Eva's Hollywood Blog

"This right-handed dominance appeared to be written into some secret place within us. (...) A cameraman's or a director's first impulse is to move the camera to the right or ask an actor to walk from left to right, as if that were easier and a more natural path to take."
The Secret Language of Film - Jean Claude Carriere, p.33/34

Breaking the Rules #2

As Jean-Claude Carrière does not state firm rules in his philosophical book “The secret language of Film”, but rather observes tendencies, what I want to tell you about is not exactly a broken rule, but a violation of a natural habit.

In the movie “Moonlit Night“, the opening scene shows YOUNG NATALIE, observing her FATHER while he carries away a candle and closes the eyes of her deceased mother in her deathbed. After that, she walks out of the frame to the left side, the camera pans according to her movement. Why from right to left and not from left to right, as one would be inclined to?

What we will see as the film progresses is that we have been looking at a flashback into the past. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) researchers state that a glance from right to left reminds us of the past, whereas a glance from left to right is assiciated with the future. As we tell a flashback in this scene, we reversed the action axis in order to give the audience a subtle hint of a flashback, which is explained later more thouroughly. To say goodbye to a deceased person is to remember her and also associated with the past. The shot is followed by a glance to the moon with the eyeline swithching back from left to right, because now we will continue with the future Natalie, who is grown up.

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