You’re not a big name director unless you got some gimmicky trademark. Here’s a few famous captains of cinema who have either visually inserted something into their films, or done something cute with the camera as a physical symbol of recognition. Tarantino – foot fetish. John Woo – doves. Micheal Bay -360 shots. Scorsese -camera squeeze. Do these kinds artistic signatures hold any relevance to their films? Some yes, some no. Tarantino loves feet (doesn’t everybody?), nothing more to it than that. But it the case of someone like Steven Spielberg, his particular artistic stamp visually expresses a characters “oh shit” moment, where words would otherwise fail. I’m referring to The Spielberg Face. I don’t want to make the glass shatter on you or anything, but if you haven’t noticed by now, Spielberg has a thing for faces. If there is a significant moment in a film, he’ll zoom into a character(s) face while they give a thousand-mile, doe-eyed, stare. That awestruck moment is something the character, or us the audience, will never forget. Now, I would leave it at that, but our cinemaphile friends Fandor have a new 10-minute video essay on the subject:
“If there is one recurring image that defines the cinema of Steven Spielberg, it is The Spielberg Face. Eyes open, staring in wordless wonder in a moment where time stands still. But above all, a child-like surrender in the act of watching, both theirs and ours. It’s as if their total submission to what they are seeing mirrors our own.”
Over the course of 10 minutes, writer and producer Kevin B. Lee explores the full depth of this gaze technique. It’s a well thought out, well articulated, examination at what has helped defined Spielberg’s nearly 40-year career as a director.
Check it out below: