatje
  • ISBN: 9780375709821
  • Page: 208
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film By Michael Ondaatje, The Conversations is a treasure, essential for any lover or student of film, and a rare, intimate glimpse into the worlds of two accomplished artists who share a great passion for film and storytelling, and whose knowledge and love of the crafts of writing and film shine through.It was on the set of the movie adaptation of his Booker Prize winning novel, The English PatienThe Conversations is a treasure, essential for any lover or student of film, and a rare, intimate glimpse into the worlds of two accomplished artists who share a great passion for film and storytelling, and whose knowledge and love of the crafts of writing and film shine through.It was on the set of the movie adaptation of his Booker Prize winning novel, The English Patient, that Michael Ondaatje met the master film and sound editor Walter Murch, and the two began a remarkable personal conversation about the making of films and books in our time that continued over two years From those conversations stemmed this enlightened, affectionate book a mine of wonderful, surprising observations and information about editing, writing and literature, music and sound, the I Ching, dreams, art and history.The Conversations is filled with stories about how some of the most important movies of the last thirty years were made and about the people who brought them to the screen It traces the artistic growth of Murch, as well as his friends and contemporaries including directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Fred Zinneman and Anthony Minghella from the creation of the independent, anti Hollywood Zoetrope by a handful of brilliant, bearded young men to the recent triumph of Apocalypse Now Redux.Among the films Murch has worked on are American Graffiti, The Conversation, the remake of A Touch of Evil, Julia, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather all three , The Talented Mr Ripley, and The English Patient Walter Murch is a true oddity in Hollywood A genuine intellectual and renaissance man who appears wise and private at the centre of various temporary storms to do with film making and his whole generation of filmmakers He knows, probably, where a lot of the bodies are buried.
    The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film By Michael Ondaatje,
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    About "Michael Ondaatje"

    1. Michael Ondaatje

      He was born to a Burgher family of Dutch Tamil Sinhalese Portuguese origin He moved to England with his mother in 1954 After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen Ondaatje studied for a time at Bishops College School and Bishop s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, but moved to Toronto and received his BA from the University of Toronto and his MA from Queen s University in Kingston, Ontario and began teaching at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario In 1970 he settled in Toronto From 1971 to 1988 he taught English Literature at York University and Glendon College in Toronto.He and his wife, novelist and academic Linda Spalding, co edit Brick, A Literary Journal, with Michael Redhill, Michael Helm, and Esta Spalding.Although he is best known as a novelist, Ondaatje s work also encompasses memoir, poetry, and film.Ondaatje has, since the 1960s, also been involved with Toronto s influential Coach House Books, supporting the independent small press by working as a poetry editor.In 1988 Michael Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada OC and two years later became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.He has two children and is the brother of philanthropist, businessman, and author Christopher Ondaatje.In 1992 he received the Man Booker Prize for his winning novel adapted into an Academy Award winning film, The English Patient.

    709 thoughts on “The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film”

    1. This is just a fantastic book about film editing from one of the professions masters Murch is not only a great editor but he edited amazing films including The Conversation and Apocalypse Now amazing, of course, in no small part, thanks to Murch s contributions Hearing the behind the scenes stories on these films and others is really fantastic but what makes this book so much than the typical film history book is that Murch connects filmmaking to so many different disciplines painting, literatu [...]


    2. Two disclaimers First, I m recommending this book as a writer and not as a film editor or screenwriter Second I thoroughly resonated to this book because it mirrors the way I write and revise Having made these disclaimers, this is a book that I am recommeding to all my students If you aren t a writer who works in a linear manner and even if you are this book, in which a film editor explains the way he works, is like listening in on the silent conversations writers often have with themselves when [...]


    3. One of the two best books on filmmaking this and Sidney Lumet s Making Movies is all one needs to know.



    4. My co worker who majored in film recommended Walter Murch s book In the Blink of an Eye to me, but while researching that book on here a lot of reviewers seemed to recommend this one instead, since it covers a lot of the same material plus a whole lot This book will leave you in awe of Walter Murch, not just as a genius of film and sound editing, but as a true Renaissance man with interests in science, music, poetry, etc I especially recommend this book to my fellow cartoonist friends, since th [...]


    5. Great fun read between a now deceased author and the editor who cut some of the greatest movies made in the modern film era, including one of the author s own stories, The English Patient I loved every page of it and never wanted it to end.



    6. Murch My father would even stub his cigarettes out in paintings You can see the fragments of tobacco covered over with oil paint Or he d put a painting down and set cans of paint on it, so you see the rings of the cans on the canvas Or he would stand on a painting, and grid dirt into it Before he ever started on a painting, the canvas would have to go through a period of abuse We lived in an old apartment on Riverside Drive in New York, and the long hallway of the apartment was frequently carpet [...]



    7. I really loved this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys the intricacies of filmmaking for that matter, read this book if you like making stuff, period.





    8. Eavesdropping on conversations between highly intelligent people interests me in the way the conversations reveal the way the speakers think Reading The Conversations Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film fascinated me in much the same way Michael Ondaatje writes literary novels Walter Murch edits film and also is a sound mixer editor Seeing how they talked their way through interesting questions to find common ground in editing manuscript or movie energized my imagination Murch edited some i [...]


    9. Really enjoyed it, and makes me want to re see most of the movies mentioned as well as some that I haven t seen e.g Orson Welles, A Touch of Evil, that Murch re edited according to Welles wishes Some favourite quotes I can think of no higher tribute to a film than that you sense simultaneously that it s crystalline and organic at the same time Too crystalline and its lifeless, too organic and it s spinelessThere s that wonderful line of Rilke s, The point of life is to fail at greater and greate [...]


