There have been moments throughout pop-culture history so powerfully felt upon their reveal, and now so deeply ingrained within the collective consciousness of the populace, that it’s actually possible to chart how life changed from that moment onward. And not just for those who witnessed the moment, but also for those caught in its wake as the moment ripples out into society.
Swiss director and rising star Alexandre O. Phillipe’s new documentary, 78/52, is founded upon one very notable pop culture moment that transcended the confines of its form and shockingly became one of the most influential examples of art-to-life crossover we’ve yet to see: Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous shower scene from Psycho.
The movie follows Marion Crane who, after robbing a suitcase full of cash from her work and fleeing in fear, finds herself staying at the Bates Motel where a gentle but insidiously peculiar man named Norman Bates works and resides. To cut an already iconic story short (and spoiling the hell out of it for those foolish enough to read this without first watching Psycho), Crane is murdered in the shower by a mysterious figure with a knife in a scene that, even upon repeated viewing, can only be described as nightmarish.
From behind-the-scenes archival interviews with the Master of Suspense himself, to in-depth insights into the inspired editing techniques used to create something simultaneously horrifying but surprisingly bloodless; from the screeching violins of Bernard Hermann that pervaded pop-culture in a way never before felt, to the shocking early demise of an attractive protagonist and its effect on the future of the cinema; besides the filmmaking perspective, the doco also explores the far-reaching effects of Marion’s sexuality, her death, and her flushing of a toilet – the first in cinema history – in a manner I’ve never before seen in a film documentary. This film has everything. It is a genuine masterclass. If you’re a film buff, a historian, or just a pop-culture aficionado – hell, if you simply have eyes and ears – then you won’t be disappointed by this incredibly in-depth, informative piece of filmmaking. Get on it.
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