78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene

"Captivating, enthralling, irreverent, ingenious." Variety

Showing Times

Mon 20 Nov 15:00
Tue 21 Nov 20:50
Thu 23 Nov 18:30

Try to imagine a time when the Hayes Code had kept s-s-s-sex off the big screen for decades, foregrounding instead Mom, Country and Apple Pie. Into this puritanical lock-down Hitchcock lobbed his hand grenade of a film, Psycho. This context helps to appreciate its incendiary impact, but the shower scene's 78 camera set ups and 58 cuts/edits (geddit?) are still viscerally shocking, and the movie sounded the death knell of many cultural mores.

Director Alexandre O Phillipe's interviews range from the scholarly through to pop culture, from Guillermo del Toro to the 'victim's' daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, but the film really comes to life on the subject of the psycho-sexual perversity of Hitchcock.  And Phillipe's micro-dissection of those 58 seconds - What was that painting on the bedroom wall? Which melon did they use to get the precise sound of the stabbing? Why does this scene still matter? - only enhances its impact, which is no mean feat.  Slant  magazine says: "An intimate yet chilly simulation of a killing in a seamy motel came to symbolize the unspoken tensions of America, anticipating their explosion and even their subsequent re-suppression. In his transcendently obsessive doggedness, Philippe understands Psycho as a work of both genius and serendipity."  'Nuff said, see it.  Cut!


Film Information

92 mins

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