Lateral Character Movement

Now You See It compiled a video essay that tries to settle, once and for all, a notion that has long been widely accepted among filmmakers: that there is a difference in connotation between the two possible directions of lateral movement (from left to right or the other way around). Left to right movement is thought to be more natural, more positive, more future oriented and progressive than movement that goes in the other direction. Often, this preference is explained from a cultural point of view, since that is also the direction we westerners read and write in. But (anecdotal) evidence from film critic Roger Ebert suggests that even non-western cinema uses these same conventions.


Empirical university tests now confirm this theory, and the Now You See It team has fashioned that information into this video essay. The result is a short and snappy film lesson that boils down the scientific study to its essentials and even re-enacts the actual test to illustrate its point.