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"Rear Window" - Screening @ deciBel

Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds and North by NorthWest are usually the first titles to burst out of people’s mouth when mentioning the name Alfred Hitchcock.

Loved by the public and initially snubbed by the critics (he never won an Oscar as a director), over the years he has become one of the most loved, respected and studied directors of all time;  his films are often seen as guides to making thrillers, crime and suspense films. He is the only director in the history of cinema to have 18 titles listed in the collection ‘1001 movies you must see before you die’.

In 2012, for the first time in 50 years, Citizen Kane was knocked off the number one podium of the best film of all time and it was replaced by Vertigo.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Hollywood still wants to suck out as much as possible from the Hitch. The remakes of Psycho, Dial M for Murder and Rear Window had poor results both at the box office and with the critics. Unable to reproduce his films, it seems that Hollywood has taken a nasty turn, when in 2012, The Girl and Hitchcock were released. The two films aim to recount the making of The Birds and Psycho respectively, however they appear more focused on exploiting Hitchcock as a person by underlining his obsession with his blonde actresses and the strains of their relationships.

I believe that Hollywood fails to understand a simple concept; Hitchcock’s films are memorable not because of his peculiar personality and not even for their plots but rather because of how he shot and assembled them. He knew how to keep audiences on their toes, he knew how to use the camera to pull the viewers in wherever he wanted them to be and moreover, he knew who to work with.

If you want to understand and admire Hitchcock, just watch his films.

Rear Window will be on the big screen this Wednesday at decibel Lounge.

I consider it one of the most accomplished works by the master of suspense because of its completeness. There is everything in it, romance, suspense, comedy and, of course, voyeurism.

The opening scene takes the audience around the buildings surrounding a courtyard, the camera slowly pans across the flats and the people living in it when finally it ends at James Stewart’s one, where we find him sleeping on a wheelchair with a plaster cast on his leg. It’s a hot summer, all the windows are open and the restless Jimmie doesn’t have anything else to do to entertain himself than watch his neighbours. But, as his wisecracking insurance nurse tells him, what might have started as an innocent past time could turn into trouble.

Like any other good Peeping Tom, Jimmie Stewart becomes increasingly obsessed with what’s going on in other people’s lives until one day, he convinces himself that something mysterious and possibly dangerous must have happened to the wife of one of his neighbours.

Throughout the film, Hitch uses the subjective shot; there is no soundtrack, only the music and sounds coming from the courtyard and the flats; in this way the audience sees and hears what Stewart sees and hears from his flat. It is like the viewers are taken on a rollercoaster with the character and they are stuck there in the wheelchair with him. This works so well that often there is no dialogue but you still know what Stewart is thinking and feeling.

Grace Kelly’s performance and role add, not only the romantic flavour to the story, but also more thrill to the mystery since she becomes the accomplice of her partner’s suspicious. I really enjoyed her role since she does not simply play the sophisticated, beautiful blonde woman nice to look at but she also takes action in solving the mystery.

I have lost count of how many times I have watched Rear Window but I never get bored of it, there is not one single dull moment in this beautifully crafted piece of filmmaking.

(English and Vietnamese subtitles available)

Entrance fee: FREE


Wednesday, 16 October


deciBel | 79 Phan Kế Bính, Đa Kao, Quận 1