Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible – movie review

If you’ve ever wondered about the value of a feature film editor, then you need to discover the work of Jill Bilcock. Alex Grigor’s documentary, Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible, is a good place to start.

Bilcock is one of the world’s most sought-after film editors. While millions of people have been moved by her craft, she remains relatively unknown. Put simply, Bilcock has been integral to the success of some of the best known and Australian and international movies. They include Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding, Moulin Rouge!, Red Dog, The Dish, Romeo + Juliet, The Dressmaker, Elizabeth, American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Skyfall.

More than that, she loves working with first time directors. She’s passionate and heavily involved in each new project she tackles. Directors and actors alike frequently sing her praises as she possesses that “X” factor everyone is seeking.

In this documentary, we hear commentary from Cate Blanchett, Rachel Griffiths, Baz Luhrmann, Phil Noyce and Fred Schepisi among others.

Intrinsically Bilcock knows what will work and what won’t. She has a keen eye for detail and that includes not only matching pictures to narrative, but also sound. Bilcock is an unmistakable asset who doesn’t like standing still.

All this is shown in fine detail in this outstanding documentary. It captures the essence of Bilcock through interviews and movie clips. During four years of production Grigor – who first met Bilcock in 2012 at an editing symposium at Griffith Film School in Brisbane – travelled to four continents. He met and interviewed many of Bilcock’s closest collaborators and friends.

Importantly, as a result we get to appreciate how she goes about her business. Hers is a truly enduring legacy as one of the foremost figures in a notoriously fickle industry. After watching this you can only admire her work ethic as well as her accomplishments.

Jill Bilcock: Dancing The Invisible is pacey and engaging. It gives us insights into a world most of us know little, if anything, about.

Director: Alex Grigor
Release Date: 19 July 2018 (limited)
Rating: M

Alex First

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