The reception of film with a view to audiovisual translation (AVT) is a field that has been receiving more attention in the last few years. This shows a move away from product-oriented research. Nevertheless, methodologies for using eye tracking in this regard have not been established. This article presents an attempt to correlate eye-tracking data, collected from participants viewing Wallace Chafe's 1975 Pear Film, with viewer constructions of the narrative. As such, the article provides a different angle to the extensive Pear Tree Project. The findings of the experiment would seem to suggest that visually peripheral elements that play a covert, top-down role in the narrative (i.e. with a higher degree of narrative salience) gain particular narrative importance when competing with the more overt, bottom-up aspects of the narrative (with an equally high narrative salience, as well as a high visual salience).