Category Archive for: ‘Michael Ferguson’

Hitchcock/Truffaut — Film Review


Directed by Kent Jones



This is a film for film buffs, people who stay up till two or three in the morning watching old movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, people in the movie industry, students in film schools.  It’s an insiders’ look at Alfred Hitchcock and his films.  It’s an honorific presentation of Alfred the Great, seen through the eyes of fellow directors such as Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich, David Fincher, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, Olivier Assayas, Arnaud Desplechin, Paul Shrader, and James Gray.  It is very informative about filmmaking and about conceptualizing a film from the point of view of a director, how a film or a scene is shot, one’s style as a filmmaker, the techniques of creating suspense, or visual interest, or psychological impact on a viewer.  It is amply illustrated with clips from Hitchcock’s many films.  It is not about Alfred Hitchcock as a person.  It does mention that he had a close relationship with his wife and that he consulted with her on every film that he made.  But it is not about who he was, the personal meaning his films might have had for him, his relations with actors, movie studios, etc.  It was strictly about the films and about making the films.  It is based on a book published by Franҫois Truffaut in 1967, which he later revised and expanded in 1985.  The book is a series of extended interviews that Truffaut did with Hitchcock that were an in depth exploration of his films and his techniques as a filmmaker.  The book is a classic for filmmakers and students of film.

This film wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see.  I have seen a fair number of Hitchcock’s films, but not all of them, and there were some discussed in the film that I had never heard of.  I am not a great fan of old movies and I am not interested in filmmaking.  I am a still photographer and a portrait photographer and there were some very interesting passages in the film that discussed how to frame and light a face to get a certain effect.  There was a series of portraits of Truffaut and Hitchcock taken during the interviewing process by photographer Philippe Halsman.  These were discussed including Hitchcock’s input on the posing for some of them.  I found that very interesting.  I was hoping for a more personal and psychological portrait of Hitchcock, but this was not the approach or intent of this film at all.  It was all about the work and about technique.  It was well made and well put together.  If you are a student of film, or number film among your passions, then you should not miss this.

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