JILL BILCOCK: DANCING THE INVISIBLE
Jill Bilcock, an outspoken art student in 1960s Melbourne went on to become one of the world's most acclaimed film editors.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Jill Bilcock got the part of the baddie's girlfriend ('a slut' she quips) in an Indian film made in Bombay once, not, she says, because she had talent but because she had shoes. And we're not even 12 minutes into this 'it's about time a doco was made about Jill' film. Anyone in or around the Australian film industry - such as a film critic like me - is familiar with Jill's work, of course, as is the film consuming public even though they may not know it. Editors' names aren't well remembered, but the films she has cut include Evil Angels, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel's Wedding, Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann's masterpiece, cut in Jill's house in Brunswick), Elizabeth, The Dish, Moulin Rouge, Red Dog and The Dressmaker (among others), and all are milestones, mostly in Australian cinema.
A year after her Bombay film role, she finally arrived in London, her original destination, but the job she had gone for hadn't waited. Of course, all those experiences travelling the world fed into and expanded her creative capital, which seems to have continued to expand to this day. There isn't time nor perhaps the editorial space in this entirely professional bio for more information about that year nor about her private life overall.
Among the highlights for me is the part Jill describes how she created what she calls 'the clap' scene in Strictly Ballroom, splicing together the sound of the crowd clapping, which didn't last anywhere near as long on set as it does on screen. And we watch the scene as she describes it... we see the magic of cinema created, 'truth' told with 'lies'. We learn how it is Jill's sensibilities that come to bear on her editing decisions, decisions that can change a film pretty well completely. A powerful example of power and responsibility in a creative sense.
In between clips from her films (clips which elevate and give depth & grip to this doco), filmmaker Axel Grigor inserts brief excerpts of actors and directors heaping high praise on Jill's talent ("Editing is a dance. And Jill is the perfect partner." Phil Noyce), and even some historic footage of Jill at work. Most interesting of all, though, is the narrative Jill provides, explaining how she approaches her work. It all rests on expressing emotion - "isn't that what life's about" she asks rhetorically.
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JILL BILCOCK: DANCING THE INVISIBLE (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Jill Bilcock, Cate Blanchett, Baz Luhrmann, Bruce Beresford, Fred Schepisi, Phil Noyce, Martin Brown and others
PRODUCER: Axel Grigor, Faramarz K. Rahber
DIRECTOR: Axel Grigor
SCRIPT: Axel Grigor
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Faramarz K. Rahber
EDITOR: Axel Grigor, Scott Walton
RUNNING TIME: 78 mins
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Film Art Media
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 5, 2018