Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores the cinematic gaze.


It’s truly astonishing how much information we convey with our eyes. From fluttering lids to sustained stares, a well-timed look can say more than any monologue.

Cinema seems particularly well-suited to capturing the power of the gaze. A painting or a photograph can freeze a look in time, but movies show the eye in motion. The flitting, the blinking, the widening. The dilation of a pupil, an adoring glance, or an accidental confession. Film is able to capture all those little subconscious muscle movements that let others in and give us away. More than that, as the old adage goes, eyes are a window to an ineffably human spark. They invite empathy and betray an inner life. They are, in a word, cinematic.

The montage below celebrates the power of the gaze on film. From fourth-wall-breaking stares to longing looks. From nervous glances to undaunted focus.

Watch “The Movie Gaze: A Video Essay“:


Who made this?

Netflix Film Club is exactly what it sounds like. The YouTube channel offers a hub for all things Netflix with interviews, video essays, and behind the scenes clips. You can subscribe to the channel here. The above video essay was made in collaboration with Lost In Film, a Portuguese video editor you can find on YouTube here.

More Videos Like This

  • Looking (well, staring unblinkingly like a maniac) is never a good thing in a Stanley Kubrick film
  • Sometimes, the gaze is a bad thing. Here’s Lindsay Ellis breaking down the concept of the “male gaze”
  • And the flipside: here’s how The Handmaiden tells a story through the eyes of women
  • Here’s what Portrait of a Lady on Fire can teach us about the gays. Ah! Sorry. The gaze
  • Here’s how David Fincher hijacks your eyes
  • One of the (many) things a script supervisor does is monitor actors’ eyeline. Here’s a video from Vanity Fair that breaks down what else they bring to a set
  • One of the many things that makes Sir Ian McKellen so great is that he acts with his eyes
  • Eyes are a staple of horror (just ask anyone who’s seen a Fulci film)
  • Here’s Studio Binder on what you achieve by showing (or hiding) the eyes of a character, and how the rules of composition can help you to build empathy for an antihero

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