How Movies Time Travel: The Art of the Ellipsis
With an ellipsis, one cut can cover millions of years.
Making movies is about what a filmmaker tells the audience—but it’s also about what is omitted. When a certain amount of diegetic time is skipped, that editing technique is called an ellipsis. The goals of an ellipsis can be diverse: To avoid telling something that is already understood, to mark the passage of time, or even to create humor. Ernst Lubitsch was a great master of this technique, using an ellipsis to play to a scene’s humor. But he certainly wasn’t the only filmmaker to notably use an ellipsis—David Fincher, Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, and Steven Spielberg have all used it with great skill throughout their careers. But perhaps, the best use of an ellipsis in the history of cinema is... Well, perhaps that’s a reveal better saved for the end of this video.