A match cut, occurring when the end of one scene is perfectly visually coordinated with the beginning of the next, is a filmmaking technique that can yield serious dividends when executed properly. At its best, this kind of transition can help take an audience from one place and time to another in less than a second, without a jarring disruption of continuity. Video essayist Celia Gómez now pays tribute to this trick of the trade in her latest compilation, “Match Cut: The Art Of Cinematic Technique.” Here are some of the most clever, elegant, poignant, and surprising match cuts in the history of movies. It’s a legacy that Gómez traces back to Luis Buñuel’s 1929 surrealist film Un Chien Andalou. In the infamous first scene from that movie, a man slices a woman’s eye open with a straight razor. Just as he’s about to commit this barbarous act, the director cuts to the image of a thin cloud passing in front of a full moon. So will the violence be implied rather than shown? Nope. The next shot is a closeup of the razor bisecting the eye.
Arguably, the most famous match cut in filmdom occurs in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, when a bone hurled into the air by an ape-like hominid at the Dawn of Man suddenly becomes a 21st-century satellite orbiting Earth. Thousands of years of human progress are thus summarized in an instant. That moment is included here, as are memorable match cuts from Up, Grease, Psycho, Titanic, Ed Wood, Forrest Gump, Shrek, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and more. This video proves that these transitions don’t always have to involve a hard cut. In Up, for instance, Carl is taken from his wife’s funeral to the front porch of his home via a slow dissolve, using a single balloon as a unifying visual element.