Vertigo Variations by B. Kite and Alexander Points-Zollo
December 29, 2011 7:44 PM   Subscribe

<<Vertigo is an impossible object: a gimcrack plot studded with strange gaps that nonetheless rides a pulse of peculiar necessity, a field of association that simultaneously expands and contracts like its famous trick shot, a ghost story whose spirits linger even after having been apparently explained away, and a study of obsession that becomes an obsessive object in its own right, situated likewise on the edge of unreality. This video series avoids assigning the film any determinate shape and tries instead to enter it through a number of side doors, each indicative of a way of seeing. Part 1 (QT dl ~500mb) explored some of the ground-level weirdness of the film’s construction, offers a suggestion that the film may exist in its own unique tense, and examines two iterations of the (Chris) Marker Hypothesis*. Part 2 (QT dl ~1.5gB) is spooky, reading the film through a phantom appendage then laying down a sort of Vertigo tarot before moving onto slightly more solid ground with a new consideration of Hitchcock’s concept of the MacGuffin. Part 3 (QT dl ~1.9gB) takes the zoom-in-track-out as an emblem, reconsiders the issue of point of view, then throws all the pieces back up in the air. That’s a thematic rundown, from the position of the narrator. The images have their own agendas, which often coincide but sometimes don’t.>>

* The (Chris) Marker Hypothesis
* The MacGuffin editor Ken Mogg's 'definitive' biography of Alfred Hitchcock.
* <<Technical note: Although heavy compression of large files is necessary for speedy Internet streaming, it sometimes does unpredictable things with random and rapidly changing elements, e.g. the static in this video. The makers heartily recommend that interested viewers download>> the Quicktime versions.
posted by carsonb (13 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I don't get why all the static is necessary, I can't even watch these videos.
posted by empath at 8:25 PM on December 29, 2011

Missing seizure alert tag.

I thought something was wrong with my browser.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:27 PM on December 29, 2011

The static is a little tough on the eyes, so I had to just minimize the window and listen. The audio's worth it, I think.
posted by katillathehun at 8:44 PM on December 29, 2011

The lower-res streaming version is a little easier on the eyes. The static seems to have just-perceptible images flashing through it, and I think it's representing the essay's ideas of deja vu and echoing the first spoken line, Vertigo is a film that can't be seen, it can only be seen again.

If you watch the streaming version, the images behind the static are less distinct and not as bothersome. The static does fade in and out through the video, but the imagery does begin to get less nebulous and vertiginous.
posted by carsonb at 8:53 PM on December 29, 2011

And Hitchcock made films worth watching, unlike this crap.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:20 PM on December 29, 2011

Someone link to Zizek, I am going to bed.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:25 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Vertigo is my second favorite Hitchcock and maybe the most fun one to talk about.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:47 PM on December 29, 2011

There was a great AskMe about it a few years ago.
posted by katillathehun at 10:39 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Vertigo is a film that can't be seen, it can only be seen again.

I've only seen it once. It was good...and sufficient.
posted by straight at 10:28 AM on December 30, 2011

Yeah, I dunno, I just watched vertigo for the first time and then read some of these articles. The Chris Marker theory is just a bunch of nonsense. "It was all a dream" is the dumbest plot device in movies, and if Hitchcock wanted the second half to be a dream, he'd have said so.
posted by empath at 7:33 PM on December 30, 2011

Who cares what Hitchcock wants?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:50 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

empath, do you identify more with Statler or Waldorf?
posted by katillathehun at 11:42 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Who cares what Hitchcock wants?

posted by Wolof at 12:16 AM on December 31, 2011

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