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terça-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2015

Review: ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’ Revisits the Master of Suspense

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François Truffaut, left, and Alfred Hitchcock in a scene from the Kent Jones film “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which revisits their 1962 interview. CreditPhilippe Halsman/Cohen Media Group
“Psycho” (1960) was the first film I saw in a movie theater, an experience that my 7-year-old self was ill-equipped to parse. Surrounded by jittery adults, I puzzled over everything, and not just the frantic screaming that mimickedBernard Herrmann’s devilishly clever musical cues. Why, I wondered, was Janet Leigh wandering around in her bra in the middle of the afternoon?
That juxtaposing of sex and terror was as essential to Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic style as his meticulous deployment of icy blond actresses. Disappointingly, Kent Jones’s documentary “Hitchcock/Truffaut” — though not nearly as dry as its title — barely tickles Hitchcock’s fascinating fetishes. Despite a promising nod to the brilliant perversions of “Marnie” and “Vertigo” (which few can deny is one terrifically sick movie), Mr. Jones remains rigidly focused on hammering home the director François Truffaut’s motivation for writing the 1966 book on which this film is based: To lead Hitchcock, then widely considered a mere commercial entertainer, out of the shoals of populism and into the cineaste spotlight. Truffaut knew that hindsight was better than no sight at all.
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Hitchcock/Truffaut Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Wes Anderson, Olivier Assayas Movie HD Video by Movieclips
Just as a snooty reader might be enticed to the novels of Stephen King by a thumbs-up from The New York Review of Books, movie buffs were likely to view Truffaut’s enthusiasm for Hitchcock as a sufficient entree to their discerning fold. But the book, an engrossing record of Truffaut’s dayslong interview with his idol in 1962, did more than just reposition its subject’s reputation. It also provided riveting insight into the art and craft of moviemaking, revealing Hitchcock’s mastery of time and space and his unwavering preference, honed by his period of making silent movies, for image over dialogue.
Curating a selection of the original interview recordings (whose sound quality is damn near pristine), Mr. Jones fashions an unfaltering encomium that’s entirely free of the highfalutin monologues that might deter noncinephiles. Bob Balaban’s intermittent narration is soft and unintrusive, and a chorus of lauded directors, mostly American and all male (I can’t help thinking that a woman might have dug deeper into the significant contributions of Hitchcock’s wife and collaborator, Alma Reville), chime in with acuity and ardor.
What they don’t do is show how their own movies might have been influenced by Hitchcock’s technique, which Mr. Jones lovingly illustrates in dissections of a few of the master’s most memorable scenes. Though merely a tasting menu, these moments add jolts of pulpy fun and allow their creator to speak for himself. The man who embraced many of the characteristics that movie snobs love to denigrate — his genre; his prolific output (at the time of the interview, he was just completing his 48th film); the constraints of the studio system — is finally his own best argument for the happy coexistence of art and entertainment.
“Hitchcock/Truffaut” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Have you seen ‘Psycho’? Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes.

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