Editing Diary "Siblings in Conflict"
editing the film "Siblings in Conflict", which was part of
my Masters thesis, I kept on writing and writing in my
"Editing Diary". I publish this document here with all it's
mistakes and private notes, because it gives the interested
reader an idea of what I call "wild editing": The concept of the film was
overthrown over and over again - new inputs gave the film a
complete new structure and even a new topic.
After reading Ruby and his Picturing Culture I draw my
attention again to another direction. The process of
filmmaking is in no sense completed. Now, that the shooting
might be over and the postproduction is going to start, my
influence on how the film will look like does actually get
in the highest altitude. Until some days a go I thought I
will do a relatively conventional film. I did think of
showing the footage of the non-priveledged milking in some
way, but I never really believed myself onto that. I
thought I would edit a puzzle of social interactions of my
guest family. Now my plan has shifted slightly. After being
introduced to Rubys understanding of the future of the
visual anthropology, I now want to include his ideas, those
that I follow, in my production. Especially his demand for
a "painful reflexivity" is what I am thinking of. I
understand his reasons for demanding that the
anthropologists must make the conditions of the production
understandable. In discussing the film The ax fight he
demonstrates how reflexivity can be introduced into a film
in the post production phase. Unfortunately he does not
give straight suggestions on how to include reflexivity
while shooting. He does mention some possibilities that
have been done so far, like Rouch and the MacDougalls but I
miss some clear criteria on how the filming anthropologists
have to be reflexive while filming. In reflecting on Asch's
ideas I now need to see the Ax fight - but I already know
that I want to make something similar. Some days before I
thought a different film will be produced then I think now.
Even after shooting, the construction of the film is in a
highly creative phase; or especially after shooting.
Thinking about that, I feel I have the moral obligation to
make the audience aware of my possibility to tell different
stories with the material I have recorded. I don't know how
I will decide in the end, when I actually started with
editing but at the moment I see two main possibilities for
the project. The first one is to produce from the same
material different versions of film. The second possibility
is to make one (long!) film where the different versions I
think of are all included. I think of a version where there
are no subtitles, one where there is a marginalized editing
and one where I may shape the material more and so on.
There are always many ways one can edit his film. The
decision one makes on how in the end the film looks like
influences the audience how to see the people and culture
portrayed. To make this authorship transparent I will have
to make this process to a topic of the film.
This morning it is raining cats. I wonder if Felix (who
brings the soft- & hardware along) will arrive by plane
today. I am now waiting for the things to start and then I
think I will need one or two weeks until I have copied the
material onto the disk. After that I want to translate the
material, which I think I might use in the end. The final
cut will then be done in Germany. I wished that I can
present the work to as many audiences as possible. I liked
Asch way in presenting the film in class and after that to
reedit. I would love to show the film to the people
portayed, but I do not know now, how much this will be
possible. Actually it is well possible to go back for 2 or
3 days at least and present the film. Then I can record the
talk during the screening and get a translation of it to
present in my written thesis. This means work and I wonder
where I should stop. But it would be a pretty nice thing...
As the question is not whether I will show the film to the
people portrayed but if I do include this screening into
the thesis I do not have to think so much about my moral
obligation to them but to the thesis. This makes it
probably easier not to go. But we will see this after three
or four weeks. I can imagine making an interview with
Nyabbanga and Kidoa the day after the filming, asking just
one question "How do you think the film represents your
life?" To see that I ask this question with a translator,
and to hear their answers would mean the core of being
reflexive. I will have to do this. I will not be able to
show a four hours film in Dassanetch; simply because I
don't have the capacity for doing so. If I show some
footage in Josefs house, it will include a glimpse of what
I intend to do.
I am frustrated that I did not bring more literature along.
Actually I did but not about the topic I am doing my thesis
- because I left Germany with the thought I will write
about the residence patterns among the Dassanetch. I must
admit, I do not follow a straight line very much.
It stopped raining. My hope grows that Felix arrives. I
cannot stand theorizing all the time without making
practical process. This is what I also not understand about
Ruby. Why does he not produce a film to exemplify his
claims? He must be afraid of failing to do so. Theorizing
about film without making them is to tell what others to do
in order not to do the mistakes themselves. The biggest
problem in this way is that it might be dangerous to see
the film as theories and written theories and to forget
where one speaks about.
Damn! Why does the industry create a world, which is simply
complicated? Now I have one of the newest and best Power
Book at hand and the newest Final Cut version but it simply
does not work. These two do not fit to each other. It's a
crazy abnormal world. Now what do I do? Firstly I hope that
Jean manages to load it down onto a CD and sends it here.
