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Dear Mark -- It seems as if you and your student are talking about an iris,
a common silent film effect used to end scenes, films, elide time/space, etc.
Most recenlty it was used in DON JUAN DE MARCO, and is often invoked self-
consciously in films of a nostalgic vein (see THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, for
example).  Is this what you meant?  Nina Leibman
 
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