Everyone pays attention to the stuff going on in front of the camera, and for a good reason since that’s where shit happens.
With that in mind, the connective tissue between scenes is often
dismissed, ignored, or forgotten in the mix. Many times, filmmakers
want transitions (wipes, cuts, dissolves, etc.) to be transparent so as
to aid in the storytelling. Sometimes… they choose a method that
leaves a mark on our psyche. What follows is a handful of our favorite,
whether they be inventive, hilarious, dumb, or just plain unbelievable.

Behold, CHUD.com’s favorite transitions!

Lone Star (buy it from us!) is one of many very great movies from American filmmaker John Sayles, a man more of you folks should not only know their body of work, but one who should serve as a role model to the prospective filmmakers in the crowd. He’s a guy who came up the Corman way and a valuable script doctor but someone who makes his kind of movies whether he’s doing it inexpensively or absofuckinglutelydirtcheap.

City of Hope
, Matewan, Return of the Seacaucus Seven, Eight Men Out are but the tip of the iceberg, and his films of late tend to be abstract artistic political ventures for a very select audience but proof that the man stil lhas serious fire in his belly.

Lone Star is arguably the best “John Sayles film” (Eight Men Out is much more a collaborative effort), and a sneakily elegant movie in terms of construction and the sleight of hand Sayles uses to tell his story of corruption and love and race relations. These are recurring themes in John Sayles movies.

Alligator, for instance.

There several terrific transitions in the film, bridging the forty year gap between the modern plot involving Chris Cooper investigating the mystery of some newly discovered bones and the past events leading to those bones ceasing to be contained in a living human. Whether done in camera or with seamless matte work or dissolves, the result allows Sayles to deeply involve his audience in the story without being showy. Very much like a stage play in execution, and something that could easily detract from the experience in lesser hands.

I’ve chosen a simple moment as a former cop tells a story about a dispute between Cooper’s dad (played with sexy menace by Matthew McConaughey) and his boss (played by Kris Kristofferson, a man comprised of rawhide, oil, and call sheets from Millenium) and the scene moves from a bar during the afternoon in modern day and as we follow the man’s arm it segues to forty years prior as the same table is the setting for a decades old moment in the late hours of the day.

Beautiful stuff, and not gimmicky in the least.

“It started over a basket of tortillas…”

Discuss this list here.