But she leaves tomorrow for Germany. So if she does not
make it today it will be me flying to Addis, having the
Computer with me, going to Hilton and trying to load down
these programs there. Do I want to do this? No! But what
else can I do? The other possibility, to wait until it
comes by post (my parents) or with Ivo (after a few weeks)
is also not so nice. I want to start editing. The choice to
go and edit in Germany has one big (?) disadvantage - I
will not be able to write proper subtitles. But is a proper
subtitling what I should want? Is it not somehow unreal,
because I did not have a proper language access? I create
this access post hoc. Should I not keep on trying to
picture my point of view? Do I pretend to have a better
understanding of Dassanetch culture then I actually do in
presenting a whole translation of everything spoken? Would
it not be better only to translate what I did on location
and telling this honestly at the beginning of the film?
However I decide, I will tell it before the film starts.
How I decide in the end I do not know, but I do not find it
good to decide it now - in other words, I have to translate
everything here with Gino in order that a decision if I
will use it in the end or not is still possible. That means
probably going to Addis. The problem is, Final Cut 4
requires MS OS 10.3.2. and QuickTime 6.5. This computer has
MS OS 10.3. and QuickTime 6.4. It is close, but not close
Damn! I am in Addis. I arrived at lunchtime. I was trying
to get the things from Hilton Internet caffee. No
connection to the Internet possible with my computer and no
burning of the CD possible on theirs. 3 hours trying - then
a depressed leaving. The cheese burger took care of the
depression. The other depression could not be taken care
of: No space on the plane!! Not Wednesday, not Saturday.
What the hell is going on? Then I went to my old internet
caffee. There a specialist took over - no connection either
with my computer. Damn shit. He now downloads the things
overnight and gives them to me tomorrow - if everything
goes according to plan - which it never does, like Jean
said. So all I need is a laptop to bring to Hilton to
download it there. So who gives me this? Tzegab, Eyob,
Teka? I will have to find out, but now I must sleep.
New month - new luck? This morning I will just go to the
Internet caffee and if it is does work, fine. If not, then
I will call this Mohamed and tzegab. They shall be able to
provide me with a computer with internet access and the
possibility to burn a CD. That should be possible. Now I
just do shopping and breakfast at Purple Caffee. Sad that I
cannot contact Teka. He would probably go to Europe to
bring the things I need.
17.29: Testing Final Cut successfully! In the morning went
relaxed to Dereje Girma. He gave me the CD. Six hours of
downloading! He tried at home, without success. Then he
managed to download the QuickTime (16 MB) and the MS OX (36
MB!!) in the university. He gave me the CD and we started
to install. It functioned well - until the root
administrator password was asked. At home I called Karina.
She called Susanne. Susanne called me and gave me Ivo's
number in New York! I woke him up in New York and told him
the problem. The next problem was, he did not have the
password in mind. So he called Jean who is in Germany with
Theo. She called me telling me that she does not know the
password, but she installed everything. While offering
passwords, which I already tried, she said Oh yes - and was
then waiting a little bit - in order to understand her
remembering - and told me - it could be nagaia. Have a try.
It worked. After then installing and giving all the codes
it worked! Now this is done. Congratulation! Now all I need
is the plane ticket on Wednesday. Now I will start editing.
I brought the tapes 8-17 with me to Addis. To start with
this tapes builds the fundament of the film. I will see
what material is on it. But please consider the global
network, which was used in order to start my work!
I just logged the clips of tape number 8. I logged them
widely. This has two reasons. The first is that so I will
have space in deciding which parts of the clips I am going
to use. The second is that I think it is a good idea to
produce something like filmic footnotes. By this I mean
that besides the film I will produce something like an
appendix where one can see things which should reveal
something about the film production and which where not
seen in the film itself. This idea came to my mind after
seeing how I set up the camera in order to film the single
dog in the shadow of Kidoas buite. There you see my shadow
going to another location in order to film a specific
scene. Also after seeing the first scenes on that tape, I
am not sure if it would not be the best thing not to cut
that much but to make a very long film. To cut means to
intervene and to hide the process of the actual filming. Is
this something I don't want? Or is it desirable - or
avoidable? Let me look at tape 9.
After 9 and 10: if I keep on going like now, even the big
disk will probably be not enough. Already more then 2 1/2
houres (from 3!) should be captured. I must force myself to
do a stronger selection, which means to decide more what
should not be included. But I know it is a decision which
is usually not re-decided. One does not look at the
material again. It is too much work in front, then to have
energy to look back. One thing I know for sure now: I have
enough material. I must mark the positions, where Gino must
translate. That means, he should come later, come back or
stay. I hope he got my letter, that he should come later.
9.24: No ticket. Maybe in the afternoon, or tomorrow. So I
will go by bus tomorrow. One more time...
