Hot Docs 2017: 78/52

Cinema Axis

78_58_2Psycho was a watershed moment in cinema, and not just because it was the first film to show a flushing toilet.  Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary 78/52 explores this cultural touchstone through interviews with a myriad of film people, from directors and editors to actors, composers, and critics.  The film begins by exploring the philosophies, style, and films of Alfred Hitchcock as a whole, follows by discussing Psycho specifically, and then completely geeks out over the infamous Shower Sequence.

The documentary is built from interviews with preeminent filmmakers and critics, shot with incredible coverage (there were at least three cameras capturing some of the interviews).  Some of the interviewees are even filmed watching Psycho, offering their off-the-cuff observations as the film rolls.  The resulting effect generates the illusion that the spectator is participating in a cinephile’s dream: a lengthy discussion about Psycho with the likes of Elijah Wood, Peter Bogdonavich…

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