In 2019 we got a quite divisive film from horror director Ari Aster called Midsommar. Some people say its too slow and boring, others, myself included, think that it’s a brilliant modern horror that any fan of the genre should at least check out. But I feel that everyone can at least agree that the film is brilliantly shot with a spectacular colour pallet and loads of awesome camera work. That camera work helped make one of the coolest shots and transitions I’ve seen in cinema.
Early in the film Florence Pugh’s character Dani is debating whether joining her boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden but after experiencing a panic attack (for reasons I won’t spoil) runs into the bathroom but as she runs into the room it transitions into her entering a mid-air airplane toilet. This sudden transition is so cool as it doesn’t just smoothly further the plot but removes parts that would slow down the plot like her deciding to come, going to an airport and getting on the plane. This simple transition answers all of these questions in less than a second and I for one think it is brilliant.
A transition that is a lot more iconic that the Midsommar one and is arguably the most iconic scene change ever comes from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968). The scene in question depicts a caveman throwing a bone upwards and as it spins in the air it becomes a similarly shaped space ship of the clearly far future. This scene transition around a certain object has certainly been replicated by more recent films and there are even instances where it has been done before Kubrick but none are still yet to beat how well he did it. It is the of the best shots in cinema so it is no wonder how frequently it turns up.
I of course can’t talk about brilliant and seamless film transitions without mentioning those films that go above and beyond to make it seem as if the film had none at all. The most obvious example of this is the 2019 Sam Mendes war film 1917 but I feel like many people forget about another which did it first (and actually got the Oscar for best picture). That film is Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014). Both are brilliant films that have somehow made films that seem to flow with virtually no breaks. Thanks to clever editing between different scenes shot by going behind a tree or through a doorway, these films have created some of the coolest cinematic experiences.