Film critic, distributor and filmmaker Kevin B. Lee of Fandor has created a video essay, The Spielberg Face, which analyzes what he considers to be the signature technique of Steven Spielberg: the wide-eyed close-up of a face.
Excerpts from the essay’s transcript:
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.
The face tells us that a monumental event is happening; in doing so, it also tells us how we should feel. If Spielberg deserves to be called a master of audience manipulation, then this is his signature stroke. You can’t think of the most iconic moments in Spielberg’s cinema without The Spielberg Face.