Monday, November 24, 2008

Hitchcock Revisited

This past weekend I decided to revisit some Hitchcock movies. Vertigo is not one of my favourites, but from all the screenings I watched, this was the scene that impressed me most in terms of cinema studies.
Almost in the beginning, there is this sequence when the character of James Stewart follows Kim Novak to a museum and observes her watching a painting of woman that her husband believes is (espiritual) haunting her. The scene starts with a large, fix plan, where we can see the character of James Stewart entering in the museum. We are following his point of view, or at least the camera is pointed so the viewer can see what is happening in his perspective. A lot of attention is given to the shadows and the lights… And before the camera shows us what is important in that room, we can have a total perspective of the set.
When the detective discovers the women he is following, the camera slides between plans:
Stewart’s face - Novak’s back of the head - The flowers in the chair – The flowers in the painting.
A close up to the flowers takes any doubt that they are the same ones in the chair, and then the camera cuts again to Stewart’s face, and his expression is all that the viewer needs to know that he is about to fall in the trap. Through his point of view, the camera does a close up to Novak’s hair, and then again slides to the hair of the woman in the painting.
James Stewart gets out of the museum, confused with the things he saw, and Novak stays in the same place, observing the painting of Carlota, like if herself is a part of the exhibition. There are a lot of mise-en-scene elements that can be talked in this scene, but I think the most important (not only in this sequence but in all movie) are the flowers. Every time flowers are shown: natural flowers, bouquets, curtains with flowers, flowers in paintings, etc… They have a meaning... They represent the lies and manipulation, like in this scene, where a theatre part is set up to make Stewart believes that what his friend said is the true.


Coristinha said...


Jessica Mac said...

damn, i've been meaning to watch vertigo. and his movies are pretty great, i wanna have a marathon now!

Le créneau du cinéma said...

Nice blog; worry to not follow it, but add on my blogroll.
I'm a great fan of Hitchkock

Anonymous said...

are you studying cinema?