Why Hitchcock?

Watching any good filmmaker involves living through and with their work, and very few directors enrich, succor, reveal, and create life as much as Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s brilliance is birthed from his style, what he calls “pure cinema.” His maximization of the potential of each shot, edit, image, sound effect, musical cue, and performance to tell his story in a visual, not literary manner, allows him to make his characters’ thoughts, struggles, feelings, and life “felt” instead of “analyzed” (Robin Wood). His direction links us to his characters’ souls; you see the world as they do for a shot, a scene, or a movie. And in seeing the world through their eyes, you find yourself in the world.

– Akash Shetye

Alfred Hitchcock’s fingerprints are all over modern cinema – and in the best way. Because of this man’s innovative achievements and compelling storytelling, all of which are never without that distinctive Hitchcockian flair, several of cinema’s enduring masterpieces have been born. Hitchcock and his team layered their stories with psychological complexity and thematic motivation with a kind of unprecedented artistry, both working within the limits of different studio systems as well as stretching to see what new ground could be broken. He is a figure whose centrality to the practice of auteur theory in cinema is no accident. So you ask why Hitchcock? Because there’s nobody quite like him in cinema history, nor would cinema history be quite the same without the Master of Suspense.

– Ellery LeSueur

Francois Truffaut once said that Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock are the only two masters in the cinematic history of the United Kingdom. Hitchcock has earned himself the name “master of suspense” because of his impeccable suspense films. Nevertheless, the witty director, who is often regarded as an entertainer, deserves to be looked on more seriously as an avant-garde artist in cinema and a profound philosopher. He has conducted innumerable experiments and introduced incalculable innovative ideas to look into humanity’s complexity in his works. He demonstrated the power of “pure cinema” in Rear Window; challenged the technical impossible with Rope; inspired the James Bond series with North by Northwest and the “slasher films” with Psycho; and examined closely the issues of sexuality and violence in Frenzy. Hitchcock is not just a “master of suspense”, he is a “master of cinema”.

– Qi Wu

My love for cinema has been blossoming since childhood. But when I discovered the quintessential classics of Old Hollywood, it exploded it into a thirst of cinematic storytelling and techniques. In this quest for cinema par excellence, I found that Hitchchock’s movies resonated with me in a profoundly deep manner. His singularly fascinating plots like Strangers on the Train or Rope, his exploration of human desires in Vertigo and Rear Window and most importantly his command and control over the cinematic medium blew me away. Even before reading a single line from critics about his craft, I knew I was witnessing work of a genius. As I examine his movies(again) I want to explore his understanding of cinematic space.

– Vemana Madasu

There are few directors who are able to give to you their eyes. Who are able to grant you the little truths and distortions that they perceive in the world around them. Hitchcock is one who can, and he does so masterfully. Hitchcock perceives the frame, not just the way things look in a shot, but the connotations and biases we put on what we witness. The closeups in Vertigo, the red flashes in Rear Window, the ball room in Shadow of a Doubt, Hitchcock’s gives the truth of pure cinema,  mixed with the embellishments of a living glare. The frame is the difference between past and history, truth and perception, and it is what separates Hitchcock from the rest. One also sees in Hitchcock’s films the sharp points of his worldview. The police, the mob, the traumatized; every case is familiar in general, yet new and surprising in the particular. This is why I love Hitchcock, he shows the frame, both the one he sees, and the one that sorrounds him.

– Benton Madsen


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