Yang-Hua Hu interview: ‘Mass’ editor

“I wanted to make sure everybody is involved in this conversation,” explains editor Yang-Hua Hu of his work on “Mass.” Fran Kranz’s debut film as writer and director explores difficult territory as two sets of parents yearn to reconcile a tragic event that claimed their sons. Almost the entirety of the film takes place in one room, with the four central characters sitting around a single table. The confines of this space created a unique job for the editor. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“When I was cutting, I pretty much just let the footage speak to me,” suggests Hu. Though he admits the single-room setting of the movie gave him some initial hesitation, he had “no concerns” after looking at the cast list. “I didn’t think about it actually,” he says, “because the story is so intriguing.” He goes on to praise the performances of Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, which became the main tools he used to piece together the film.

SEE Jason Isaacs interview: ‘Mass’

Hu frequently allows a scene to linger on a character who is listening, rather than speaking. “It’s about the motivation” of the actor according to the editor. He compares the technique to a large family dinner, where much is said in the unsaid and in the silence of the listeners. “If we stay on the character” who is receiving the information, reveals Hu, “we’re able to find a new meaning of something.”

The editor describes this process as “very intuitive.” As such, there were not many alternate cuts that had to be tried and discarded. That’s because he made sure the four characters were “always participants in the room,” which dictated the rhythm and arc to each sequence. “It’s about the situation,” he explains. “Whose story is this? Who is the one trying to convince people? Who is the one trying to receive the message?”

SEE Fran Kranz interview: ‘Mass’ writer/director

Hu believes in the power of the story in “Mass” because it reaches beyond any one issue. It’s about people trying to connect with those who seem opposed to them, in order to have a better tomorrow. “If we’re willing to sit down and have the conversation, we might be able to understand each other better,” states the editor, pointing towards the film’s conclusion as evidence. If we can take on the sometimes painful task of truly listening, “it could make the world better.”

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UPLOADED Dec 13, 2021 2:37 pm