19.07: No ticket. Okay. Tomorrow by bus to Jinka. Two days.
Addis made me get sick. Too much running and no free head.
I just want to rest now. But I've managed what I wanted to
manage. If I would be only already back! Now I have no
concentration to start with reel 12. But never mind. I have
time to do this in Jinka. I must take care that the
organisational work does not harm my editing. So I sleep
now and hope that I wake up at 5 in the morning. How? I do
not really know.
Arba minch - I was just given the data for tape 12 and 13
into the mac. The trip was nice. Karina woke me up at time
and the trip was nice and not long. Hope to reach Jinka in
the early afternoon.
Until tonight I was able to capture tape 11-18 and 1.
Capture everything, which I think I might need. I hope that
not too many scenes are missing which I might have used in
the end. I think of something like a film guide to the
film, which could be included in the text. This could look
like for every chapter in the film there is information
about the background, a explanation what is seen and diary
notes and an theoretical approach. Might be interesting. I
must also mention that the film actually explains much more
things, which I will not mention at all, like dresses, hair
styles and so on. These - I might call them visible things
of the surface - are alone subject to some thesis. In my
sense it is a thick description. It will be necessary to
study the film carefully in order to understand it, but
maybe someday one student will do this. Why not?
Today I managed to capture everything which I think I might
use in the end. Also I was already capturing which I might
use for the television version - which will be a total
different film from this one. Now I have nearly 12 hours on
the Big disk and put my camera in my bag. I think of using
cards in order to guide the viewer already a bit while
watching the film. These could be headlines which direct
the attention of the viewer. Otgherwise the deepness of the
scenes might get lost and one might think I talk about
boring things, because there will be not the usual dramatic
events seen in the film. Watching this film will mean
watching everyday life in Dassanetch. To find out how much
this actually means is not easy for the action film
socialized audience, which also most anthropologists are.
So this might be a good idea.
Gino came. I decided not to send him away but to work with
him in the evening the things which I prepared in the
morning. By this I mean that I want to mark the positions
where a translation will be appreciated. It might take us
This part - capturing the material is maybe the most boring
one when one makes a film. It is like manufacturing
something without being really creative. When you are in
the field, you film and this is almost always exciting.
Editing the film is then the art to create something. To
capture is just work. My eyes are tired but I am happy that
I finished this just after two and a half days. Tonight I
plan to create the marking of the first tape. So I will be
able to start when Gino comes back. I hope that I can work
nicely with him. We had problems together at the beginning
and stopped working together. But we found our way back
together - this by itself is worth thinking about. My
perspective is clear to me - I need him to have an accurate
translation of my MA thesis into English. What is his
perspective? It is not really money. He is interested in a
long-term co-operation? Or in a mention of his name in a
film about his culture. He is interested in my work, this
is sure and I thank him for that.
About the infrastructural background here: electricity
starts and half past 12. The laptop works with solar
batteries. I do have enough batteries for my camera. But
the external disk needs a connection to 220 V. This I will
solve with the generator in the morning.
To put the subtitle clips on the positions where a
translation is necessary is quicker done then expected.
Yesterday night I started with one tape and today I was
able to finish this for tape 13-18. That's why I invited
Gino to come tomorrow. The decision where to put a subtitle
affects the perception of the film. My politic now is more
or less to put nearly every where a subtitle, although I
might not use them at the end. It is a prevention of not
being enttaeuscht when being in Germany.
Seeing the material I captured again makes me a bit
confused. What shall I use? In which order? Which scenes
shall I drop? What kind of editing shall I use? Continuity
editing? Alternative? Reflective? A mixture of everything?
I have now no clear view of how I will do the creative part
of the postproduction. But I am looking forward to come
over these days of manufacturing a product.
I should call the film something like "To influence and to
be influenced" or "Trying to and trying to escape
influencing". Defining Borders was also mentioning the
theme of the film.
Directing and to be directed - should be the title. This
involves the bargaining of the actors but it is also
reflective in the way that it refers to my way of filming.
How I film the actors is partly directed by them and I
direct the film somehow by the way I move the camera.
"Directing and to be directed". I like it, because it has
more than one meaning. But does is sound like an
anthropological film. Not really - but do I care about
that? Not really.
Yesterday we were able to finish tapes 8-12. The day before
we made 13-17. Gino wanted to leave soon so we will try to
finish the translation today. It is not so much left. I
thought it will take us longer. What shall I translate and
what not? People in the off - should the audience listen
what they say. Yes, but they should also concentrate on the
things in the on. If there is something visual happening in
the front of the camera and I direct the attention towards
the written part in the lower third of the picture, does
the image not loose some energy? Definitely. So I will have
to take care about that I find a compromise. I must always
be aware of the two things, that it subtitles add
information and by this they give deepness to the film. But
on the other side they draw away the attention of the
audience from the image. Subtitles direct the audience.
