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I remember watching an episode of a TV show reviewing and analyzing films, and in particular Godard's techniques. At one point, while discussing his editing style, a scene from one of his films was mentioned where the cadence of a machine gun firing off-screen dictated cuts of the film in rapid succession.

I cannot remember if there was a jump cut for every bullet sound. In fact, I'm not sure if this even happened as I mentioned, as I watched that TV show quite some time ago. In any case, it was about his jump cut technique. If this did happen, I would like to know the name of the film.

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  • I expect if this is true, is going to be timed to the pauses: one will rarely fire a machine gun at full auto, since it can melt the barrel and cook the ammunition to the point of self-ignition (very dangerous). So probably we are talking about more of a "rapid scenes with stochastic pauses". Actual gunfire in the distance has a tempo almost like a conversation.
    – Yorik
    Feb 21, 2017 at 22:47

1 Answer 1

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In his book, Godard on Godard: Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard*, Godard discusses his influences. He mentions (p 132, viewable in Google Books) the aesthetically jarring effect of "machine guns spitting out one bullet per shot" in Sergei M. Eisentstein's October: Ten Days that Shook the World. This was a silent film, so the jump cuts imitated the gunfire. You can see the effect in the film at about 15:33 and 16:57.

This short documentary about Godard's use of jump cuts references Eisenstein, but does not specifically address the machine gun episode.

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  • Thank you very much for that clip. The editing at 15:33 is brilliant. Feb 22, 2017 at 0:34
  • This makes a lot of sense, and the chances are high that this was indeed the scene in question. Thank you for the links!
    – haidahaida
    Feb 22, 2017 at 20:27

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