Friday, October 29, 2010

Because its almost Halloween

Enjoy this Psycho remake/mashup.
Look out for the original in bottom right and Gus Van Sant's remake in top left.

And check out Psycho the way its meant to be seen at Film Forum this weekend through November 4th!

Hitchcock was constantly finding ways to test the production code enforcers of the day, and Psycho is chocked full of "questionable" material: Marion in lingerie, a nude shower scene...

Even flushing a toilet (seen frequently in the clips above) was controversial in films of the day. According to Hitch's writer Joseph Stefano, "A toilet had never been seen on-screen before, let alone flushing it. I thought if I could begin to unhinge audiences by showing a toilet flushing -- we all suffer from peccadilloes from toilet procedures -- they'd be so out of it by the time of the shower murder, it would be an absolute killer."*

Sure enough, the censors objected to this scene and Marion in her lingerie, and the nudity in the shower scene, but Hitchcock hatched elaborate bluffs and schemes manipulating them to approve the footage. But that's another blog post! One more thing about the significance of this bathroom scene, Film theorist Slavoj Zizek does a great piece about the significance of toilets and drains in a close reading of Psycho and The Conversation, in his great film The Perverts Guide to Cinema.

If you do plan on checking this out at Film Forum (and you should!) Here's something to keep in mind while the lights go out:

Back in the day (1960 that is) Hitchcock went awsomely overboard hyping the release of this movie, restricting critics from advance showings so nothing could be given away, and instructing theaters with strict directions:

"Close your house curtains over the screen after the end-titles of the picture, and keep the theater dark for half a minute. During these thirty seconds of stygian blackness, the suspense of Psycho is indelibly engraved in the mind of the audience, later to be discussed among gaping friends and relations. You will then bring up houselights of a greenish hue, and shine spotlights of this ominous he across the faces of your departing patrons."*

*These quotes and anecdotes are from "Alfred Hitchock: A Life in Darkness and Light" by Patrick McGilligan, 2003.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New York Film Fest Funfest Fest

The New York Film Festival is, as they say in the biz, 'on and popping', and you know the TCP had get a piece of the action. Actually deciding what to see was quite an ordeal, which is another story in itself. We settled on Of Gods and Men, this year's Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes.

There's nothing really to say about OGAM that's not covered in the synopsis. True story, very serious, subtitles. But what I will say is that the new Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center is, to borrow another phrase from the biz, 'the shizznat'. Franco-Christian Monks filing paperwork never sounded so good.