Alfred Hitchcock's Use of Eyes Becomes the Subject of This Excellent Video Essay
If eyes are the windows to the soul, then watching a Hitchcock film must be downright spiritual. Video essayist kogonada has culled a bunch of scenes from the work of Alfred Hitchcock to examine how the legendary director paid special attention to eyes in his films.
We love the video essays of kogonada, from his studies on neorealism to the use of hands in the films of Robert Bresson, and this one is no different. He manages to include such a wide variety of Hitchcock's films, as well as all of the iconic shots of eyes, like Jimmy Stuart's in Vertigo and Anthony Perkins' in Psycho.
So, Hitchcock likes eyes. So what? Why does any of this matter? Well, eyes are not only objects that can be peered into; they can also peer out. Eyes can be voyeuristic and voyeurism is a theme Hitchcock used constantly in his films (Rear Window, Psycho). And of course, eyes have an incredible capacity for relaying emotional messages. The viewer is constantly aware of where the eyes are looking, what they're looking at, and what emotion they're feeling while they're doing it. Essentially, Hitchcock mastered telling stories narratively and spacially, using eyes and eyelines -- so if you need a damn good teacher to show you how to do it to create suspense/tension/anticipation/etc., he'd be the one. (If you have time, you should definitely check out this study of Hitchcock's use of eyes as well.)
Source: Criterion Collection