An uncanny commonality ties together the five pics nominated for editing in the dramatic feature film category of the ACE Eddie Awards.
Whether it’s the raw tale of a rock star who really lived (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) or two who didn’t (“A Star Is Born,” pictured above), the intimate life of an astronaut (“First Man”), an undercover cop battling racism (“BlacKkKlansman”) or the reimagined memories of a filmmaker’s own childhood (“Roma”), all these films approach their storytelling with a modern cinema verite style.
Adam Gough, who edited “Roma” along with helmer Alfonso Cuaron, also focused on an editing style that would guide the audience in a natural, seamless way. Indeed, as he was reviewing the material, there were moments when fights on screen reminded him of his own relationship with his brother. Gough began editing without a script and was immediately struck by the honesty of the footage. The editor hoped he could bring that realism into play for viewers.
“Damien [Chazelle] always knew that audiences would come to the theaters with knowledge of Neil Armstrong the icon, and the best thing we could do would be to try to shed some light on Neil Armstrong the person,” says Tom Cross, editor of “First Man.” “We shot a lot of rehearsal footage with Ryan [Gosling] and Claire [Foy] and the young actors who played the kids because we wanted them to feel comfortable with each other when we started, and we ended up using a lot of that rehearsal footage because it was so natural and honest.”
“We wanted to be as honest as possible about what happens when someone becomes a rock star and show some of the darker things that happened to him even while we maintained a PG-13 rating so the movie would be accessible to audiences, and the band really wanted us to see Freddie for who he was.” “It was important that you get a full picture of Freddie Mercury as a person aside from the myth of Freddie Mercury that he created on stage,” says Ottman.
John Ottman, editor on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” was also working with biographical material that also needed to work as a filmic narrative. Though some of the concert history details were changed to fit the film with the blessing of the surviving members of “Queen,” Ottman still included the rough edges of frontman Freddie Mercury in the film.
It’s something he and Lee have done on a number of films such as “Malcolm X.” On this film, Brown also utilized outtakes from Alec Baldwin’s narration at the beginning of the film. Barry Alexander Brown, editor of “BlacKkKlansman” and longtime collaborator of helmer Spike Lee, focused on telling the history of racism by using classic narrative techniques that also incorporated documentary style footage.
The editor also created a pacing that allowed the narrative to unfold in a more natural style, allowing the audience to spend more time in intimate moments with characters. For “A Star Is Born,” editor Jay Cassidy was focused on telling a love story that was as raw as it was magical — and it was a story that would only work if the characters were allowed to be flawed.
They didn’t want what happens in many musicals where you have a sense of disconnect between the picture on the screen and what you’re hearing.” “[Co-star] Lady Gaga and Bradley also wanted to preserve the live vocals because they wanted it to feel and sound real, which also kept the sense of the place where they were singing. “[Director and co-star] Bradley Cooper knew exactly what he wanted in terms of seeing how these characters struggled with their relationship and with themselves,” says Cassidy.
We had to trust the emotion in the selection of the footage and the rhythm and the tempo that we used to carry the audience to the real emotions of the story.” “I think there’s an advantage to telling these kinds of original stories, having fresh ideas and not being on the back of something else,” says Gough. “I also think there’s an advantage when you have your own personal, real emotional reaction to the footage.
“One of the things that I think this film does so beautifully is meld all these deceptions about racism that makes them seem separate but are really part of the same problem in American culture,” says Brown. “We use footage from today in a documentary way to show that the problems of today are the problems of the past.”” />

To counter potential digital era drawbacks Venice this year placed an embargo on posting reviews until a film’s public screening takes place. Variety critic Owen Gleiberman called it a “turbulently spectacular and enthralling drama,” confirming awards buzz generated by the pic in April when Universal showed footage at CinemaCon. But given the all-around response to “First Man” earlier verdicts would not have posed a problem.
As part of the Redgrave tribute Venice is also hosting a special screening of her latest film, Venice-set "The Aspern Papers," a first feature by French director Julien Landais adapted from the novella by Henry James.
Redgrave was accompanied by Italian actor Franco Nero, her second husband, whom she met when they played Lancelot and Guinevere in the film musical “Camelot,” a clip of which appeared in her moving career summary showreel.
During the opening ceremony, before the “First Man” gala screening, Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta greeted Chazelle with a warm “Welcome back!.” “First Man,” which is in competition, marks the second opening-night Venice bow for the 33-year-old director after his “La La Land,” which kicked off the festival in 2016 before sailing into the awards season and earning him an Oscar for best director.
The fest runs through Sept. 8.” />
The highlight of the fest’s customary bare bones opening ceremony was Vanessa Redgrave cheered with a standing ovation when she received a lifetime achievement Golden Lion. Speaking in Italian, Redgrave praised the festival as “really being about the art of cinema” and said that one of the things she loves about Venice are American author Donna Leon’s Venice-set murder mysteries.
The glowing critical response went out around the world just as Gosling and co-star Claire Foy were sending fans and paparazzi into a frenzy on the red carpet.
The Venice Film Festival had a successful blast-off Wednesday with Damien Chazelle’s space epic “First Man” — starring Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong dazzling its first viewers and scoring rave reviews.
"First Man" will be followed by a rapid succession of hotly anticipated titles in the next few days, including Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical “Roma,” shot in black and white; Yorgos Lanthimos’ offbeat costumer, “The Favourite”; Bradley Cooper’s remake of “A Star Is Born,” starring himself and Lady Gaga making her big-screen debut; and Jacques Audiard’s Oregon-set Western, “The Sisters Brothers,” in which Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly play two notorious assassins.
Jury president Guillermo Del Toro at the end of the closing ceremony praised this year's selection as "incredibly rich and powerful," noting that the nine-member jury has a difficult task. But he gave directors of the 21 pics competing for the Golden Lion his "personal guarantee” about “the seriousness with which we will conduct the business of analyzing, discussing and fighting for these movies.”