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Eyes and Narrative Perspective On Story: A Practice-led Exploration of the Use of Eyes and Eye lines in Fiction Film.

Knudsen, E., 2014. Eyes and Narrative Perspective On Story: A Practice-led Exploration of the Use of Eyes and Eye lines in Fiction Film. Journal of Media Practice, 15 (1), 3-20.

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Eyes and Narrative Perspectives on Story (Draft II FINAL).pdf - Accepted Version


DOI: 10.1080/14682753.2014.892798


Eyes and eye lines are one of the key ways in which the perspective on a story is established in figurative narrative fiction cinema. As such, the eyes and the use of eyes by a performer needs as much creative and technical attention as shot composition, sound, production design and editing. Rather than thinking of the eyes of a performer as a subservient aspect of a projected performance, often driven by the dominance of dialogue-action delivery, this paper seeks to examine how, in fictional cinematic expression, eyes can be deployed to enhance an introspective and transcendent narrative perspective on a story. This exploration takes place through practice. In particular, during the creation of my latest feature film, The Raven On The Jetty (Erik Knudsen, UK 2014), in which I sought to explore how to enhance the relationship between eyes, eye lines and narrative perspective on story. In reflecting on these issues, I shall look at what is meant by narrative perspective and relate this not only to the performativity of a fiction film, but also to the relationship of this performativity to emotions and feelings. I shall then look at eyes: first looking at their behavioural importance, then at looking and seeing. I hope to show that we can think of eyes not merely as a part of an actor’s performance, but also as a window through which we can see a world whose presence is untouchable. I aim to argue that looks and eye lines are as effective as any other cinematic tool in establishing actions, re-actions, space, time, intentions and revelations and to illustrate how I have sought to challenge certain understandings and approaches to the use of eyes to add a different perspective on a story. I write this paper primarily from the perspective of a filmmaker, as opposed to a film scholar, and therefore while acknowledging the considerable theoretical work done by film theorists such as Vivian Sobchack (on phenomenological semiotics[1]), Stephen Heath (on narrative space[2]), Edward Branigan (on point of view[3]) and Tom Brown (on breaking the fourth wall[4]), not to speak of the extensive debates taking place on Catherine Grant’s Film Studies for Free Blog[5], this paper is a subjective and reflexive exploration that seeks to reveal a creative thought process in action, in contrast to a scholarly examination of the cultural theory around film language or film form. Finally, I shall very briefly summarise some of my key findings in a conclusion.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:film ; filmmaking ; story ; narrative ; transcendental realism ; eyes ; eye lines
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:21854
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 Apr 2015 10:33
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:51


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