Time Passes Montage
A montage where the position of the camera typically (although not necessarily, thanks to digital editing) remains the same, in order to emphasize the passage of time. This is a subset of the Time-Compression Montage
Common uses will show things like:
A variation of this is a montage showing the pages of an old-fashioned paper almanac of days flipping over rapidly or being ripped off and fluttering away
so that the printed numbers and names of the months seem to change in rapid sequence, to showcase how time flies. Common spoof: to reveal that in fact very little time (or at least, not as much as the montage would have implied) has passed. Frequently accompanies a Fast-Forward Mechanic
in video games.
Anime and Manga
- Used in a recent Citroen advert in the UK to show the passage of time from the designing of the first coupé cabriolet to the release of the current model.
- Done in Episode 40 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. For bonus points, the camera is situated in front of a window (which cycles through day and night very fast) and in front of an hourglass.
- Azumanga Daioh has Sakaki petting Chiyo's huge dog for hours and hours and hours as the day turns into afternoon.
- Animation Runner Kuromi uses "night follows day" scene breaks with a cutesy, chibified sun and moon sweeping over the studio and announcing "Evening", "Morning" and "Animator's Morning (10:00 AM)"
Films — Animated
- Guardian has one page of silent panels, with Lulu, Yuna, Wakka, and Chappu each looking a bit older in each one, to show their adolescence on Besaid.
Films — Live-Action
- Several decades pass in the first few minutes of Up.
- The song "Strange Things" from Toy Story shows Andy gradually abandoning Woody in favor of Buzz Lightyear.
- Ralph Bakshi puts a notable one of these in his animated The Lord of the Rings. "Seventeen years passed in the Shire..." the narrator solemnly informs us. Cue image of the Shire going through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter...repeatedly...and eventually sped up to near strobe-like swiftness.
- Several in WALL•E, though none of these montages provide any clues how much time is passing. They could have taken place in a number of days or even years. The plant EVE was carrying was only starting to dehydrate when it arrived on the Axiom, which would have taken less than a week in real life, but it's possible EVE has a built-in stasis field since the film implies seasons have passed.
- In The Book of Life, Maria doesn't get one, but Manolo and Joaquin share one that illustrates them growing from boys to men in San Angel.
- Bella has one in one of the Twilight movies. The camera sweeps around her as the window shows the seasonal changes.
- There is one in Blindness except the camera sweeps through the scene.
- City of God uses this to show the history of drug-dealing in an apartment.
- In The Hudsucker Proxy, during the montage of Norville's invention being made, there are periodic shots of the door of the marketing department as they come up with names for the new product. The secretary in front of the door is reading War and Peace. By the last shot, when they finally come up with a name, she's reading Anna Karenina.
- Pride and Prejudice (2005), where Lizzy Bennet seems to be sitting on a swing for several months.
- In the Disney comedy Rocket Man, the main character falls asleep inside a stasis chamber made for a monkey (the monkey has taken the main character's chamber) preceding a montage of space nebulae, before then showing him waking up and finding that he hasn't even been asleep for a whole day (out of the many months of stasis intended).
- In the American Film of the Book of The Time Machine (1960) by H. G. Wells, the protagonist sees a dummy in the window of a fashion store across the street go through changes of clothes and fashions in rapid succession.
- In the 2002 remake, one of the most awe-inspiring scenes is when the protagonist is knocked out by an impact as he's leaving the Bad Future and cranks the time machine into full gear. He sleeps as millennia change around him. A new Ice Age forms around him. Ice then melts, and things start growing again.
- Titanic (1997) invokes this trope by fading the titular ship as it was to its sunken form in the present.
- In the American version of The Ring we see surveillance footage of Samara in an institution. It doesn't look all that weird until you see the hands on the wall clock spinning and realize she's sitting or standing in one place for a day or more at a time.
- Hot Fuzz uses close-up shots of Nicholas Angel's cellphone, the bars on the battery status icon slowly depleting, to show the passage of time as he travels from London to Sandford in Gloucestershire.
- The ending of Gangs of New York uses this to great effect to demonstrate the futility of the various characters' struggles. After Amsterdam gives his final speech about how no one will remember the draft riots, the cemetary he walks away from (overlooking the city) fast-forwards through time, and the city grows in size before finishing with a modern-day version that includes the former twin towers of the World Trade Center.
- The Red Violin has three of them (given that the movie spans more than 300 years).
