Literally translating to “film tear”, this German word takes inspiration from before the age of digital cinema, when a roll of film ripping or tearing in some way would cause the movie to stop playing, leaving the screen temporarily black.
The word has remained in modern usage to describe a gap in memory or a ‘mental blank’, and relates nicely to another German word, ‘das Kopfkino’ (literally ‘head cinema’), used to describe the act of playing out scenarios and images in the mind.
READ ALSO: German word of the day – Das Kopfkino
So while the world of cinema has since advanced in terms of technology, humans can still experience a temporary ‘blackout’ or missing moments in their ‘head cinema’, most typically on weekends after one too many drinks, or perhaps more frequently for any of us with generally bad memories.
Heute habe ich so einen Filmriss wegen gestern Abend. Ich habe viel zu viel getrunken.
I've got real gaps in my memory from last night. I had far too much to drink.
Ich war am Samstag Abend in dieser echt coolen Bar, aber jetzt habe ich einen Filmriss wegen der Name.
I went to this really cool bar on Saturday night, but now the name has completely escaped me.
Ich habe einen Filmriss und kann mich an nichts erinnern.
I've got a mental black out and I can’t remember a thing.