See the moving picture


Through the Reading Glass

Grandma’s Reading Glass

G. A. Smith, Great Britain, 1900

Each time that Willy applies his grandmother’s reading glass to an object in the room—first the bird cage (1) and then the kitten in Grandma’s lap (3)—the next shot depicts the object as it’s seen from his point of view. Thus we get masked closeups of the bird cage (2), the kitten (4), the back of an open pocket watch (5), and, finally, Grandma’s eye (6). The use of the mask to demarcate the object seen from a character’s point of view indicates the desire to show what the cinema can do, not to articulate point of view as an aspect of narrative. For the same reason, because the masked image is qualitatively distinct from the images that compose the film proper, it eliminates any possibility of the camera’s entering the scene to narrate all of its components.

Back to CHAPTER 5/Part 1