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Culture Wars writers take a closer look at some of Hitchcock’s key works in order to understand both his artistic methods, but also the impact these films have on the modern audiences.
As always, Hitchcock is having a field day with one of America’s sacred cows, the business world. The guy who has completely lost his soul and is completely without meaning is by far the best businessman.
The problem is that the Wheelers are an empty shell, remnants of a meaningful past of which they have no recollection. Their fight then is useless from the very outset, for it lacks any foundation.
To say that Stewart is miscast is to make him an unfair scapegoat for a script that sees him u-turn from espousing Nietzschean theories of superior beings being able to justly murder inferiors to an adoption of mainstream American values
Wong has commented that the film’s two stories are essentially the same. Motifs and images are repeated, binding the plots together. Distance, time and missed opportunities are recurring themes.
Needless to say, amidst the ever-playing piano accordion, Parisian skylines and distracting caricatures it is sometimes easy to forget the troubled times of Paris in 1936 were just as real as the recession we face today.
The film unpicks the complex dynamic in the American political system that lead both to the rise and the inevitable fall of this charismatic agent of change. It is laden with the complexity of social dynamics within modern society through its depiction of a tragic inevitability.
With the benefit of hindsight and study in a post-Hitchcock world, this tale of an everyday man thrust into a world of espionage, assumed identities and rom-com banter can be referred to and considered as part of a canon, rather than a stand-alone film.
Muntean’s second film has featured in a few festivals throughout the last few years, but without much luck of finding distribution. His third found its way much quicker to the cinema screens. The question to ask is why a film about an ordinary couple having an ordinary holiday is deemed more appealing for foreign audiences than one about the social consequences of the 1989 revolution?
The power of the story lies ultimately in the portrayal of Alicia by Ingrid Bergman; a complex character who is trying to atone for her father’s guilt while also putting her own frivolous past behind her.
Mel Raido makes a great Danny. Initially he is weak and pathetic; he gets beaten up by a thug in a pub in front of his children, and his life plunges into despair. Depicted actively self harming, Danny is ruled by his fear and depression until he learns how to use it to his advantage.
Danny Boyle’s incarnation of the Mumbai slums is the main startling achievement of the film. Here we are not just spectators, for the director forces us to penetrate the depths of a community that is vibrant, full of colours and madness.
Psychology was a way to make sense of the madness of war and God’s silence at the violence and carnage of the Nazis. Hitchcock was using the plot to provide the sort of assurance his audience needed at the war’s end - the massive sacrifice had been for a meaningful purpose.
The Frat Pack films have enhanced the notion that the goofy geek is also cool, that the thirty-something stoner is tolerable and of course the best of the adages: that everyone has the capacity to achieve. In condoning these approaches, mainstream adults and other over-achievers are consistently shown up as the true social losers.