They direct the way they perceive the film. The filmmaker
should always be aware of this and use them intelligently.
What we are translating is wonderful.
Now I think I will construct the film a bit like a text.
With headlines and sub-headlines. It will be a structured
film. It will not be easy to watch. It is a document where
one can study Dassanetch and culture in general. But it is
also for other scientist relevant: psychology is deeply
inserted. Geography. Sociology. Linguistics. Many scienties
could find some meaning in it.
Yesterday I was lying in my tent and thought about the
title of the film. I thought that the title should
represent what is the topic. Then I asked myself, what is
the topic? It is about very general and very meaningful
things. Then I just said - it is about life. Then it came
to my mind, that it is about a certain way of life. Life in
Dassanetch. Then I thought about Susannes thesis and did
not want that one thinks that I stole the title - so I
thought Everyday life in Dassanetch - but the everyday is
somehow something that values it.
Today we finished translating the 13 hours. In three days.
I thought we need at least 10. After the translation I was
especially happy about how reflexive the material was
without my knowledge. Every scene contains something where
my filming process is mentioned, criticized or appreciated.
To edit honestly I must also include these parts where my
filming is criticized. Here I think of Kidoa where she says
to me that this time the film will not be good. What I also
liked very much is that the actors speak a lot of times
about what they saw in the old film. This will function
perfectly as a bridge. And then there is material which I
only by translating discovered.
Now I will wait. The next step will be a creative one.
Which scenes to start with, to continue the chronicle order
and these kind of questions. I will give myself at least
one day, that I do not continue to see the production as a
production. I will continue reading Neal Sobania and do
somethings for the written part, which I should not forget.
By the way, Weynshet is dying to leave Jinka. The staff at
SORC is at the moment somehow making us leave. But all that
I do now is not locationally fixed. But to go back to
Dassanetch would be nice to present the film - or to invite
someone - but if so then it should be Kidoa. And then her
children also need to come and Nyabbanga too. And this
would be too much for them and me. And to show the film
there - this would last at least three weeks. Or to be
honest, two. I edit some parts put them back to the camera
show them to my people and here what they say about it.
I am still in Jinka and I am not planning to show the film
in Dassanetch this time. I will do it instead when I come
back. I have many reasons to decide like this, the most
important is that my relationship to Weynshet suggest to
leave soon. At the moment we are struggling with each other
and that's not the time to leave one more time to
Dassanetch. Other reasons include that we do not have a car
available and I am somehow tiered of going one more time by
Izuz all the way and back only for one night. My feed are
wounded and my head is anywhere else but not in Omorate. To
hire a car, television set and so on is simply too costy. I
have enough material in order to get my MA and I will have
the possibility to show in after some months. In the film
the actors talk a lot about film and what they have seen
last time - there is enough reflexivity in it. It is
Now sitting in Mainz and examining my new G5: I am happy
that all my data was easily transferable to my computer and
that finally - after one month of break! - I can start
editing tomorrow. Where shall I start? In the middle - but
in the middle of what??? I have lost a bit my imagination
about the form and context. The weeks in Addis passed by
and we had to wait to get on a plane. Finally I came here
and had to wait again a week for my Mac. But now it seems,
I can start.
I wanted to start with a sequence which will be definetly
in the film in the end. So I started with the Chaos
sequence. Actually I only make cuts where good material
starts and ends. I don't want to change the position of the
clips. I think of presenting a board at the beginning of
the film with the rules with which I did the film. One rule
would be 1) no interviews, 2) no staging and concerning
editing one rule will be not changing the time order of the
clips and sequences. A bit dogmatic...
Now the Chaos sequence is about 21 minutes long. Where the
chaos broke out I decided deliberately to keep the shaking
and so on of the camera in the film. In the fiction films
they do the same. In the calmer parts I tried to cut them
out of the film. At least where it was possible. I take
content before form. If what can be seen or heard is
interesting I don't care about the form of the film. Some
might say he does not know how to make good films, but I
want to make good ethnography first. After that comes the
How shall I continue? I just made a possible introduction
into the film: 4 shots of the empty scenery. First one
outside, then a pan of the whole stage and then a pan over
the goat enclosures. After that I edited the empty inside
of the sum. This was from a totally different tape and
time. Can I do so? Is it allowed (by myself) to mix scenes?
I ask myself this. Anne said of course - no problem. But
where then is my border in constructing the space and time?
How shall I continue? I have a look at my "Possible Film
Structure" from Jinka. Shall I continue like this? First
introduction, then everyday activities, then ideal milking,
then detailed space-time explainations, then dramatic
interactions and then the chaos scene? Where shall I start?
