March 17, 2018
'First and Final Frames' Is Back to Show Us the Power of Bookending Films
Ready for round three of “First and Final Frames?”
A few years back, video essayist Jacob T. Swinney captured our attention in a big way with a simple video that juxtaposed the first frames of a film with the last, offering little more than gentle music to pair with the side-by-side images. Well, after 2 1/2 years, he’s back with the third installment of his popular “First and Final Frames” series, complete with some of the best films of the year, to give us the chance to explore, once again, the way films are bookended and what can be learned from it.
What can a supercut like this teach us about filmmaking? Well, potentially a lot. Some of these examples reveal how the first frame mirrors the final frame, like in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, indicating that, perhaps, the “end” is just like the “beginning” or that the hero’s journey has come full circle. Other examples, like in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, reveal a stark contrast that shows the audience how much the protagonist’s circumstances have changed. Still, others reveal nothing at all, at least not intentionally.