What's the significance of this transition effect in the Star Wars series?

enter image description here

I saw this effect in almost all films in Star Wars Series.

  • Looks like a page of a book being turned. It might signify that it is another page of that story. – user10191234 Nov 21 '20 at 6:43
  • It's just a wipe. Very common in pulp SF film series in the early days. – Paulie_D Nov 21 '20 at 8:32
  • 1
    I always hated those wipes in Star Wars (which I imagine is going to be a pretty unpopular opinion ;) – Tetsujin Nov 21 '20 at 12:01

According to Wikipedia:

George Lucas made sweeping use of wipes in his Star Wars films, inspired by a similar use of wipes by Akira Kurosawa.

SlashFilm says the same:

The use of these transition wipes in Star Wars movies was a signature choice by George Lucas to move from one scene to another. He was inspired by similar wipes used in he films of Akira Kurosawa, whose movies had great influence on the style of the original Star Wars.

Of relevance might be this quote from George Lucas:

I come out of abstract filmmaking. I like the idea of cutting together contrasting images and ideas so they flow one after the other. If you watch a silent movie, you can see how a story is told; if you watch abstract films, you can see that by juxtaposing images, you also tell stories, and, in doing so, the issue of cutting on one frame rather than on another becomes very important.

On the editorial level, which is the cinematic level, movies are a mass of objects moving across a large surface. You’re watching these little details, which are the ones that make the cut work, as they move through the back of the frame. You’re orchestrating how these things flow, by deciding how you cut from one shot to another. The subtlety of the medium demands that a star break the frame at the right moment, because what reaction you get has a lot to do with spatial relationships: where things are in the frame, what color things are, where the bright objects are–and where you eye is going to be.

When the movie cuts to a different shot, if your eye has to move a great distance to follow an object, it becomes a rough cut; if your eye stays in the same place, then it’s a smooth cut. If your eye has to move too much, you’re usually lost for two frames on a cut. You don’t understand what you’re seeing because you can’t register it that fast. If you’re just cutting dialogue, it doesn’t matter; it’s just talking heads and the emphasis is all on the dialogue. But in my films, the dialogue is not where the movie is. My films are basically in the graphics. The emotional impact comes from the music and from juxtaposing one image with the next.

Cinema is about moving images. But it’s moving from one image to the next that creates emotional impact.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .