Grow old along with me as we learn about this film transition.
Cinema is a powerful medium for storytelling, and filmmakers have a variety of techniques at their disposal to convey complex ideas and emotions. One technique that allows filmmakers to show a character's growth and development over time in a short amount of time is the maturation dissolve.
Whether used in Hollywood blockbusters or Bollywood musicals, the maturation dissolve is a powerful storytelling tool that can add depth and complexity to a film's narrative.
In this article, we will explore the history and use of the maturation dissolve in cinema, examining how this technique has been employed by filmmakers to convey important themes and create emotional connections with audiences.
Let's mature together.
What Is a Maturation Dissolve in Cinema?
The maturation dissolve is a fun and effective technique to watch because it allows audiences to feel invested in a character's journey, experience the passage of time with them, and explore important themes and emotions
Maturation Dissolve Definition
A "maturation dissolve" is a film technique used to show the growth and maturation of a character over time. It is achieved by showing a series of images that gradually dissolve into one another, conveying the passage of time.
For example, a maturation dissolve might be used to show a character aging from childhood to adulthood or to demonstrate the passage of time over a long period. It can also be used to transition between scenes or to convey the emotional development of a character.
It is most commonly used in Bollywood cinema to show a character aging from childhood to adulthood or to see the passing of time between two different timelines of the story.
What Makes a Maturation Dissolve Fun to Watch?
The maturation dissolve is a technique that can be both visually and emotionally satisfying for audiences. Here are some reasons why:
Compresses time: The maturation dissolve is an effective way to compress time and show a character's growth and development in a short amount of screen time. This allows the audience to experience the passage of time with the character and feel invested in their journey.
Creates a sense of continuity: By transitioning between shots using a dissolve, the maturation dissolve creates a sense of continuity between different points in a character's life. This helps to create a more cohesive narrative and emphasizes the cyclical nature of life.
Emotional resonance: Watching a character grow and develop over time can be emotionally resonant for audiences. The maturation dissolve allows viewers to witness a character's journey and root for them as they overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
Adds depth and complexity: By showing a character at different points in their life, the maturation dissolve can add depth and complexity to a film's narrative. It allows filmmakers to explore themes of identity, responsibility, and personal growth, adding layers of meaning to the story.
Why Do Bollywood Movies Have Maturation Dissolves in Them?
Bollywood movies use maturation dissolves as a narrative tool to show the growth and maturation of a character over time. The use of this technique helps to compress time and convey character development in an efficient and visually engaging manner.
Bollywood movies often have longer runtimes compared to American movies, with many films having a duration of over two and a half hours. In such films, it is important to convey character growth and development without taking up too much screen time. Maturation dissolves allow filmmakers to show the passage of time and the maturation of characters in a visually interesting and efficient way.
Additionally, maturation dissolves are often used to convey the emotional arc of a character. They can be used to show a character's struggles and growth over time, as well as their triumphs and achievements. This helps to create a more immersive and emotionally resonant experience for the audience.
Maturation Dissolve Examples in Bollywood Cinema
Bollywood cinema was known for its maturation dissolves in the early days. One of my favorites comes from the movie Zanjeer (1973).
The story is about a kid who witnessed the murder of his parents at a young age. His name is Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), and he grows up to become a respected police detective. We get the dissolve at the very beginning of the movie, showing the backstory of the murder and then the credits and then linking that horrible action to the kid as an adult today, informing us what is the driving force behind his character.
Another comes in one of my favorite all-time movies, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). In the song "Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane," we get sort of a mental maturation dissolve as we see the character Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) growing up from a boy to a young man, but in perception alone.
Before this, he is perceived as a goof and immature person. After he dons the suit and shows he can play in the adult world, we see him as a reasonable romantic interest.
There are way more of these in Indian cinema, but I'm not the best at finding them. If you watch enough Bollywood, you can even come to see this as a trope to expect. They became so influential they jumped into American cinema as well.
Maturation Dissolve in American Film
The term "maturation dissolve" is not commonly used in the United States, but a similar technique is often used to show the passage of time and the maturation of characters. This technique is often referred to as a "time-lapse" or "montage."
Although these have similar goals, they are not exactly the same thing, as a maturation dissolve usually takes place in a few quick moments.
In American films, a time-lapse or montage might show a character's progression over a long period of time, such as their education or career or the growth of a relationship. This technique is achieved by showing a series of images or scenes that are connected thematically or chronologically, often with music or voiceover to enhance the emotional impact.
Maturation Dissolve in American Film
The entire opening of the movie Up is one elongated maturation dissolve to allow us to understand the backstory of the lead character Carl (Ed Asner). In the "Married Life" sequence, there is a time-lapse that shows the life of the main character, Carl Fredricksen, from childhood to old age, symbolizing his growth and emotional development.
We see him gain and lose his wife, Ellie, then become someone stuck all alone in the world.
Perhaps the most famous and strictly Bollywood-inspired maturation dissolve comes from The Lion King.
The "Hakuna Matata" song sequence makes use of a maturation dissolve to show the growth and maturation of Simba (Matthew Broderick). In this sequence, Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa sing and dance their way through the jungle as Simba grows from a young cub to a fully grown adult lion.
All in just a few frames.
The maturation dissolve occurs around the 2:25 minute mark in the song sequence, as Simba goes from singing about his carefree life with Timon and Pumbaa to reflecting on his past and his responsibilities as the future king. The dissolve shows Simba growing from a young cub to a young adult lion, symbolizing his maturation and growth.
The use of a maturation dissolve in this scene helps to emphasize the passage of time and Simba's growth and development over the years. It also helps to set up the conflict that will arise later in the film, as Simba is forced to confront his past and his responsibilities as the future king.
Summing Up the Maturation Dissolve in Cinema
The maturation dissolve is a cinematic technique used to convey the passage of time and character development in a compressed format. It involves the use of a dissolve or crossfade to transition between two shots, showing a character at different points in their life to symbolize their growth and maturation.
This technique is used in cinema across the globe, from Bollywood to Hollywood, and can be found in a variety of genres and styles. It is often used to convey important themes and plot points, as well as to create an emotional connection between the audience and the protagonist.
The maturation dissolve can be a powerful storytelling tool, allowing filmmakers to compress time and convey character growth in an efficient and impactful way. By showing a character at different points in their life, the dissolve emphasizes their journey and the challenges they have overcome to reach their current state, adding depth and complexity to the story.
Overall, the maturation dissolve is a technique that has been used by filmmakers for decades, and it continues to be a popular and effective way to convey character development and growth in cinema.
Let me know your favorite dissolves in the comments.