On Rhythm in Film Editing

  • Karen Pearlman


Philosophical discussions of film are divided in their treatment of the subject rhythm in film editing. Analytic philosophers tend to avoid discussion of it, while continental philosophers give it expansive consideration. This chapter aims to bridge these two traditions by analytically articulating what rhythm is, how it is shaped, and what it is for, while still respecting that it is, in both a film editor’s and an audience’s experience, a felt phenomenon. In order to do this, consideration is given both to the firsthand perspective of experienced editors and the articulations of philosophers. This synthesis of practice and theory reveals how an understanding of the editor’s embodied cognitions, affective responses, and expert actions in shaping rhythm can shed light on rhythm’s effect on audiences. The chapter finds that rhythm in film editing is time, energy, and movement shaped by timing, pacing, and trajectory phrasing for the purpose of creating cycles of tension and release.


Rhythm Film editing Embodied cognition Timing Pacing Trajectory phrasing Tension and release 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Pearlman
    • 1
  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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