Watch: 100 of the Most Iconic Shots from the Last 100 Years of Cinema
If aliens came to Earth and asked the human race what this thing called cinema was, this is the video we should show them.
This supercut by Jacob T. Swinney looks back at the last 100 years of cinema and chooses 100 of "the most memorable shots from each year." But understand, this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill supercut — it's a powerful, powerful piece that actually became an Official Selection at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.
I cried watching this supercut — and I really have to ask myself why, because I think that holds the key to why it's such an impactful piece. Was it the shots Swinney used? Sure. Was it the music? Yeah, that probably played a role. Is it the fact that I love the history of cinema? Well, of course that's a part of it. I kept wondering about this on my second and third viewing until it occurred to me — "I feel like I'm watching my child growing up before my eyes."
The work of the forefathers of cinema, D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and F.W. Murnau flickering in black and white, the 1000-yard stare of Maria Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc, the magical special effects in Metropolis — it's like watching your kid smile for the first time, or say its first words, or take its first steps.
It got me thinking, if these early silent films are cinema's first steps and words, what does Furiosa collapsing to her knees in the desert in Mad Max: Fury Road represent in the timeline of cinema? Is it cinema learning to ride a bike? Is it cinema's first kiss? Are we recording cinema carefully pinning a boutonniere to their nervous prom date?
Then again, cinema isn't even 130 years old — and assuming those cinephilic aliens aren't coming to destroy the planet, it'll be here for a long, long time. So, maybe cinema's not even in its teenage years. Maybe it's not even in its infancy. Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, the past 130 years was just our lovely child taking its first breath and opening its eyes for the first time.