I am not used to the editing process anymore. Doors was
edited in about two weeks time only. There I made small
pieces of paper where all scenes I have where written down.
Then I did the puzzling. I think the detailed space-time
explaination would be easiest to start with, because it
contains of short sequences. Yesterday I managed to look at
tape 9 and 13. But I only cut out the parts I did not want
to include. Everything is still much too long in that and I
have no clue about where in the film I want to insert them.
But I like the playing scenes where Ankoi and Yendite play
in the dust. It would be a nice introduction into the
social space somewhere at the beginning.
I thought I am looking through material which will end in
the middle and which will be divided into different parts.
But the description of the space of the Dassanetch should
be (at least most of it) at the very beginning. To see the
goats under the shadow and fight against one and another is
something like a preview what one can see in the main part.
A preview on a different level. Even though some might
scream, but the goats fight in some way for the same things
for what the people fight for. Even their method is somehow
similar. Is it bad to say that the behaviour is somehow
natural in its environment? The worlds of the at least
domestic animals are not so much set apart from the human
worlds. I said this once to Yendite and Kidoa. Yendite was
surprised and asked if Kidoa heard what I said. I think she
didn't think about it that way before. Maybe because it was
so obvious. I don't know. But I want to speak about these
worlds which are not set apart in the film. Every viewer
shall make up its own mind. That is my aim with my film,
that the viewer is still able to do so.
I just did this morning a nice introduction. Yesterday I
thought to start with the back of the car and the houses.
Now I start with the goats under the tree. In their space
use and interaction one can foresee what the film is about.
At least one get attuned to it. From there I move on to the
empty stage and present already at the beginning the wind
and the hot air. I thought I will made these terrible
environmental elements somewhere in the middle but they
have to displace the audience right from the beginning.
Only then will they be able to accept the beatings of the
children. Only if they get somehow a feeling for the space,
they will continue to be open minded about the social
environment. Ankoi as the introduction - sabania actually
embodies all the film is about at the beginning. And all
that is within only 8 minutes. A good start...
The working title is at the moment To direct & To Be
I am happy about the wind disturbances. They really give
way to hate the environment. And they give orientation. The
wind comes from one direction. One hears where one is. And
protected space one can watch without disturbance. Where
one is in the wide open, one is totally confronted with the
wind sound. I did not know that this helps so much!
I inserted another intro-scene: Noicho, telling that I film
the wind and Nakwa tini fighting for her play. I view these
scenes as transition scenes. They prepare for what will
come next: the introduction of the social space. At the
moment I am thinking to continue with the morning-play
scene or with the sum-buiding. One gets really close to
Yendite and Noicho in this scene. That's why it would be a
nice intro. But one gets really attuned if I start with the
morning play. Easiest would be to say, I HAVE TO KEEP THE
TIME ORDER. But what for? A good ethnographic film brings
the audience there. That's what I want.
It was an evening of ordering. I just copied all sequences
into the new Projekt with 4 catagories: Milking, Social
intro, Chaos and Rest. I briefly decided the topics which
will somehow follow one and another. That means I am on the
way not to keep time order. I am satisfied with the (now 13
min) intro. One can nicely get attuned to the environment
and social space. Tomorrow I will try to mix the social
introduction. I have good material. How Noicho and Arba
kick each other. Ankoi throwing stones into the river - and
especially the never ending mentioning of my work. There is
a light, Ongarthe is filming, It is too dark - all very
reflective moments! They are essential for the filmic
The putting of the sequences into all these categories is,
I must admid kind of hazardous. I have to take care again
the next days that I don't follow these ordering tooo much.
The best would be if one scenes is somehow connected to the
next. That a kind of filmic flow develops. This flow is, I
must admit, artifical. But film is in itself artificial.
The task of the artifact should be that the reception of it
suggest a perception that one can make in the
non-artificial. I filmed short episodes. I saw much more
then I filmed. I have the background and know the
connection between the scenes. I know the people. I know
(most of the time) what happened when and so on. I cannot
transmit my knowledge about these things in the film
altogether. What I want to do is use the film to get a
glimpse of something about Dassanetch. I shall not loose
this goal out of sight in favour of dogmatic film rules. I
want to create a filmic space which disposionate the viewer
into a perception which evokes experiences similar to the
perception of a field stay. It is difficult to find the
words for what I mean. Film represents Film. Not Reality as
such but a filmic reality. This should fit. I don't know.