    10. This was an amazing book Granted, you do need to be a little bit of a film geek and maybe a literature geek to enjoy it to some extent But, as someone who has been really intrigued by the art of editing film, this book provides incredible insight into the philosophy and practices of the remarkable Walter Murch Murch has edited the Godfather series, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now redux, The English Patient, The Talented Mister Ripley, and many others This book offers some color on how a particu [...]


    11. Fascinating discussions focussing on film and sound editing between author poet Michael Ondaatje and film editor sound editor director writer translator Walter Murch who worked on Godfather Parts 1 3, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now with Francis Ford Coppola The English Patient with Anthony Minghella restoration of Orson Wells A Touch of Evil based on Wells notes Return to Oz which Murch co wrote and directed, etc The conversations provide insight into the considerations, craft and subtleti [...]


    12. I m not a film editor, but I learned so much by reading The Conversations Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film This is a book for film lovers, definitely, but also for writers, artists, and storytellers in general Broken down into four separate conversations that the author Michael Ondaatje, also the author of The English Patient had with Walter Murch, this book touches on subjects directly relating to film editing timing, sound effects, music, technology and on subjects that any creative pe [...]


    13. The Conversations Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film 2002 by Michael Ondaatje is a stimulating look into the world of film making from the point of view of a film editor Walter Murch is an erudite artist that has many other interests besides film and is very good at talking about his craft In fact, I found it somewhat galling his lack of knowledge about the history of cinema, in that he doesn t like to watch films while he is working, which I can understand, but it seems he was always work [...]


    14. Very enjoyable book giving considerable insights in the work of a film and sound editor Murch has always been an innovative artist, and the book is full of the ways in which he s added to the value of a movie by his work There s detail about specific approaches to problems, and as well as a breadth of vision in regard to moviemaking as a whole Ondaatje contributes his own thinking about creative work, so there is a real conversation rather than a question and answer book Murch has also been invo [...]


    15. Let s say the dramatic slope seems to be going up too fast Your tendency will be to do things editorially to compensate Then when you think it s going too slow, you will shorten things or boost the intensity.If you let that impulse completely loose out of its cage, what you ll find is that you may have pushed down a bulge at point A, but unbeknownst to you, later, at point C, there s going to be a compensating lift that you don t know about yet no one may know about it since films are usually sh [...]


    16. p.xviii As a writer I have found that the last two years of any book I work on are given over to its editing I may have spent four or five years writing in the dark, but now I have to discover the shape of the object I have been struggling to make, its true organic shape, that figure in the carpet I have made two documentary films, and my fictional works tend to follow this structural process shooting or writing everything for a number of months or years, then shaping the content into a new form [...]


    17. I don t have enough words for how great this book is Imagine sitting down and chatting with a man who has helped shape everything you know and love about film, who is not a well known name outside film circles, who helped shape some of your favorite cinematic works, and learn how he thinks and acts as he shapes things Along the way hear his insights on how everything he worked on has come together Most of the time you re nodding as you realize someone is putting into words what you always knew b [...]


    18. Film sound editor extraordinaire Walter Murch supplies the stories, acclaimed author Michael Ondaatje asks the questions in this fine book chock full of behind the scenes knowledge and technique Murch already shared ideas that are now part and parcel of the art of film editing in his book In the Blink of an Eye, but this book gets personal and delves into the relationships WM shared with other LA luminaries of the late 60s early 70s like Coppola and Lucas It s fascinating to learn about the ge [...]


    19. I found this book in a free box in front of my house, but i would have paid lots for it if i came across it in a store It was quite water damaged, which is sort of a shame because not only is it full of wise and interesting words but it s really well designed and appointed with numerous photos and frame grabs from the numerous incredible films that Murch has worked on, illustrating the concepts being talked about Basically, anyone who makes films, especially editors, should read this book It s j [...]


    20. I don t usually like QA style interviews, but this book is a notable exception because it s like eavesdropping on a private conversation between two very savvy colleagues Murch has some original and intriguing things to say about the ways he approaches his art like theorizing that movie music reinforces an existing emotion rather than inspiring one Here s looking forward to his next book the one in which he posits his notational scheme for cinema It sounds like a crackpot idea, rather like that [...]


    21. An absolute must read You don t even have to be interested in film to appreciate this book of conversations in which Michael Ondaatje and Walter Murch discuss everything under the sun Throws a much needed wrench into auteur as director, suggesting that geniuses come through every field In the case of Murch, this would be his innovative work in sound mixing editing and film editing It simply does not get fascinating than this In fact, you re doing a disservice to yourself by not reading it It le [...]


    22. One of the most pleasurable reads I ve had in a long time Murch is fascinating on just about every subject he touches Having just read a book of interviews with Wes Anderson, I especially appreciated that Ondaatje approached Murch as a fellow artist and not as a fan boy It s very much a dialog between two artists who are genuinely curious about the universe and art s place within it.Also, this inspired me to rewatch THE CONVERSATION which perfectly distills many of techniques Murch discusses.


    23. Fascinating The record of four conversations between the author, Michael Ondaatje and the subject, Walter Murch, film editor, sound mixer, director, renaissance man, on an endless stream of topics related directly and tangentially to the art of editing film From Orson Welles For my style, for my vision of the cinema, editing is not simply one aspect it s the aspect The notion of directing a film is the invention of critics like you to Rilke The point of life is to fail at greater and greater thi [...]


    24. This probably ranks up there with Hitchcock Truffaut in terms of the level of back and forth discourse between Ondaatje and Murch Both men draw on their own experiences as writer and editor and do much to unpack our understanding of how films function as complex works of art that depend on rhythm and pacing for our understanding Ondaatje s entry point is The English Patient, which means he dwells on his experiences with the movie, but for my money, it s Murch s pedigree of Lucas and Coppola part [...]


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