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3.4
86 Ratings

78/52

Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe
United States, 2017
Documentary

Synopsis

This is an unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the “man behind the curtain,” and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

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78/52 Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe
The result is a semester or two’s worth of film theory packed into an hour and a half of expertly paired imagery and insights. However, like the praise heaped on this documentary, the interviewees’ adulation for Psycho and its most famous scene borders on hyperbole. No one dares to dispute the film’s greatness and impact, and only one lobs a complaint: the killer’s head, bewigged and shadowed during the slashing, looks too much like a mushroom. Nevertheless, Philippe’s geekiness is infectious.
November 09, 2017
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Shot in black and white and generous in its use of clips from “Psycho” and other movies, “78/52” looks at virtually every aspect of the shower scene—including the staging, the production design, the music and sound effects, the camera work, Saul Bass’ storyboards, etc.—and marvels at how brilliantly integrated they were. The word “genius” is heard more than once, and the more the film shows us, the less even hardened skeptics will be likely to demur.
October 13, 2017
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Phillipe dissects a classic without embalming it, then, which is a significant achievement of visual-essay criticism. The filmmaker highlights the primordial savagery of Hitchcock’s sounds and images, parsing their origins and resonances while acknowledging their ultimate bottomlessness… In his transcendently obsessive doggedness, Philippe understands Psycho as a work of both genius and serendipity.
October 12, 2017
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