The editing on “CODA” is very natural and unobtrusive, and that’s exactly what editor Geraud Brisson intended. Much like the cinematography and other craft departments, the film’s editing does not call attention to itself in an obvious way but nonetheless manages to subtly guide and enhance the story. “I think the natural rhythm of the film respects that and came out of that as well,” says Brisson in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. Watch the full video chat above.
“CODA” tells the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones), a teenager who is the only hearing member of her family, including her father (Troy Kotsur), mother (Marlee Matlin) and brother (Daniel Durant). Among the more difficult tasks for Brisson in editing “CODA” was crafting the scenes with deaf characters as they communicate via American Sign Language. Because the hearing audience needed to understand and empathize with Ruby’s family, Brisson did not add music to their dialogue scenes. As he explains, the effect was “living in the awkwardness for a hearing audience of not having a world where people are speaking out loud with their voices.”
Elsewhere, the film features a great deal of music, as Ruby desires to be a singer and decides to join the school choir to help achieve her dreams. It is at the school concert that Ruby’s parents begin to fully appreciate her gift, even if they cannot hear her. The scene finds the film shifting focus from Ruby to her parents as the sound fades out, allowing us to experience things from their perspective. It was a big challenge for Brisson, who not only had to make the transition feel natural but also make it effective on an emotional level between all the different storylines. “It was important to establish those relationships and the story of what was going on in the audience between the parents, and Leo,” explains Brisson, “and also what was going on onstage between the stage and the audience and all those things. It took a while to get there.”
Working on “CODA” was an exercise in the importance of collaboration for Brisson. Much like the characters in the film, he found that there is value in taking a step back and seeing the world from a different perspective. “It is a movie where we want people to invite people in,” observes Brisson. “It was a tremendous amount of eye-opening along the way.”
To watch this same interview with closed captions, view the YouTube video below and click the CC button on the bottom right.
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