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Right wrong

Wit and the next level need encouragement. Instead of blaming culture and perfectionism. Loser-slams, Fuckup Nights, fail awards. The start up scene is giving example. Some can’t keep up. Subtle video referees on professional football for example. Or strictly orthodox cineasts. This is what Hamburg based film editor Niko Brinkmann thinks and dedicates himself to more curiosity and drive. And against zero tolerance, shit storms, stigmatization. Try and fail, but don’t fail to try. An essay.

For years, avowed Star Wars fan were looking forward to “Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace”, just as a Dortmund fan was waiting with joyful anticipation for the Champion League finals. Then finally it happens. You find yourself sitting in a fully occupied cinema hall. The curtain opens. The music of John Williams is blaring. Goosebumps rolling like a La-Ola-Wave all over your body. Your mesmerized gaze is stuck on the screen – and then head coach and club owner George Lucas suddenly replaces the droll, clumsy newcomer Jar Jar Binks in the 11th minute. And he goes on, reeling like a drunken Disney character all over the film, until even the last viewer in the ultra-block (mostly on the back rows, left side of the cinema hall) will have gone mad.

As an editor I experience this moment with mixed feelings. A part of me really feels with the rioting gangs, who are already throwing some tubs of popcorn to the screen. To a hardcore fan a Disney character in the Star Wars universe is just as provoking as a sob stuff country song would be on a Megadeath album. The other part of me remembers all the projects where I made myself unexpected and radical choices about a film and thus came into conflict with directors, actors, camera operators or other team members. You never can make everyone happy. Neither in the football stadium nor in a cinema hall. As soon as the ninety minutes playing time are up, in both cases the golden hour of the “experts” has come. In talk shows and internet forums former national players, actors, B list celebrities and total nobodies dissect gleefully one scene after another. Single passages are being replayed in slow motion repeatedly until the crushing verdict can be announced via video evidence: “Clear position error of the defender” or “blatant connection error in minute 17 and 43 seconds.”

Movies and football games are, as far as this is concerned, both “slow moving targets”. Here is what I think about the subsequent discussions lead in subjunctive mood about technical errors, missed chances and possibilities: simply deadly boring. It takes courage to make a movie. To take a penalty kick as well. Courage deserves respect in the first place – not depending on whether the result is going through the roof or just hits the post. By the way: in view of box office receipts of over 1 milliard dollars George Lucas surely can take the anger of a few thousand Star Wars disciples. Something else might have bothered him a lot more, I guess. Some time after the film premiere of “Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace”, a version titled “The Phantom Edit”, shortened by 20 minutes, was circulating on the internet. The scenes with Jar Jar Binks were mostly cut out. Although I find the idea quite funny, I have never watched this version. Out of deference to George Lucas.