I think of giving an introduction that has two parts:
introduction into the space & space use and as the
second introduction into social space. In the second part I
think to present small Nabario who sits on the skin and
opens the space of her brothers, sisters, mother and other
people in Aoga. This scene was one of the first shot. The
problem is, it introduces into people who will not appear
in the rest of the film. Kolochon went away somedays later
together with Loichama. But it gives way to perceive
typical actions. Kolochon wanting to play and getting told
to work. Arba Nech getting told to work and playing.
Nabario getting told to stop doing things. Women working.
People roaming around. Dogs and goats being present. I
think it should be in the film. At a later stage it might
not fit as well as it does as an intro. The alternatives
have been to start with the morning play & beating or
with Yen building the sum. Advantages of the last would be
a personal getting in touch. Advantages of the morning play
would be the attuning quality of this scene. I started
editing the skin scene and it is now 13 minutes long (out
of 24). I decided again to use jump cuts, for they are
reflexive and practical as they shorten down time.
I now have a 30 minutes introduction. Some 9 minutes into
Space and the rest into social space. Is the second part
two long? I thought when the audience watches, they mind
not know anymore that it is the introduction. Then I
thought I should make the headline permantly visible in the
upper frame. It helps th lead the attention of the audience
I think. It is a study version of the film.
The social space intro starts perfectly: an empty house
where after some seconds Arba comes out. Noicho appears on
the other side of the frame and tells him that I am
recording. It is also an introduction into reflexitivity.
Then comes small Nakwa fighting for her game, followed by
Nabario. Shall I shorten it radically? Why? Not now. I
leave it as it is and will maybe return to it with the big
scissor at the end.
With Arba I use a kind of continuity editing. He looks
away, I cut to where he looks and return to him still
looking. I let out some frames in order to achieve this
continuity, but I do not what to follow such things too
often. I want to make the cuts visible and "feel-able".
I am tired and don't know how to start editing again. One
week of non-progress. While watching the morning play I
again think different of the footnotes. I will make many.
And I will explain things via voice over. I will explain a
lot of things. The other footnotes will be additional film
material and uncut version of sequences. Maybe all together
it will be a packet of 10 DVDs. Who knows.
Just continued to edit. Continue to edit the ammo beat
sequence. This sequence must get the title "Directing the
space". After writing this title I went to the toilet and
heard myself saying the title of the sequence that should
follow: "Escaping direction" - I did not know immidetly
which sequence that could be until I realized that the
whole film should get that title! Also one could read this
title for my filmic activity. I did not want to direct
anything. Maybe that my way of seeing good ethnographic
films: Non-Direction-Cinema. One will one day say that my
cinema has no direction in the sense that it follows no
clear line. But it is true IT DOES NOT FOLLOW A CLEAR LINE.
It actually has no direction. Fiction films usually have a
story, a beginning, a highlight and an end. And all the
things which belong to such a story. Why should
ethnographic film bother to look for such dramaturgy. There
is dramaturgy in every day activity. To capture this on
film without using it to create a filmic dramaturgy is what
I shall understand as Non Direction Cinema.
In the evening I edited Kidoa is hairmaker. Editing for me
means the following: Looking at the uncut sequence as a
whole. By doing this I try to imagine what the sequence
could look like and attuning my view to it. What is the
topic of this sequence? What is not important? After that
comes reducing the minutes by deleting parts unviewable. By
this I mean quick zooms which were made to be cut out,
hectic pans with no sense - disturbances of all kind of
art. Sometimes I take out boring parts as well. After that
I look it again up. Then I listen to my emotional
perception of what I see. Is it too long? Too short? Which
parts can I cut out?
Like this I edit sequence for sequence. After that I hope
to put them together to a whole.
Just edited Kidoa who makes Nyabbas hair. Is it still part
of Kidoa intro or should I add Nyabba intro? Actually I
already edited it someday before. Only a fine cut. Then I
marked some sequences which will I will not include - like
the playing in the sun or Erek playing. Then I looked at
the others. I found Nakwa carrying wood brilliant and
short. But where does it fit - then I decided to put it
right at the beginning of the film. With the titles as
breaks. I like films like that. Now I will try to go one
with these calm intros: Yesterday night I made a plan when
I want to finish what. All together the film should be
according to this plan ready at the end of October. Will
that be possible?
Tonight I edited "Details about Space & Space Use".
While editing I felt that good editing develops out of the
material itself. I collected 5 sequences: kidoa sleeps,
kideo rests, arba plays in dust, nakwa sits with me and
(....?) I knew I want to put them together to creat a
vision of the Space. I did not care within this sequences
about time order. But which one shall I take first, and
then? So I started to edit Kido sleeping under the buite.
Then I added everything that fitted. The result was that I
edited everything about shadows together first. Then I
continued with visions from the inside of the shadow. So I
took everything related to it. The good thing was that I
filmed from the shadow how Ankoi & Co drive out the
goats out of the houses. So I put all these together. Then
I looked at the rest. What was left? I saw that some things
did not fit in this chapter and all the rest was about...
