One of the most anticipated films at Sundance this year, certainly among cinephiles was the latest deep-div making of work from Swiss-born filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe, who previously has looked into fandom’s disenchantment with George Lucas (The People vs. George Lucas), zombie culture (Doc of the Dead), and his critically acclaimed 2017 detailed look at Hitchcock’s Psycho shower scene (78/52).
While his new work, Memory—The Origins of Alien, began as a shot-by-shot look at that film’s ferocious chest-burster sequence, it eventually became clear to Philippe that there were forces and influences that went into the creation of Alien that went beyond standard-issue science fiction and horror. The film explores its roots in everything from Egyptian mythology, H.P. Lovecraft, parasitic wasps, comic books, and the paintings of Frances Bacon, while also making it a treat for those who want a peak behind the curtain of the film of one of Ridley Scott’s most influential works (although Scott himself is not interviewed).
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Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi film Alien is a classic, plain and simple. It’s one of those movies studied in film school and has been poured over by critics, filmmakers, scholars and fans for decades. But believe it or not, Alexandre O. Philippe‘s new documentary Memory: The Origins of Alien shows there is still plenty to learn about the development and making of such an influential and iconic movie.
Philippe came to Sundance a couple years ago with a documentary called 78/52. That film was an extensive, in-depth examination of the classic shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Featuring a cavalcade of cinephiles, ranging from filmmakers to critics with some actors and film professors, the film gave new context to and thorough exploration of one of the most famous scenes of all time. Philippe does that again with Memory, but it’s not quite as entrancing. The presentation is a little uneven and seems to be grasping for straws at times. Read More »
Psycho is one of the most acclaimed thrillers ever made. In fact, Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1960 classic is one of the best films of all time, regardless of genre. It’s been studied endlessly by scholars, cinephiles and film critics alike, and now a new documentary breaks down the film’s most iconic scene, pouring over every significant detail to find a deeper meaning.
78/52 hails from director Alexandre O. Philippe, who sat down with filmmakers like Peter Bogdanovich, Eli Roth and Guillermo del Toro, writer Bret Easton Ellis, legendary editor Walter Murch, composer Danny Elfman, actor Elijah Wood, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Oz Perkins, the respective children of Psycho stars Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, for a film that meticulously breaks down the three-minute sequence composed of 78 camera set-ups and 52 edits.
Watch the Psycho documentary trailer below to see what we’re talking about. Read More »