Alexandre O. Philippe has already explored classic horror films with his documentaries 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene and Memory: The Origins of Alien, and now he’s done it again with Leap of Faith. This latest doc delves into The Exorcist, William Friedkin’s iconic classic about a little girl possessed by a demonic force. There have already been several documentaries devoted to The Exorcist, but Leap of Faith takes a cue from Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s documentary De Palma by sticking with one source: William Friedkin. Leap of Faith has been making the festival circuit and is now headed to Shudder.
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Alexandre O. Philippe loves to make movies about movies. His documentary work includes 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, which focused on Psycho, and the creation of its infamous shower scene, and Memory: The Origins of Alien, which thoughtfully explored what made, and still makes, Alien so special. Philippe keeps the trend going with Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist. As the title suggests, the doc has director William Friedkin sitting down to discuss one of his most iconic films, and since Friedkin is such a gifted storyteller, the result is wholly engrossing. But there’s a problem: you’ve probably heard everything Friedkin says here before. But there’s one key question that lingers over the film: the question as to whether or not the ending works. According to Friedkin, surprisingly enough, the answer is no.
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It’s been 46 years since its release, and The Exorcist is as fascinating as when it first came out in theaters. You’d think it’s not a film that would still invite analysis after so many years, but ask anyone about what they think the film is ultimately about or what that final scene means, and you’re bound to start a lengthy conversation.
Alexandre O. Philippe recognizes this. The Swiss filmmaker, who previously tackled fandom and Star Wars in The People vs. George Lucas, ingeniously deconstructed the Psycho shower scene in 78/52, and most recently dissected every aspect of Alien in Memory: The Origins of Alien, now takes a simpler yet equally effective approach to his subject in his latest documentary, Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist.
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