“Editing in camera” consists of the following methods:
Composing while shooting, concentrating on the minute development of a subject at each moment, catching scenes by inspiration, excluding any meaning and sense of plot, and mediating instrument with mind by body to transfer the inspiration to the function of camera. And, uniting camera and body creating a film as a product of the tension the world and self.
Works of Yasunosuke Gonda(1887-1951), a Japanese sociologist, can be classified into four groups: (a) a sort of encyclopedic enlightenment of film, (b) a massive investigation of statistical sociology into audiences of film and performing arts, (c) a vigorous defense of popular entertainment, (d) a social education for beautifying life.
Viewed from theory of film, his first book on film PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATION OF MOVING PICTURE (1914) must be reevaluated. The points of his argument are: (1) Film is reaching matuality as a completely new medium, (2) Film has many aesthetical characteristics as art, (3) Film will soon produce a new civilization because of its democratic character.
Thus, Gonda proposed to set up a science [ study ] of moving picture, which is somewhat close to the conception of filmologie in France after the World War II, and comparing with some other Western major works, by Vachel Lindsay or Hugo Münsterberg for example, Gonda’s works are of the same period, or even pioneering.
The movement of avant-garde films reached its summit in the 1920’s and, as is well known, it greatly contributed to the cinema’s independence as an artistic genre. Among various attempts in this movements, we can appreciate especially some French works, generally called cinéma pur, whose avant-garde spirit is, in my opinion, still worth looking back; a cinéma pur is characteristic in its attempt to make up an original “other” world, being full of visionary scenes and unnatural events, although it structuraly utilizes ordinary images that are reproductions of “our” world.
However, the view that esteems exclusively a cinéma pur’s optical procedures and skillful cuttings is hardly agreeable for me. As unconventional procedures and tricks are generally followed by other film makers and, as a result, transformed into a cliché, the true value of cinéma pur should be defined quite otherwise. The most important point is, in my estimation, those pioneers’ creative will – what Hans Richter calls “the uninhibited use of creative energy” – which is reflected in their serious struggles for original expressions.
As the optical technology has exceedingly developed, we are now in the days when the idea of “technique for technique’s sake” is apt to be dominant. Therefore it shall not be wasteful for us to recall those pioneers’ works and their “creative energy” to our mind.