Showing Seeing in Film

Authors: , , ,


In this paper, we describe two film conventions for representing what a character sees: point of view (POV) and sight link. On a POV interpretation, the viewpoint of a shot represents the viewpoint of a particular character; while in sight link, a shot of a character looking off-screen is associated with a shot of what they are looking at. Our account of both treats them as spatial in nature, and relates them to similar spatial interpretative principles that generalize beyond character eyelines. We additionally observe that whether the object shot in a sight link takes a POV interpretation depends on whether the glance shot precedes or follows it. We offer a processing account of this effect of order on interpretation, which relies on the assumption that spatial coherence in film is established by incremental viewpoint grounding.


How to Cite: Cumming, S. , Greenberg, G. , Kaiser, E. & Kelly, R. (2021) “Showing Seeing in Film”, Ergo. 7(0). doi: