WOMEN BESIDE THE SCREEN: ASSIGNMENT #1 (15%) – Prompt #3: Text (400 words)


Axel Grigor’s 2017 non-fiction film, Jill Bilcock: Dancing The Invisible, is a documentary that focuses in on the life and career of Academy Award nominated, Australian film editor Jill Bilcock. Bilcock has worked on some of the most renowned films in cinema history, including Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 BAFTA award winning adaption, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. 

Grigor gives the viewers a rather unique and refreshing style of editing in this film, utilising a lot of archived pieces of work, rather than using his own filmed content; yet makes it something of his own, creating a new piece of work, with it’s own new meaning that allows the audience to feel like they are well and truly being invited into the inner workings of Bilcocks life. Making use of exclusively shots of Bilcock editing at her desk, snippets of interviews with herself and other people of interest that relate to the storyline, then layering over green screen and pieced together between examples of Bilcocks work.

This in an interesting way of turning what could have been a simple interview into an entire film production. Grigor has effectively taken what could have been a simple interview, just using the footage of Bilcock alone, and edited down to 3-5 minutes, and turned it into a whole entire profile of the subject – highlighting her entire career, and injecting the interview into that.

Grigor makes use of these repititive shots, showing that he had limited footage of the subject to work with. However, the way Grigor chose to piece it together changed the dynamic of it completely. Zoning into her hands, her work space, and the project she is working on, with these repititive shots then being laid over green screen, gives the audience the sense that Bilcock is always working away at a project – even when she is in the middle of being the subject of another creatives project. This matches the narrative of the film perfectly, as we are being told this story of this woman who burst into the scene and hasn’t slowed down, or stopped, since. This is the perfect example that shows how Grigor’s unique editing style is effective in connecting with his audience and inviting them into the inner workings of the subjects life. Pairing this with the facts about Bilcocks career, and interviews with those in the industry that have worked with her, makes Grigor successful in his endevours to create a high standard documentary on a person, and is just a fantastic example of a non-fiction film.

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