Wind! So it came to my mind to divide what comes now into
"Wind" So the other part should be "Sun" But the inside
view of the shadow did not fit also not that the goats were
not allowed to stay in the house. Its not just the shadow
what the goats are looking for when they enter unviewed. So
I was happy that everything was together and could be
easily named "in and Outside". I was really happy about
this editing today. I shall maybe try to divide the rest of
the film equally interesting!
Yesterday no editing. This morning I included the tight
community scene into the In- & outside part. I could
have also included it into the Sun part. Anyway elements in
one part could always be easily included in other parts.
This sequence is included because of the context in which
the rest of the film gets. There is a man telling about his
fear to be beaten. And he stands in bright sunlight telling
the others in the shadow. Children are disturbing him
telling his story. Yesterday I looked at the beginning of
"Troy". What interests me more and more is the try of
directing the emotional perception of the audience.
Hollywood uses one and the same way of achieving this
direction. How about documentary? Ethnographic films? How
do they deal with this topic.
Tonight I edited the goats outside. About rhetoric: One
gets the impression of being in an oven watching the sun
comes up, the goats, the wind and hearing the sound. I
should work from the beginning with the footnotes in head -
now I have to look for them in all the material again. Big
Today I made the "before Milking" part. I put the Yendite
scene inside, knowingly that it will belong also to the
next (ideal milking). How should the uebergang be like.
Black board or picture borad. By now the film is nearly 3
hours long and I haven't start with the Milking yet which
is meant to be the largest part. I suppose to shorten the
film will take as long as shaping it.
I still have not made up my mind how to edit the milking.
Can I mix events? If I say so at the beginning of it?
Aargh. Everytime I decide anew. It might well be possible
that the whole film will be overthrown at one point. But
that is how I edit films. I hope I will not change...
Today I decided to do the following: I make about three
1) ideal milking
2) special situations (father, nk crying)
3) chaotic milking
All my milking recordings I put into where it belongs. Yes,
I don't care about time order that much anymore. What
counts now are thematic blocks. That makes the viewing much
easier. What I keep on doing is not mixing the sequences
within the blocks. I could do that, but I leave that for
the presentation version. There I will put the best parts
into one big sequence, so that the viewer might think of it
as if it happened on one and the same day.
Today I edited Milking Yendite and ideal milking. The film
finds its gestalt and its lengths: 3 1/2 hours. I know,
that I will cut out many parts. For now I do not delete
more than what I know it won't be in the film at the end.
Where I am not sure, I let it be.
Today I edited 2 sequences: Milking with father and milking
with sick. Plus some parts in Before milking. The last one
will probably excluded in the end, but I don't want to
decide what to leave out at this point. I have a picture of
the structure in my mind, but am not sure whether I will
not miss some parts when I do the restructuring. Final Cut
gave me a nice hint: films can only b 4 hours long. So I
devided it into space & milking. My aim will be to make
a film shorte then 4 hours. I just started what I should
have done from the very beginning: made a footnote order
where I put all sequences that should be in the appendix.
Today I again did not cut out some zooms etc in order to
make the audience at some points aware of watching a film.
What I do is a kind of protection of the actors, including
me. I cut out Arba Nech playing with his finger in the anus
of a goat. I cut out myself not understanding anything and
laughing artificially. Those things. This is what makes the
ethic of a filmmaker who makes films about human beings.
Today I made what I never thought I could made within one
day: I finished the NPK sequence. And I made it within 1
1/2 hours. It was not so much work. Really: the biggest
work start when it comes to shorten the film. Now I just
deleted all rapid pans and shakes.
Today I made the controlling & loosing control sequence
and nakwa crying for milk. I wonder now - will anyone be
patient enough to watch 3 or 4 houres of milking the goats?
Even my teachers... But as I always say - the cutting out
still has to be made.
Tomorrow comes the chaos sequence and maybe already the
This work now is really something like craftship. When
comes the art? And how about the science? After making the
structure I must again lean backwards for some days, read
and think what I want to say and how I can say it most
clearly. A good idea are headlines, which should be
permantly visible. I don't know if I can insert a timecode.
But I can do this also manually.
Nachdem ich meinen alten G5 zurueckgegeben habe fing das
Literaturstudium an. Ich las und las ueber Konflikttheorien
und das hat mir geholfen genauer zu wissen, worum es in dem
Film gehen wird. Ich werde den Film nun endgueltig:
Siblings in Conflict nennen und mich nur mit den
Konfliktsituationen auseinandersetzten. Das verschafft mir
die Moeglichkeit vielen zu kuerzen. Ivo begrenzt nun doch
das Endprodukt auf maximal 2 Stunden. Ich werde noch einen
zweiten Film machen der ungeschnitten veroeffentlicht
werden soll - das NPK Melken, da dies wohl rausfaellt.
