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Grammar of the Shot, 2nd Edition by Christopher J. Bowen, Roy Thompson

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The Line—Basis for Screen Direction

Not all screen direction is based on large, physical movements. A good deal of important narrative information and spatial relationship data can be discerned by the viewing audience just through their observation of the directions of attention. Most often, each subject within the film space pays attention to some other subject or object within the same film space. The child looks after a lost balloon (Figure 4.6)—the dog looks at the burglar (Figure 4.7)—the hungry man looks at the pie in the baker’s window (Figure 4.8). The audience is keen on observing these attentions and, as a result, uses these connections between people and people, people and objects, and so on to establish lines of direction, which are ...

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