chris shimojima.
filmmaker giving real life a different beat.


writer | director | editor

The Age of Innocence (and Shutter Island)

I'm a diehard Martin Scorsese fan.  Everything in his films is top-notch.  Emotionally volatile performances. Schizophrenic and seductive camerawork. And the editing especially is like no one else's. Some fans of his early work will say he's lost something with his recent pictures, but I can only partially agree. Maybe he's in a different phase, but not one that's less inventive.  Even in Shutter Island, there's a moment where Leo Dicaprio's character peers over a cliff, and the sound fx change over 4 quick shots -- from behind, from above, from below, his POV -- ending with a 'THUD' that doesn't directly match anything we see. It uniquely and somehow accurately conveys the character's fear and vivid imagination... Or take a moment near the end, which has Scorsese at his most overtly emotional. What had me in tears was not just Leo's performance, but the unexpected jump-cut straight to Leo sobbing.  That's the power of editing.

The Age of Innocence has Daniel Day Lewis's Newland Archer, like most of Scorsese's protagonists, flying toward a flame, obsessed, pushing the limits, only to reap the consequences. It's a time in which passion is contained and social codes are strict, and while my film will take place today, when sex is more open, I don't think repressed passion ever goes away. I've been there, I've spoken in that indirect way, my eyes have been where this camera goes -- the look is just right, with lights-on-dimmers, irises, fireplaces, and fades to white or yellow or red. I think Siskel and Ebert say some great things about it: