Basic Film Techniques: Match-Cut

A mach-cut is a cut between two shots which match graphically. This match establishes a sense of continuity and interconnectedness between two different spatial or temporal spheres (space and time). The matching between a shot Z and shot X tends to produce a sense of importance in the connection. The match cut is an editing technique which imbues the different spheres with a sense of metaphor or symbolic relationship. If shot Z has a violent connotation and is matched with X then the action of X will also be imbued with that violent connotation [Although a part of the continuity editing style the match cut is linked to and could be argued inspired by, the montage style and theory of parallelism].

In the beginning of the film Strangers On A Train (1951) we see two different pairs of shoes walk towards a train. The two characters’ footsteps are linked together by a match cut which indicates an inevitable meeting and connection between the two characters’ fate. Essentially the characters are walking the same “footsteps” towards a linked fate. The match cut is primarily a graphic or visual connection between two different spatial or temporal locations. The second function is metaphorical or symbolic and a tool in which to produce meaning by matching two ideas together producing a synthesis of major importance. 2001: A Space Odyssey(1968) matches the throwing of a bone to a space station. The throwing of a bone, after the use of it as a weapon, indicates a leap forward towards humanity [evolution] and a movement forward in scientific progress and the use of tools. These concepts are linked to the space station firstly as the station itself is a tool as such and an indicator of scientific progress but also in larger context of the film as the technology of the space station is a movement towards another leap in evolution: that of artificial life.

Interesting Formal Features In Rocky


Rocky (1976)

Rocky contains several interesting formal features which attribute to the overall films’ communication of location, mainly an economically deprived Philadelphia. One scene that produces a sense of location is when Rocky approaches the “Lucky Seven Tavern”. The screen composition is interesting with the bar on the right and nothing on the left we are given several facts about Rocky and the people who live in this area of Philadelphia. The darkness on the left is pitch black, there are no stars, nothing to amaze or inspire. The lack of an alternative to the bar is also interesting because Rocky, and several bums on the floor, are offered either alcohol or pure darkness. The scene composition becomes a symbol of the darkness and uninspiring life of the protagonist Rocky, it also indicates that there is, at this time, nothing on the horizon to dream for. The character that represents this dreamless alcoholic life is Rocky’s friend Paulie Pennino. Another interesting formal feature is Rocky’s costume. He wears a dark leather jacket that reflects light slightly. As he walks down the dark road his jacket matches the tarmac exactly, producing an image which communicates that Rocky is at one with his surroundings; including its economic and social depression. Another indication of the economic situation of Rocky’s surrounding is the graphic match between the browns of the brick houses and the brown of the loan sharks’ car. The directing in Rocky is very sharp in creating both the sense of economic deprivation in Philadelphia but also in ensuring that Rocky is communicated as someone borne out of this deprivation.