A vignette is a brief but powerful scene. A good vignette leaves you wanting more.
Over the centuries a vignette has taken on different forms. Originally it was one of those small sketches you find in the front of old books, often with decorative bands of ivy around its edges (the word comes from the French vigne for vineyard). When cinema came along, a vignette became a quick portrait in film of a character. Some films, like Robert Altman's Short Cuts, are essentially just a compilation of individual vignettes.