- The collection of Choirboys from the orphanage in Austria who play the violin for 100 years.
- The Grave Robbing gypsies, who play it for another century before ending up in Frederick Pope's possession.
- Finally, the violin goes up on sale in a pawnshop where it is displayed for 30 years as the owner ages significantly.
- Done twice in Things to Come. First, the destruction of war is shown by the evolution of armor, and by a dissolve shot of a dead soldier turning into scraps of rags. Then, the rebuilding of Everytown after the overthrow of the Warlord.
- Terry Pratchett noted in Wyrd Sisters that the hardest part of Time Travel is finding a laboratory opposite a fashion store that would keep the same dummy in its window for years (parodying The Film of the Book The Time Machine (1960)).
- In Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet, Nan gawps out of the same window onto the garden, which quickly shuffles through all the seasons.
- Scrooge's visit to the past in A Christmas Carol is a very broad version of this, but the moment when he witnesses his childhood passing in moments is most explicit.
- Happens in A Darkling Plain, when Shrike goes into hibernation and watches Tom and Hester decompose.
- Stargate SG-1's final episode used one of these to reflect the passing of 20 years of the marooned crew of the Odyssey.
- Used on The Amazing Race when teams are sitting around, waiting for something to open.
- Kamen Rider Kiva is set both in the '80s and the present, and invokes this trope often - one notable scene has a wall in a cafe, decorated with commemorative annual plates, which suddenly multiply till they cover half the wall as the story shifts to the present.
- Battlestar Galactica does it twice. First one is near the end of "Lay Down Your Burdens". After hearing the news of Cloud 9's destruction, President Baltar wearily puts his head over the table and the camera slowly closes up while a song begins to play. Suddenly, there is light coming in from the windows and the camera pans back to reveal that a year has passed and Colonial One is grounded on New Caprica.
- The second one is after the Fleet settles on our Earth. The shot shows Hera wandering around in an African grassland. She looks up and the camera pans to show a variety of landscapes while the aforementioned music plays. The sequence ends in modern-day New York City and it is revealed that 150,000 years have passed.
- Happened on The X-Files when Mulder or Scully used Bat Signal to contact Mulder's Mysterious Informants. They had to wait for them to come and time passing was shown by them killing time, for example playing with a basketball or having a nap on a sofa.
- In a "Groundhog Day" Loop episode called "Monday" the repetitions started in Mulder's hallway when a paperboy was delivering newspapers.
- A Codename: Kids Next Door ep ("AWARDS") spoofs the Spinning Clock Hands version, where the spinning clock hands turns out to be just Numbuh 4 playing with his watch.
- Spoofed in Hey Arnold!, albeit as only a Time-Compression Montage, with an episode showing Stinky growing a pumpkin.
- Spoofed in South Park, when Cartman injures himself by attempting to fly off a roof, and is taken to the hospital to recuperate. A voiceover sings, melodramatically: "Seasons change / time passes by / As the weeks become the months become the years...", and when the camera returns to his hospital bed, the doctor informs Cartman that only two days have passed and removes a beard-like face warmer from his face.
- In the pilot episode of Futurama, New York City is destroyed by aliens twice during the 1000-year time period shown in the montage.
- Used to soul crushing effect in "Jurassic Bark", where Fry's dog is seen waiting for him on the curb outside his old workplace for 15 or so years, until he lies down and dies.
- Both of these were among the things nodded to in The Movie Bender's Big Score. Both times, a time-traveling Bender was responsible. It also shows that the dog was being watched after by an alternate Fry, making it something of a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when you realize the dog was treated right after all.
- Also used breathtakingly in the climax of The Late Philip J. Fry when Fry, Bender and the professor witness the end and beginning of the universe.
- Spoofed in The Simpsons, in a parody of 101 Dalmatians. The family watches as a dog gives birth to Santa's Little Helper's puppies: "22, 23, 24..." [montage] "...25!".
- There are two examples in "The Springfield Files", a parody of The X-Files. When Scully taps Homer's knee for reflex in a lab, his knee moves one hour later as was evidenced by moving clock hands and Mulder's emptied coffee cups. Then when Scully decides the case is the most irritating one ever and that they should leave, Mulder agrees, but he apparently rambles on for hours about the paranormal because the sky changes from day to night.
- Parodied in Rugrats in which we view a street apparently cycling through various seasons with rain, snow, sunshine and so on. Then a character comments on the crazy weather they've had this week.