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Watch: The Symmetry of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’: A Video Essay

Watch: The Symmetry of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window': A Video Essay

Do you ever wonder why you love the movies you love? Do you ever think that there might be a reason beyond the obvious–a great story, say, or a terrific actor–that might be directing you back to a certain film? Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ is a confluence of virtues: a story with a hook the size of a crane, James Stewart’s sensitive performance, Grace Kelly’s screen presence… But it also has something else: a director’s steady and deliberate hand. That hand does all sorts of things, as we know: frames shots, paces the narrative, moves in and retracts at just the right moment. But what it also does, as this video essay by Australian filmmaker Michael Mclennan demonstrates, is arrange the film’s shots in a symmetrical fashion. Later shots quote earlier shots–sometimes once, sometimes even twice. With each re-appearance, the original shot is revised. And with each shot, as well, a remarkable tale is told. All we have to do is pay attention and the story grows ever deeper. And that, right there, is why we return to ‘Rear Window.’ It will never give up all of its secrets.

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