First and final frames
March 19, 2015 8:32 PM   Subscribe

This video plays the opening and closing shots of 55 films side-by-side. Some of the opening shots are strikingly similar to the final shots, while others are vastly different--both serving a purpose in communicating various themes. Some show progress, some show decline, and some are simply impactful images used to begin and end a film. [Obvious spoilers for the final shots of the 55 movies listed in the video's description]
posted by mediareport (18 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
This was pretty interesting, and the selections were a nice mix of both somewhat obscure and well known films. I wonder what else a collection might reveal if the order of the films were chronological, and had a bit more of some older films. With a much larger collection in that order, it might be an interesting way to look at stylistic trends of cinematography over the decades.
posted by chambers at 9:00 PM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Certainly interesting, but I couldn't shake that feeling that I needed more context or something. Chronological order would give it that, rather than just "Here's some stuff".

(Still makes for a fun round of 'Guess the Movie'.)
posted by quinndexter at 10:39 PM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is great. I could easier watch an hour long version of this.
posted by dogwalker at 10:57 PM on March 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

I couldn't shake that feeling that I needed more context or something

For the films I had seen, it was interesting to think about them again with the scenes removed from their context. Nice link, cheers.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:06 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Guess the movie, indeed. I was wondering about the especially apocalyptic ones. Has someone compiled a list?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:18 AM on March 20, 2015

D'OH! It's right there on the main Vimeo page. Teaches me to use the spiffy MeFi viewer!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:22 AM on March 20, 2015

MUSIC: "Any Other Name" by Thomas Newman

Films used (in order of appearance):
The Tree of Life 00:00
The Master 00:09
Brokeback Mountain 00:15
No Country for Old Men 00:23
Her 00:27
Blue Valentine 00:30
Birdman 00:34
Black Swan 00:41
Gone Girl 00:47
Kill Bill Vol. 2 00:53
Punch-Drunk Love 00:59
Silver Linings Playbook 01:06
Taxi Driver 01:11
Shutter Island 01:20
Children of Men 01:27
We Need to Talk About Kevin 01:33
Funny Games (2007) 01:41
Fight Club 01:47
12 Years a Slave 01:54
There Will be Blood 01:59
The Godfather Part II 02:05
Shame 02:10
Never Let Me Go 02:17
The Road 02:21
Hunger 02:27
Raging Bull 02:31
Cabaret 02:36
Before Sunrise 02:42
Nebraska 02:47
Frank 02:54
Cast Away 03:01
Somewhere 03:06
Melancholia 03:11
Morvern Callar 03:18
Take this Waltz 03:21
Buried 03:25
Lord of War 03:32
Cape Fear 03:38
12 Monkeys 03:45
The World According to Garp 03:50
Saving Private Ryan 03:57
Poetry 04:02
Solaris (1972) 04:05
Dr. Strangelove 04:11
The Astronaut Farmer 04:16
The Piano 04:21
Inception 04:26
Boyhood 04:31
Whiplash 04:37
Cloud Atlas 04:43
Under the Skin 04:47
2001: A Space Odyssey 04:51
Gravity 04:57
The Searchers 05:03
The Usual Suspects 05:23
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:24 AM on March 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

That was very interesting. There's enough "riverrun" to make that seem like the easiest / laziest solution, though maybe we humans are comforted by the end wrapping back around to the beginning. And I confess to almost gasping when I saw the "Gone Girl" ones side by side. Hadn't noticed that when I saw the movie but it's perfectly apt. That's Fincher for you.
posted by chavenet at 2:16 AM on March 20, 2015

Before I clicked on the link, I figured "The Searchers" would be in there. And, whadayaknow, it's the image that appears before you even start the video. I'm one of the few movie geeks that is not head over heels in love with that film, but I will give props to those first and last shots.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:00 AM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

That was pretty cool. And, yeah, it's a bit of "Guess the movie", but that's sort of the hook that keeps you watching. Seeing the list potsmokinghippieoverlord provided, I see that I should have known far more of the films than I immediately did. I sat there thinking "Good lord, I've really not kept up with movies". Which is pretty much true, but still... Guess I have some catching-up to do.

For whatever undefinable reason, it pleased me to see the shots from Cabaret.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:09 AM on March 20, 2015

My usual complaint that it's weighted too heavily toward contemporary films but nicely done.
posted by octothorpe at 5:25 AM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cabaret stuck out for me too. Brilliant framing for the funhouse-mirror horror of that flick. Birdman is great, too; it solidifies the ending a bit. Some are more revealing than others (i.e., the cloying obviousness of the first and last shots of Saving Private Ryan), but even the ones where the director doesn't seem to have worried much about the pairing are worth seeing.

I've watched it 4 times now and like it more each time.
posted by mediareport at 5:47 AM on March 20, 2015

Inherent Vice is bracketed by a shot of the beach between houses but they don't happen exactly at the start / finish. Just taking exactly the first and last frames won't catch all the ways of "closing the circle".

Anyway this reminded me of "Shape of Song", graphs of where similar bits of music happen in the same piece. Having a hard time with finding a similar thing for film but it looks like there are attempts.
posted by yoHighness at 7:26 AM on March 20, 2015

Rocky morphology!
posted by yoHighness at 7:36 AM on March 20, 2015

I'd love a website that takes the first and last shots of movies and examines what significance they carry. The one that really amazed me was (apparently) the beginning of the Wild Bunch is a bunch of kids dropping a scorpion onto an ant's nest. The ants swarm and kill the scorpion. And then, in the end, the Wild Bunch (the scorpion, natch) are killed by the army (the ants). Pretty amazing to this small mind.
posted by Phreesh at 8:15 AM on March 20, 2015

maybe we humans are comforted by the end wrapping back around to the beginning

Coleridge: "The common end of all, to convert a series into a whole, to make those events, which, in real or imagined history, move on in a straight line, assume to our understandings a circular motion—the snake with its tail in its mouth."
posted by yoink at 10:13 AM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

As a writer, I now also want to know how many of these shots were specified in the original script.
And echoing that I too want to review the corresponding scenes of more somewhat older classics, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, misc. 40s noir, Chinatown.
The 2001 images have a wonderful angular complementary atmosphere.
And as many times as I've seen Cast Away, I recalled the last shot of Hanks looking down his roads options, but not that the opening is of a long empty road.
posted by NorthernLite at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2015

I was surprised that the opening and closing shots of Gone Girl weren't actually the same shot as I assumed.
posted by octothorpe at 12:43 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

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