Gloria Schoemann

1910 – 2006

Gloria Schoemann is one of the most prolific editors in history, earning two hundred and twenty-seven credits between 1942 and 1983.
During her long career she worked with top Golden Age directors such as Emilio Fernández (Enamorada, La Perla, The Unloved Woman), Luis Buñuel (Gran Casino), Julio Bracho (Another Dawn, Cantaclaro, Immaculate), Miguel M. Delgado, Gilberto Martínez Solares (I Danced with Don Porfirio), Roberto Gavaldón (The Associate, El niño y la niebla, Macario), Norman Foster (Zorro), and Alejandro Galindo (Campeón sin corona, Una familia de tantas).
To give a sense of Schoemann’s importance in Mexican film production, it would be fair to say that the place she occupied during the Golden Age was roughly equivalent to Dede Allen’s in Hollywood from the late 1950s to 2008. Just as Allen left her imprint on “New Hollywood” films, so too did Schoemann impact four decades of Mexican film, from the Golden Age to Mexico’s “Nuevo Cine” (New Cinema) in the 1970s and 1980s.
To get a fuller appreciation of the job Schoemann did, it is important to keep in mind key differences between Mexican filmmaking and the Hollywood and European systems. If a Hollywood editor realized she needed extra shots during the editing process, retakes were routinely scheduled. In Mexico, on the other hand, “retakes or additional scenes never happen, so the editor has to figure out how to solve problems the best she can.” This put a lot of pressure on the other members of the unit: As the final link in the creative chain, Schoemann had to assemble a coherent film with whatever footage was delivered to her, whether or not “there were missing shots, omitted patches of exposition, breaks in continuity, or holes in the story’s logic.”
Schoemann was nominated for eleven best editing Ariels and won four times. In 1985 she won the Salvador Toscano Medal for Cinematographic Merit and in 2004 was awarded the Special Golden Ariel. She also taught at the University Center for Cinematographic Studies.

“I always loved the cinema, I saw everything, so I realized the good and the bad; I never sat down to watch a movie from the point of view of my work. I have given myself completely to it. And the editing work is hard, but for me it is the most exciting, interesting and important aspect of the cinema.”
From the booklet about the Salvador Toscano Medal for Cinematographic Merit. The complete booklet can be found in the Appendix.   

“In those days, the custom was to gather the cinematographer, the screenwriter, the director, and the editor for a script reading; we would then begin to comment on the continuity, the dialogue, and so forth. From the beginning we visualized what was necessary; in addition, the editor had the obligation to indicate which things [scenes, sequences] didn’t add to the whole … or would slow down the film’s rhythm.”
— Excerpt from “The Classical Mexican Cinema” by Charles Ramirez Berg. The full text can be found in the Appendix. 


Marguerite Renoir

1906 – 1987

In 1921, at age fifteen, Marguerite Renoir (née Houllé) began as an apprentice colorist at Pathé Studios. She has seventy editing credits from 1929-1972, notably for numerous films by Jean Renoir including Boudu Saved From Drowning, Rules of the Game (co-edited with Marthe Huguet), A Day in the Country, La Bête Humaine, and Grand Illusion. Renoir also edited several films for Jacques Becker, including Casque d’or, and one for Luis Buñuel. She also worked with Agnès Guillemot on the editing of Godard’s Masculin féminin. She and Renoir never married, but she adopted his last name; sometimes her film credits read Marguerite Houllé-Renoir.

“Renoir was fortunate to have Marguerite as his editor; what she did in his absence with A Day in the Country attests to how much he owed her in his other films of the thirties. His predilection for long takes and the avoidance of the conventional shot breakdown have led commentators to neglect the editing of his film. This is a mistake. His style called for a different kind of editing that required special skill. Marguerite had that skill. It is time that her talent and accomplishment be recognized.”
—Gilberto Perez quoted in “Marguerite Renoir: More Than He Deserved?” from “Fine Cuts: Interviews on the Practice of European Film Editing” by Roger Crittenden. The full text can be found in the appendix.

Jean Fléchet: How did the three of you come to work in film?

Marguerite Renoir: By chance, as far as I’m concerned, or rather, due to my bad disposition.
I worked at Pathé as a colorist trainee. At the time, we were doing color films by applying garishly colored dyes straight onto the negatives. One day I was coloring a Passion of Christ when a storm broke out, and the resulting humidity made my dyes bleed on my film-strip. My department head came along and gave me a nasty talking-to. “Ma’am,” I answered, “instead of yelling at me, you’d better explain why the storm made the colors run.” This act of impertinence was not well received, and I was fired on the spot. I went to speak with the director. He agreed that I was innocent but did not want to contradict my department head, so I was transferred to editing. That was in 1921.


Jean Fléchet: Actually, isn’t the role of the chief editor in the making of a film a bit like that of a mother?

MR: Yes, I am convinced that out of all the technicians that work on a film, the editor has the greatest attachment to the film – indeed, a physical, an emotional attachment.

Suzanne de Troye: Pagnol used to always say to me on the day of the film’s premiere, “So Suzanne, we’re giving birth…” It was just as painful, in fact.

MR: We spend such a long time on the film – four or five months, sometimes more – that we get really attached to it, and then when is everything is done and you have to put away all the bits of film that, as we say “ended up on the cutting room floor,” one by one, it’s often emotionally painful.

S de T: The editor is the one who stays the longest with the film – that’s very important.

MR: We have the most intense contact with the film – not that we get anything out of it.

Two extracts from “L’Actualite du Montage: Trois chefs-monteuses, Margeurite Renoir, Suzanne de Troye et Marinette Cadix nous entretiennent de leur métier” by Jean Fléchet. The full interview (in English) can be found in the appendix.