Filmmakers Who (always or sometimes) Edit:
Gordon to Hovde
Sabrina Schmidt Gordon
Dee Dee Halleck
Sabrina Schmidt Gordon
Dee Dee Halleck
Françoise Bonnot, with forty-eight film credits, was the daughter of Monique Bonnot, who edited many films for Jean-Pierre Melville. Her first credit was as the assistant to her mother on his Two Men in Manhattan. When her mother became unavailable, Bonnot edited his Army of Shadows. In 1968, she began her thirty-year eight film collaboration with Costa-Gavras. The first was Z. Bonnot won an Oscar for Z and a BAFTA for Missing. She also edited Polanski’s The Tenant and worked with Julie Taymor on films such as Frida and The Tempest.
“Americans say that the writer is the first editor, and the editor is the last writer. This is an apt formulation. You have to intentionally (re)organize the images to extract their essence, to expose the meaning. That’s where everything gets complicated: if a word betrays you, you can always replace it. But an image is fixed on the film reel, it is irreplaceable. One must then manipulate it, weave it, cut it, rethink it, etc.”
“It’s a mistake to think that [we alter images]. But perhaps that mistake is part of the legend about editing. The image is not so naïve, it’s alive, full and complete, it subscribes to a certain logic. To the one who examines it, who listens, and manipulates it gently, at times with charm, it affirms its reason for being. It imposes its melody by itself. All the shots, taken separately, and later arranged together, remind me of my own need, my desire, and my will to follow the footage through its appearance in the world….I alternate between being the guide, the copilot, the censor, the audience, etc. It’s an incessant relay game….To speak of editing is to speak of love. I’ll repeat myself. Intuition, fusion, fury, momentum, tenderness, rhythm. The important thing is to do it, to make the movie with sincerity. A beautiful film, isn’t it primarily an authentic film? It’s an adventure. Us, lovers of images, we are looking for excellence. No words suffice to explain this juggling act which a breath can transport, transcend or complete.”
—Two excerpts from an interview with Françoise Bonnot by Sonia Bressler. The full interview (in French and in English) can be found in the Appendix.
Françoise Collin began working in 1961 as a co-editor (with Jean Ravel and Néna Baratier) of Chronique d’un été/Chronicle of a Summer, the landmark film by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. Between then and 2006, she amassed thirty-two credits for both narratives and documentaries. Her collaboration with Jean-Luc Godard began in 1964 as a co-editor (with Dahlia Ezove and Agnès Guillemot) of Bande à part/Band of Outsiders. Following this, she was co-editor of Une femme mariée/A Married Woman (with Andrée Choty, Agnès Guillemot and Gérard Pollicand). Collin was sole editor of Godard’s next film, Pierrot le Fou and then co-editor of Made in U.S.A. (with Agnès Guillemot) and co-editor of 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle/Two or Three Things I Know About Her (with Chantal Delattre).
Collin continued editing with numerous other directors, including Jean Aurel, Pierre Koralnik, José Varela, Anna Karina and François Dupeyron. Between 1999-2005, she edited three films for Philippe Garrel (Le vent de la nuit/Night Wind, Sauvage innocence/Wild Innocence and Les amants réguliers/The Regular Lovers). When Collin cut Histoire naturelle for the director and actress Ysé Tran in 2006, it was the culmination of an editing career that lasted forty-four years.
There is also one listing on the (often unreliable) internet of a documentary from 2011, Rua Diamantina Rosa, that lists her as the director but I haven’t found any other evidence to support it, and a different website spells the director’s name as Coullin.
Note: You can read more about the seventeen women editors who collaborated with Jean Rouch here.
There isn’t a single photograph of Collin to be found in any archive or anywhere online. One can find images online, but they’re all of a same-named French philosopher. So here instead is the screen credit from her first film—above, in which her name is misspelled —and one from a later film.