Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Film: Psycho, 1960, Alfred Hitchcock

For the 2nd film on this unit, we watched Psycho, a film famous by its editing and how it can convey fear and discomfort.
The plot evolves around a 60's young woman, Marion Crane, played by beautiful Janet Leigh, who steals 40 000$, after she decides not to put the money in the bank. Marion runs away with the money and finds herself being tormented by her believe that everything around her is against her. When she finds herself tired in her runaway journey, She decides to stay in the Bates Hotel, and she is attended by this kindly host, Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins.
As she decides to know a bit more about her host, she gets brutally murdered by his supposed mother. This happening triggers a chain of other things to happen, a private investigator killed while looking for Miss Crane, about her crime and causing her sister and boyfriend to go and find out what really happens.

When they discover what happened, they find out Norman's true identity, a psychopath who has double personality, his and his mother in one person and who uses his mother personality to show revenge to what have happened to him as a child.
Psycho is a masterpiece in cinema, not only for its editing and camera work but also for intending but not showing, one of the main principals of Hitchcock.

The film deals with many aspects from schizophrenia, masculinity and the theory of loving our own mother, and the substitution of our own father. This is shown through beautiful shots, creating a chilling look inside the murderer's mind. the high contrast of shadows and high light, creates something expressionist and really communicative, convey the destruction of the American Dream and the idea of being trapped in his own self. Also the sense of the being in the 1st person, voyeurism are shown in the famous sequence in the shower. As it is commented by David Wood, in BBC Films Review. "it's a perfectly realised, visually rich, and chilling look at masculinity and schizophrenia that had more than a hand in redefining the role of the spectator in terms of mainstream cinema, most notably perhaps in the famous shower sequence which re-explored the nature of cinematic voyeurism. "
Also something really striking is the sound editing, in the case of, when Marion steals the money, and she is driving away, voices appear in the film, proceeding with the actions, that are not shown but beautifully intended. At first, i thought was something out of her mind, but then I realized it is used as a vehicle to show what is happening in the background story, more specifically where she stole the money.
The score by Bernard Herrmann, is one of the best examples how music can really influence a film and also produces shivers down your spine.
Enough to say everything is in place in this film, according to a review in Film4 channel, "The music, the setting, the shower scene, the mother in the cellar... everything about this iconic film has passed into cinema history."

Psycho became one of the most influential films in the history of cinema, and a target for many sequels and remakes.

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