Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho paved the way for filmmakers, and film lovers past and present. 78/52 is a frame by frame analysis of the famous shower scene that has often been replicated, but never duplicated. Alexandre O. Philippe (Director) interviews some of the people directly involved in the film such as Marli Renfro (Janet Leigh’s body double), as well as filmmakers who were inspired by Hitchcock’s craft: Eli Roth, Karyn Kusama, and Guillermo del Toro to name a few. The approach peels back like layers of an onion: the audience learns about the bigger picture, set design, symbolism of the setup, the political climate of 1960, then as the layers are peeled away we learn more about the process, how each shot was captured, and the meticulous way Hitchcock lured in audiences for a terrifying scene.
It’s remarkable to consider the political landscape of 1960. The average American citizen was aware of global threats, but did not consider their own home as a form of terror. Even photographing the toilet was considered off-limits during this time. It’s fascinating to listen to these talented filmmakers, writers, critics, actors, actresses all discuss the brilliance of every frame from this sequence. Psycho is so deeply ingrained into our cultural landscape that it has no doubt changed the way many of us take a shower while we’re home alone.
Part of the fully realized goal of this finely crafted film is to gain a new appreciation of a film most film lovers have viewed many times over. There’s a fascinating sequence where there is a deep discussion of the Marion’s internal struggle over confessing her crimes, and accepting the consequences. Water is a powerful symbol and it can be used to represent life and death.
78/52 is a must-see film for film lovers. Whether you’re looking for insight into a film you adore, or just want to hang out with some friends and participate in the conversation, there is a lot to chew on. Shot beautifully in black and white, this is a visually and aurally pleasing film to watch about a woman getting murdered in the shower.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch an extreme close-up of two people making out while their mouths are covered in disgusting herpes sores? Me neither! The film opens with Adah (Betsey Brown) talking with her therapist about her family problems, as well as finding someone else who enjoys the same off the wall sex as she does. Lucky for her, the next patient Aaron (Jack Dunphy) explains to his therapist how he fantasizes about aggressive anal sex – voila! A match made in…hell? Aptly named, this film follows the antics these assholes get into – from patronizing her brother in the film, as well as her parents. Watch as these two assholes spit into each other’s mouths, hump on the streets of New York, and give everyone around them a horrible time, including the audience.
Written and Directed by Peter Vack (Brown’s real-life brother, and on-screen brother), it’s difficult to put a finger on the point of this film. The subversive nature is manufactured to shock and upset the audience. The audience can do without repeated close-ups of herpes sores, but Vack goes to that well repeatedly. Is the audience supposed to walk away with a lesson in preventing the spread of STDs? Did we witness a bizarre collective therapy session for Vack and his family? Did we mention that his parents are in the film and witness many of these bizarre sexual acts being performed on their daughter?
There are a few entertaining takeaways, however. Assholes is a well-shot film by Justin Zweifach. While the content may not be appealing, the shot composition is well-planned and beautifully executed. There is a sequence shot in Times Square that looks breathtaking, all while you watch these jerks cause mayhem and hump each other in the streets. This sequence has shining moments that are quite funny.
At the end of the day, Assholes is intended to be a shocking film that some people may dare others to watch. We hesitate to make that same recommendation when there are better subversive films available already.
78/52 and Assholes appear as part of our coverage of the 21st edition of Fantasia 2017.