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When First and Final Frames Tell a Film's Entire Story

Spoiler alert.
October 1, 2015, 1:45pm
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Warning: Some spoilers ahead.

Like cinematic diptychs, the first and last frames of some of out favorite movies are paired side-by-side in a new film essay from Maryland filmmaker Jacob T. Swinney. Echoing the format of his successful First and Final Frames supercut that went viral in March, the sequel—First and Final Frames II—takes a bit of a different approach. "Much of the video is influenced by both positive and negative online feedback," Swinney tells The Creators Project.

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Fans of the first film will notice that he's added the film titles below each pair of shot, but he also points out a subtler change in round two. "With the first video, I was really focused on the idea that the two shots had to immediately mean something. With Part II, I sort of wanted to raise a few questions with the juxtaposition of the two images. Some of the first and final shots may not scream "significance" right away, but when looking at them side-by-side, they force us to think and come up with new, original ideas."

That's not to say that there's no significance in the diptychs Sweeny composed this time around, but he gives us a bit more thematic room to work with. "Two of my favorites in the video are Snowpiercer and All Is Lost," Swinney says. "As different as these two films are, they convey the same message with their opening and closing shots. Both films open on their respective sources of disaster and close with beautiful shots that convey hope. Also, Eyes Wide Shut is a not-so-obvious one that I find to be very powerful and loaded. Kubrick opens with a shot of Nichole Kidman undressing—teasing the audience that (in '99) was expecting a 'sexy' movie filled with Kidman/Cruise love scenes. The audience is denied this throughout the entire film, and then the final shot (though more powerful when accompanied with the notorious final line of dialogue) almost serves as an 'in your face' to the audience—that's all we are allowed to see."

See more of Jacob T. Swinney's work on Vimeo.

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