Cinema and the eye: a portfolio

What is the relationship between the viewer and the eye on screen? Why are we so psychologically sensitive to images of the eye? Because we are watching?

Joel Bocko started a meme with Stephen of Checking My Sausages inviting us to compile images that celebrate the thrill of cinema. Participants in the meme include Jason Bellamy, Sheila O'Malley, and Andrew of Gateway Cinephiles, who kindly tagged me.

Here's my contribution.

Lastly, the meme obliges me to tag five fellow bloggers: Craig, Hokahey, Nathaniel, Kelli, and Dr. K are all invited.


Jason Bellamy said…
Eye can't put my finger on the theme.

Kevin J. Olson said…
Agreed, eyes in cinema are fascinating. I did the same thing on my blog for this meme...only I did it with a horror twist.
Joel Bocko said…
Interesting that even without explicitly making it about violence, so many of FilmDr's eye-shots are at lest unsettling, if not downright bloody. There's something almost reflexive about cinema eye violence, as if it's rubbing it in the viewer's face, threatening the very tool which is helping them see the picture.

Sadly, none of the people going with an eye theme yet have used the title "The Eyes Have It"! Where are all the bad punsters?
Thanks, Jason. I was thinking that ears (as in Blue Velvet) and noses (as in Chinatown) would also make good themes.

Yes, Kevin. I just checked it out. Good thing your post is sufficiently different from mine.

"The Eyes Have It" did occur to me, Joel, but I restrained myself. I like the way both Hitchcock's and Kubrick's work have a tendency to emphasize the eyes, as if the celebration of and the threat to the gaze was an implicit part of their craft.
Richard Bellamy said…
Well done. Nice to see that image from Lord of the Flies. Yes, what is the thing of about eyes - all those close-ups of eyes - Vertigo, Resident Evil, Vanilla Sky - to name a variety. Cinema is all about seeing.
Castor said…
Very interesting post and amazing pictures. However, why so much focus on the disturbing or the violent? Eyes are so communicative and expressive even when communicating the most common feelings and mood.
Thanks, Hokahey. I liked the way I could have kept going with this theme indefinitely.

Thanks, Castor. You are right. I didn't really think so much about the disturbing aspects in part because several of these images are from such iconic films. Richard Kelly has grotesque eye imagery in Donnie Darko and Southland Tales showing an influence that one can trace back to Chinatown. Battleship Potemkin's image of a woman shot in the glasses sets up Straw Dogs and Lord of the Flies. The images are violent but they form part of a prestigious and influential tradition.
Stephen said…
Very good choice and very creepy images. The eye I suppose is the most vulnerable spot, and a window into the soul. That is why an extreme close up of an eye is often violent.

Where is the image of the hand coming out of the eye from? I recognise it but can't place it.
Thanks, Stephen. The hand in the eye image comes from the promotional campaign for Jessica Alba's The Eye (2008), a movie that was so bad, I couldn't bring myself to review it, but I do like the image.
Stephen said…
I see.Thanks.

Sorry for responding so late.