At around 1’42” in this clip from 2001 A Space Odysssey there is an edit between a flying bone and a flying spaceship.
Many people will argue that this is the “best edit in the world”. I cannot see how that can be judged however it is certainly up there as one of the most famous.
Other people may frown and ask “Why is this so good?”
When you watch the cut, the actual edit is rather clumsy – it jars the eye, however the point is not that the edit is amazing in the technical sense – the point is what the edit represents in terms of the Eisensteinian sense of montage – what do the two shots added together create?
It is generally accepted that what happens in the infinitely small time that occurs between the shot of the bone flying and the spaceship, is the small matter of The Entire History Of Man; from man’s first weapon to the apex of man’s ambition (to conquer space). So in between these two moments lies everything from prehistoric times through world wars to the nuclear and space age. Essentially – Man’s Folly – his ambition to conquer and fight. Everything.
Watch it again with this in mind and it becomes quite moment and you can see why perhaps it has been called the most audacious edit ever made.