I think if I were a budding film buff, this would be one of theessential movies in my collection. I even remember when I was about13/14 years old when the Starz channel had some made-for-TV doc in thelate 90's about Hitchcock (it featured Bogdanovich saying the exactsame words, I can remember them it's that clear, about Psycho as hedoes in this doc, plus De Palma, who isn't here perhaps as it'd be tooobvious), but it has the bonus of being about this book and what thatwas all about: understanding film grammar and an artist's worldview.What is that worldview? Cinema, and pure cinema, as much as possible,even when it doesn't make sense. Actually Hitchcock addresses that inone of the audio excerpts that were recorded for the book: "logic isdull." It's all talking heads, but that's fine as well - while I mighthave liked a little more of the tension between the two directorselaborated on (I may also have more insight from reading a biography onHitchcock where the whole Truffaut book interview) where at times thiswas more probing and uncomfortable on Hitchcock's part, it still works- because this is made for two audiences: those who know a lot aboutHitchcock, and those who may be more casual, like only seen Psycho orVertigo or North by Northwest at best. Or for young people who may betold about Hitchcock or that something is Hitchcockian, to come acrossthis is an excellent little film seminar, if not film school, which hasthe wise choice of showing clips from most of the major Hitchcocks, butalso the silents (a piece on Easy Virtue is wonderful, as well asextolling a few of the really pure cinematic moments of Topaz).<br><br>But what is "pure" cinema in the Hitchcock sense? Not having to explainmuch, not even having to rely on the usual exposition-logic that bogsfilms down sometimes, especially in modern cinema. For Hitchcock a wayof elevating a thriller or simple suspense picture or a movie about aman stabbing a woman in a shower to something close to poetry is aboutmanipulating time. While becoming a master of manipulating time andspace (and space being something taken for granted by filmmakers, hereit's emphasized several times and for good reason), it comes down to amixture of... knowing the most effective ways to tell the story, toknow more-so what *not* to show than what to do, having your actorsproperly know what they're doing and bring an emotional dimension thatthe director can't bring (which could bring conflict with a guy likeMontgomery Clift), and having the ability to bring the personal intothe commercial.<br><br>While one can certainly say with good reason "well, just go read thebook", I think Kent Jones' aim is to make clear how much of a globalimpact, from movie lords like Scorsese and Fincher and Linklater to theFrench (Assayas and Desplain) to Kiyoshi Kurosawa, this man had oncinema, and that the book was a force for real change and reevaluationof what cinema meant to the art form. There's the temptation atdifferent times, depending on how one looks at his career, to say thatHItchcock got too much attention and also not enough, which is whatTruffaut did as being simply a gigantic fan himself. So it makes sensethat the highlights of the doc are long looks at Vertigo (how Scorsesebreaks down individual sequences would make this a recommendation forme alone) and Psycho, and how the power of the film came and stillcomes from what Hitchcock does to his audience's expectations: "I'm notgoing to give you what you want, I'm going to give you something else."In about 80 minutes I got what I wanted and hoped for: a fun and lovingtribute to a man's career through another artist's work (Truffaut getsa little time as well via 400 Blows and Jules & Jim), though it's notwithout a few little touches of self-doubt (what if he had done *more*experimentation, not stuck in the thriller genre his whole career). Ionly wish it was longer.
In 1962 Hitchcock and Truffaut locked themselves away in Hollywood for a week to excavate the secrets behind the mise-en-scène in cinema. Based on the original recordings of this meeting-used to produce the mythical book Hitchcock/Truffaut-this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and plummets us into the world of the creator of Psycho, The Birds, and Vertigo. Hitchcock's incredibly modern art is elucidated and explained by today's leading filmmakers: Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Arnaud Desplechin, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader.
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