Morgen sol die soziale Einfuehrung dran sein. Freu mich
wider aktiv am Schneideplatz zu sein.
Schneiden heisst vor allem Wegschneiden. Editieren passt
bei dem nicht privelligierten Schnitt (Reihenfolge der
Einstellungen chronologisch) nicht, da weniger
zusammengefuegt wird als Weggeschniten. Ich schneide also
Sequencen und editiere sie dann zu einem Film.
Heute hab ich die sozialen Einfuehrungen geschnitten. Viel
kann ich raus lassen, da es wnig mit Konflikten zu tun hat.
So hoffe ich auf 2 h zu kommen.
Today I managed to reduce the film a lot. In the Festival
Version there will be somethings which I left out in the
study version. And I plan to make another film. At the
moment there are more than 4 houres of milking. After
reducing I will present some of these scenes in a film
about milking in Dassanetch. I am looking forward to do
this too. I am again into film production and think that
making films is the best one can do as a job. I am happy to
have chosen so.
What did I do today? I ordered everything before milking.
That seems now to be 1 hour and 45 minutes. In the end it
must me less than a hour, the milking the other hour. The
structure is as follows:
b. space use
c. social space
2. The playing scene
a. Modyfing rules by means of conflict
b. Confronting the deviant
3. forms of conflict
a. accidental & unseen
b. calm conflict over resources (3)
c. overt conflict over resources
d. interspecies conflict
e. physical conflict
f. gossip about conflict
Today I broke one of the main rules concerning my editing
style. I mix events. From 3 different days of milking I put
them together so as they look as happened at one time. Why
do I do that? Because I cannot present 6 or 7 different
milking scenes where nearly every time the same is shown. I
was thinking a lot about it. To have so many milking scenes
is not possible. An alternative to edit (compose) them
would be to leave a lot material out. I don't like that I
did it. But I hope that I don't regret. Who wants to watch
a film where there is written: day one, day two, day three
of milking when it's actually a film about social conflict.
What I do now is the edit those scenes which show social
conflicts in milking. After that I show some
uninstitutinalized situation of conflict. I do not present
here a objective study of milking. Another reason to make
that unedited milking film. I already put the NPK into
another project. Today I made a lot with the milking
sequences. Tomorrow I shall finish the first cut of the
standard milking conflict scenes. After tomorrow, the
chaotic milking and on Sunday th end. Next week I will
start again the whole film by shorten more.
This morning I editited the normal milking. I constructed a
filmic space and time which did not exist. I intercut
Nyabbangas gull beating the ground infront of the kraal
with moments inside the kraal. I put these images into
relation which does not exist like this. Well it actually
does exist but not narrowed like that shown in the film. I
mean that I use the editing of images to talk about the
space not to represent its reality. To edit like this is to
modify, yes but somehow to make it more realists. A
controversy not bpoosible to solve.
I finished everything. Now comes the next step. This step
could be entitled the rounding up. That means to look at
every sequence step by step and deleting things which do
not narrate something interesting. Yes I do again what I
planned not to do: to construct a filmic reality which is
full of action, full of life. This film will again not
representing the experience I had when being in Dassanetch.
I lied down, and nothing happened. I watched the sun
crossing the sky, listened to the wind but nothing exciting
happened. What I do in the film is again to reduce the
picture to the exciting parts of my stay. I present the
highlights. The impression is not comparable of seeing it
than of being there. But I want the film to be watchable. A
sequence of 10 minutes where only small things happen which
are not very much of interest is like a psychic terror
against the watcher who has to watch it. Film is presenting
highlights. One wants to enjoy watching, even
anthropologists. I regret to confirm to this, but I do. I
myself also would not like to watch a film where nothing
happens. To read about warhols sleep is interesting and
subversive - but I would never want to watch it. One still
is enough. I wanted even to modify more this evening, but
until now I did not do it: to mix sound and picture. This I
will not do. Or?
Yesterday was an unproductive day. This belongs alos to it.
But this morning I have had maybe too much energy. I
deleted the singing under the buite and Ankoi chasing the
dog out of the house. Resaons: The first does not really
fit into a film of conflict. The second: this happens again
more nicely when Ankoi beats the goat out of the house.
Also I did put the sequence of Nakwa tini playing cooking
to the back (conflict) not anymore in the intro to social
space. I wonder if I should only keep nabario on the skin
& boat play in that intro. Unitil now there is also
noicho and arba and a friend fighting over the bowl. These
decisions is filmmaking!