Playing through Wed June 8th at 6:30 & 9:15 at BAMcinématek [Program & Tix]
What can one say about The Film of Films that hasn’t been said better before?
Dave Kehr from his recently published anthology, When Movies Mattered:
The dream of Vertigo–the dream of a love that leads to death, of a beautiful illusion that gives way to nothingness–is also a dream of the movies. Which is why, perhaps, Vertigo has always meant more to filmmakers and film critics than to the general public. More so than any other of Hitchcock’s works (more so, I would say, than any other movie), Vertigo speaks of a passion for film, a passion that isn’t always a healthy one. It’s a love for the illusory and the ineffable that is also a love for the false, the blood-less, the empty.
Vertigo is, of course, an intensely personal film, but it is also—uniquely for Hitchcock, the master orchestrator of audience response—a fiercely private one. Private not in the sense that it’s meaningful only for the author, but because it assumes an isolated viewer, a spectator alone with the screen. Unlike Hitchcock’s other films, Vertigo is not a social event; it gains nothing from the mass choruses of laughs and screams that usually accompany a Hitchcock film (and Hitchcock does nothing to encourage them), and may even lose a little. The film’s address is so intimate, so hushed, that it seems barely possible the film was made for commercial exhibition. Hitchcock’s ideal audience seems to have been a spectator sitting alone in a screening room—in short, himself, but also everyone who has ever understood movies as sufficient company.
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