Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hitchcock, The Birds and Psycho: Hitchcock, Cinema


Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was nicknamed the "Master of Suspense" for employing a kind of psychological suspense in his films, producing  a distinct viewer experience. Hitchcock created more than 50 films.  Hitchcock received the AFI's Life Achievement Award in 1979. He died in 1980.

I. Work with a partner.

1. What is your favorite kind of movies? Why do you like it?

2. What kinds of movies do you dislike? Why?

3. Do you have favorite actors? What about directors? Talk about them.

4. What is your opinion about the Oscar and other Awards ceremonies? Do they actually award the best movies of the year?

5. What do you know about Alfred Hitchcock?

6. Hitchcock was nominated for best director five times without a win. Why do you think that happened?

7. Do you like suspense movies? Why (not)?

8. Have you ever seen a Hitchcock movie? If so, which one was your favorite? Why is it your favorite?

II. Hitchcock had very special techniques that made him stand out the other directors of the genre. They made him unique and respected all around the world. Read some of them and see when/how you can spot them in the segments you will watch.

Inspired by the informative site:

  • Emotion is the ultimate goal for each scene. The closer the camera the more intense the film is.
  • The camera takes on human qualities so that the audience feel like they are uncovering the true story. 
  • He doesn't always use dialogue, but body language and action to pull the audience in. He saves dialogue as a last resort.
  • He uses simple shots.
  • He keeps the story simple.
  • He makes  the characters the opposite of what the audience expects.
  • He uses humor to add tension.
  •  He shows two unrelated things happening at once. 
  • He shows the audience what the characters don't see to create suspense. The character is completely unaware of what is going on.
  • What's happening next is always a complete surprise.
III. Watch the segment from the movie The Birds and see when/how Hitchcock uses his techniques. Remember that he doesn't necessarily use all of them in every film or scene.

IV. Repeat the process with the famous bathroom scene from Psycho.

V. Now watch the segment from the movie Hitchcock and answer the questions.

1. Can you relate the techniques discussed in the previous exercise with the opening scene of the segment?

2. What made Hitchcock so surprised or upset about the reporter's questions?

3. Was that question appropriate for the moment, a premiere of his latest movie?

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