The Last Page as Discovered by Yu-Ying Chuang

December 9, 2017

 

We find ourselves in an era dominated by comicbook characters in film. As ubiquitous as they seem, the filmmakers of The Last Page have found an original take on this theme. Specifically, the film focuses on a comicbook creator and his most famous character. The decidedly non-superhuman story is transfixing in its humanity. When the original edit didn’t match the rhythm and mood they desired, executive producer Martell Hasley and director Nick Powers-Gomez sought out the expertise of editor Yu-Ying Chuang to realize their vision. Chuang’s results were so successful that the film received accolades and nominations from the Los Angeles Film Awards, Miami Independent Film Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, and many others. Yu-Ying’s contributions to this film testifies to the fact that a film can possess all of the right components but it often takes a great editor to take it across the finish line.

 

  Having parted ways with the film’s former editor, Hasley and Powers-Gomez placed the responsibility for sculpting a film more congruent to their interpretation in the hands of Yu-Ying. Any editor will confirm that this is neither an easy or an enviable task. The general direction from the filmmakers was to provide a faster rhythm for a number of scenes. Reconfiguring these scenes, Chuang took the direction of the story to a Sci-Fi aesthetic.

 

  The Last Page is the story of once famous comic book writer Emanuel Delgado (portrayed by Joaquin Alvarez). Though once a celebrity in the comic book world with adoring fans and awards, modern day finds him living in despair and near squalor. His depression is interrupted when an unannounced package arrives at his home with contents that reconnect him with his most famed creation. A young man named Oliver (Casey Miller of HBO’s Euphoria), begins events that will lead to Emanuel’s emotional resurrection. Eventually, Emmanuel’s character [Bio-Man] leads him into a surreal dimension in which he is confronted by the reasons for his sadness. Understanding that his brother’s death a decade ago massively impacted both his personal and professional life, Delgado begins to understand that Bio-Man has affected him and a large number of people very positively.

 

  Finding the connective tissue to depression and a comic book character is not easily cultivated. Yu-Ying’s ability to do this is what makes the film achieve its goal. Even more profound is the transition from somber to inspiring that the story realizes. From Oliver and his friend Nadja’s first confrontation with Emmanuel to their more introspective dialogue bathed in the glow of a lightbulb; it’s apparent that Chuang has taken steps to focus on the performance of the actors which truly steer the action and emotion of this film. The editor relates, “I made quick cuts in some scenes. In others, I would enlarge the picture a bit to highlight Emanuel. I used some special effects to make the lens slowly move forward to show how sad he is and that he sees Oliver as his younger brother in an illusion.” Without inside knowledge, one would never guess that this lauded film was pieced together by an editor from previously edited work. The results are simply astounding and can only be accurately appreciated by watching The Last Page.

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