opening and closing shots

While there are hundreds and thousands of frames that compose dozens of shots in motion pictures, two of the most important images in every single film are the opening shot and the closing shot. The opening shot introduces you the world, characters and story you’re about to see, and it should captivate you from the beginning; the final shot is the last you’ll see of the story that just unfolded, and if it’s good, it should stay with you after the movie is over.

Editor Jacob T. Swinney has taken these important pieces of film and juxtaposed them in a couple videos showing the opening and closing shots of no less than 125 movies, from The Searchers to Birdman and a bunch more in between. But it’s up to you to determine what they mean to the movie. Though since there are closing shots, beware of potential spoilers and a bit of NSFW imagery.

Here’s Jacob T. Swinney’s First and Final Frames videos (via Gizmodo):

As you can see, some of these movies have opening shots that are extremely similar to the closing shots, creating a gorgeous bookend effect. Others are much different visually, but communicate plenty about the themes of the movie, especially compared to where we started in the story to where we ended up (sometimes it’s the same place). The point is that they’re all significant and add something to the story visually.

Swinney says, “The side-by-side comparison can communicate an entire story, but also allows us to develop new theories about a given film.” Indeed, seeing these shots side-by-side just might give you something more to think about that never occurred to you when watching the movie like you normally would, peeling back more layers that you never knew were there.

If you see some movies you don’t recognize, each video page has all the respective titles listed for you to cross reference and seek out if these two shots compel you to watch one of these movies you haven’t watched..

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