Time; it’s more important than any of the world’s precious metals or gems. Everyone on Earth has found themselves at some point wishing they had just a few more moments with a beloved family member, a long lost love, or even themselves. You can’t see time and yet it affects everyone on a constant basis. Some of the benefits of it are benevolent and some are malevolent, it’s up to each individual to decide. It might not seem obvious but film editor Jun Xia understands this more than most. To say the least, he is perhaps more aware of time’s effect than most. Jun Xia has had great success with his award-winning work on films in the horror genre. While notoriety in a specific type of film is a wonderful stroke of the ego, it’s versatility that keeps you progressing and continues to strengthen your body of work. Jun has used his exceptional talent as an editor for many films that differ from those of the more frightening variety such as “Emily” and “Inside Linda Vista Hospital.” One such example is “The Good Memory.” This romance drama is both touching and heartbreaking at moments. Xia uses his interpretation of time to create strong emotionally impactful moments in his work. This skill is particularly meaningful in “The Good Memory.” While the role of a director is to create the moments on screen that connect with the audience, an editor helps to place us inside the action on the screen, losing ourselves and becoming a silent bystander who witnesses every joy and heartbreak that the characters endure.
The story of “The Good Memory” is one of the harshness of reality. Even in the lives of everyday “normal” people, great tragedy can befall them. Just telling a story is not enough to make it interesting to the general public, the manner in which it is told is just as meaningful. Every member of a production can have an effect on the film but an editor’s role is especially prominent. Jun’s approach and technique as the film’s editor was to magnify the intense feelings of loss depicted in the story. “The Good Memory” is about a man who lost his family and has been living in his own painful recollection. His wife and daughter were unfortunately killed in a car accident. Before this tragic event, the family used to go to a small coffee shop for birthday celebrations. Recalling one of these, the main character remembers happier times with his wife and daughter. We also see them quarrel but then come to a happy resolution to this strife. Sadly, a fatal car accident happens on the way home from this meeting leaving the husband/father as the sole survivor. After the accident, the husband would come to this small cafe on every year on his birthday and recall the happy times with his wife and daughter before this event. While the subject matter is sad, without Xia’s interpretation and attention to detail it might lose the intensity that it is capable of delivering. He describes, “This is an affectional movie. Therefore, in regards to the editing, the connection of the shots will directly impact the integrity and the appeal of the film’s images. This will also determine the quality of the complete film. For the touching dialogues in the film, I took the method of slow editing, which has a great effect on the performance of the characters’ delicate feelings. In one of the dialogues, the wife tells her husband about her longing to spend more time with the family. At this time, the slow-cut shot can fully show the facial expression details of the wife and increase the emotional appeal, reflecting the deep feelings between the couple and greatly increasing the romance of the whole film.”
The use of flashback cutting greatly adds to the mood of this film. In the beginning of the film, the husband has already lost his wife and daughter and is sitting in the café. Holding his wife's ring and thinking of the things that happened a few hours before the accident, the audience’s confusion and interest is peaked. This nonlinear approach pulls the viewer into a more interesting experience. When the father sees a little girl who looks like his daughter, he begins to hallucinate and feel as if his wife and daughter are in front of him. When he suddenly awakens, he finds that it was all his illusion and his wife and daughter are still gone. This method which Jun and the director used makes the overall events much more compelling to the viewer. When the audience sees the husband sitting alone in the cafe, they come to realize that all these good things are an illusion of the husband’s.
Always welcoming the opportunity to prove his adept skills, Jun was eager to contribute his editing talent to “The Good Memory.” Xia has received numerous accolades and awards for his work on horror films like “Emily”, “Inside Linda Vista Hospital”, and others; an occurrence he repeated with “The Good Memory” receiving awards at the: California International Shorts Festival (US), Chandler International Film Festival, Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival, Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, LA Shorts Awards, LAIFF Awards, United International Film Festival, and WorldFest Houston. Discussing his approach to horror and drama/romance films, Jun notes, “Being a great editor does not mean you are able to tell one type of story but rather that you are gifted in telling stories overall. It’s not the love of one genre that compels you but the love of delivering that emotional arc. I love romance movies. As a film editor, I must first integrate myself into the plot. This is the basis on which a film editor can effectively execute the editing and lead the audience to quickly place themselves into the film. To my mind, films of horror themes and romantic themes only differ in the pace of the editing methods. Editing horror film requires more rapid cutting. Its shots are short and the conversions on the screen are fast, which will increase the sense of urgency. The changes between long and short shots can cause the ups and downs of the psychological tension. However, in romantic themed films, slow cutting is used more frequently. Its long shots and slow screen conversions can exaggerate the emotional atmosphere and delicately present the characters’ emotions. These methods also allow the complex entanglement and flow of the emotions and the ‘time delay’ which approximate the real time and can be felt by the audience.”
We have all experienced those moments of panic in which time seems to expand, or those moments of joy when we lose track of time and hours seem to have passed in mere moments. While these are individual and personal perspectives, it is the role of Jun Xia to use this shared experience to help us get inside the minds and hearts of the characters in the films which we love. Like a master of emotion and time bending, Jun Xia creates the moments on screen that connect us all.