Unraveling the Mystery of the Edgar Cut

Unraveling the Mystery of the Edgar Cut

The Edgar Cut is named after the famous French filmmaker, television director, and actor, Jean-Luc Godard. The term refers to the trademark editing style of Godard, which typically involves long shots and an unconventional approach to establishing order within the narrative. This editing style has been described as being wildly inventive and often involving a non-linear approach. In this article, we will take a closer look at what the Edgar Cut is, why it stands out, and discuss how it has been used in some of his most iconic films.

Introduction to the Edgar Cut

The term ‘Edgar Cut’ refers to the editing technique popularized and championed by the French New Wave filmmaker, Jean-Luc Godard. An Edgar Cut can involve the use of long shots, unconventional editing techniques, and a non-linear approach to the narrative of a movie. Godard is influential for his works which often challenge socially acceptable constructs of storytelling. During his time, conventions such as the studio system and classical continuity editing were accepted conventions and Godard broke away from these to create a unique voice in the world of cinema.

The Effects of the Edgar Cut

The Edgar Cut has often been recognized for its revolutionary approach to film editing. By using this technique, Godard was able to convey meaning and emotion in a far more complex way than traditional film editing. This method was especially effective during Godard’s time as it was able to undermine the conventional structures of storytelling while remaining entertaining to audiences. The technique has the effect of lifting viewers out of the traditional narrative and into another realm. It creates a feeling of disorientation and creates an atmosphere of unpredictability.

Examples of the Edgar Cut in Films

The best example of an Edgar Cut can be seen in Godard’s iconic work, Alphaville (1965). This film is an example of how Godard used the Edgar Cut to completely change the tone and direction of the story. In the scene, secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) is investigating a threatening futuristic city where the government has outlawed all forms of emotion. As Lemmy is searching the city, Godard’s cut from one long shot to another interweaves both time and space to further create a feeling of disconnection for the audience. This scene is not only an example of an Edgar Cut in its most pure form, but is also one of the first examples of non-linear storytelling being used in cinema.

Criticism of the Edgar Cut

Answers to Godard’s techniques of editing are varied, with some claiming that his long takes and non-linear approach to storytelling can be seen as a detriment to the clarity of the narrative. Critics have pointed out that during certain scenes in Alphaville, one feels that the pacing takes too long and the audience can be left feeling confused by the lack of clarity due to the unconventional editing. It can also be argued that the Edgar Cut can be seen as distancing audiences from the story, thus making them less emotionally invested in the characters and the plot.


The Edgar Cut has emerged as one of the most innovative approaches to film editing and one that has come to define the works of the iconic Jean-Luc Godard. It has been praised for its ability to keep audiences on their toes and for creating an atmosphere of unpredictability. Although there are criticisms about its ability to confuse viewers or disconnect them from the narrative, there is no denying the influence and impact of the Edgar Cut and its distinctive approach to film editing.


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