I’m going to have a hard time disproving Ebert here so I won’t even try. I think the notion of that moving right is forward and favorable and left is in the past and less so is true in almost everything we do. A clock rotates to the right and moves forward, trends that are positive are described and moving up and to the right. I think that is true for most things with the exception of politics maybe (ha-ha, couldn’t resist). The foreground being stronger than the background is a logical concept to me. I recall being an art classes in high school and doing an exercise with the images like the one below.
The teacher asked is what images we saw and always everyone said the vase. One of the brilliant creative kids must have realized there was a face in the background as well. That blew our minds. But it validates the point that people tend to focus on the foreground first.
Ebert’s statement that diagonals in composition convey movement is an interesting point I never thought about. The video I watched about Camera angles and shooting techniques mentioned that action sequences were often shot at weird angles. I assume that creates more diagonal lines and odd angles. Additionally filming at an odd angle produces depth and makes the image look more 3D.
Another point Ebert made about filming at a vantage point above the character’s eyes, reduces him and shooting below his eyes, enhances him. The Camera angles and shooting techniques mentioned something very similar that reinforced that concept and Tarrantino did as well. In fact, many to the key scenes in Tarrantino’s movies were filmed from below. It makes the characters seem larger than life.
The other key point discussed in the Camera angles video was how camera angles combined with stunts can really enhance an action sequence. Switching angles midway through the scenes produces the illusion of movement an always keeps the viewer guessing. Additionally, the video described how some camera tricks like filming from a different angle can make it look like the person is climbing when they are not.