Friday, April 23, 2010

Throwing a bone to Apichatpong's editor, Lee Chatametikool

Watch enough Thai films, and one of the names that you'll see often as the credits roll by is editor Lee Chatametikool.

His list of credits offers a cross-section of Thai cinema, including the mainstream GTH horror of Shutter, comedies like Sayew, Cherm and The Sperm and even Hollywood co-productions like Bitter/Sweet and The Elephant King.

But he's best known for his work on indie films.

He's been credited with shaping the non-linear direction of Anocha Suwichakornpong's Mundane History, for example. He also edited Aditya Assarat's award-winning Wonderful Town.

He recently picked up his second Asian Film Award for editing on Malaysian director Chris Chong's indie drama Karaoke.

Perhaps his best-known collaborations have been with Apitchatpong Weerasethakul. Lee's cut the frames on Joei's previous Cannes prize winners, Blissfully Yours and Tropical Malady, as well as Syndromes and a Century.

He's also edited Apichatpong's latest, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which is in the Official Selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

It's on that occasion that Lee sat down for a one-on-one with the Bangkok Posts' Kong Rithee, who says Lee's award-winning "touch is talismanic". Here's the first question:

A blunt question, what is editing? Or what does an editor do in a movie?

It's a way to tell a story _ and it does a lot more, too. Editing juxtaposes two images, and in that juxtaposition, you can create a new meaning. So editing allows a film to do things that aren't possible through other elements of the filmmaking, like camera movement or acting. For instance, like in that famous shot in 2001: Space Odyssey, in which an ape tosses up a bone then we cut to a spaceship -- the impact like that can only be achieved with editing.

Lee's also got his own feature in development, Past Love, which is being produced by Anocha.

Anyway, read the rest for more of Lee's thoughts on the art of film editing, Hollywood style and who his favorite editors are.

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