‘From a Distant Gaze’ – Film Technique

The 1964 short film, ‘From a Distant Glaze’ (directed by Jean Ravel, picture by Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, words by Louis Aragon, narrated by Jean Negroni and music by Michel Legrand) observes publics going about their general business in a busy, city environment.


The opening scene establishes an observational feel to the film with extreme close ups and close up camera shots amongst bustling streets. The camera intimately follows subjects through these congested, urban spaces. Narration enters shortly into the film – giving the camera technique substance and provides the film with an existential notion. We then know that it is the narrator’s observation and that he is focusing on individuals in the street. Effectively, the voice over foreshadows what is to be seen and determines the film’s theme.


The camerawork used throughout the film directs the viewer to certain items or a particular person seen on the street through swift camera movements. The camera technique used to do this is often a pan across, a pan upward or an extreme close up. Ultimately, the camera technique is important to the overall film as it gives the film an observation touch as well as insight into what the film is about.