What Is Wrong With Me?

10 08 2007

I am so not concerned with this article that the Martin Scorsese film of the Rolling Stones concert has been postponed until next April so, I assume that there is something wrong with me.

First, let me say that his 1978 film about The Band’s farewell concert in San Francisco, THE LAST WALTZ, is (IMHO) one of the best concert films ever. It’s got a variety of really fantastic performances shot with great intelligence. And it feels like I was there — if my head could have been detached from my body and spun all around the Fillmore from the best damned vantage points ever.

So, why don’t I care about anything except one little telltale thing? Probably because I haven’t been interested in things Mick for about twenty years (I would admit to a longer period than that, but that would date me horribly, wouldn’t it?). Generally, I find concert films of just a single band not so interesting. Even The Boss, who I think is a damned God, was a complete yawn in the video of his recent tour. I am looking forward, in an intellectual way, to the U2 3-D film that’s been making the rounds recently, But I’m not sure how excited I am about it.

This film, though, needs more than WOW THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE STONES AND IT’S DIRECTED BY THE GUY WHO DID TAXI DRIVER to make me care.

One thing that IS interesting, however (and it’s probably just an entertainment reporter at Reuters not really knowing about filmmaking) is the following quote:

Scorsese, who often uses Rolling Stones compositions in his movies, was in Rome early last month to screen a rough cut of the film for the band. The documentary originally had been set to open in theaters on September 21.

Taken on face value this is preposterous. I simply cannot believe that any Scorsese film which is still in rough cut as of August 9, is going to be ready for release a mere six weeks later. Rough cut?!? Are you kidding? The guy takes months to lock a picture! You’re not going to convince me that he was ready to release a picture that quickly.

Locking, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, means that no more picture editorial changes will be made to the film and it is ready to go into music and sound editing. Rough cut, for those same people, is the first cut that we editors put together. I have worked with directors who will call everything a rough cut, until we lock, but I think that that is an absurd use of the term. We work very hard, as editors in the full cut of the film that we present to our directors after the wrap of principal photography, to shape it and smooth everything out. The roughness of this cut comes from the fact that it generally includes all of the scenes in the script, in their scripted order and with all dialogue that was shot. The real work of editing has not necessarily started yet. And, by that, I mean the reshaping and recrafting that are made necessary by the realities of the shot footage.

I can talk more about this in a later post if you’d like, but for now let me just say that we all endeavor to put the “rough cut” behind us as fast as we can.

So is Scorsese’s film is still in rough cut (the real rough cut, as I’ve just described), then it’s nowhere near ready for release.

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