Cinephiles will have more reason to shiver this January than just the cold as the India Habitat Centre Film Club is organising a workshop on the Master of Suspense, director Alfred Hitchcock, curated by professor Richard Allen from New York University (NYU).
As Chair of Film Studies at NYU, Allen is responsible for staffing, admissions, setting curriculum apart from teaching. One of his more popular classes? Hitchcock, of course. “Hitchcock still commands a lot of attention and interest. I’ve been coming to India for over 10 years now, researching and writing on Hindi cinema and Hitchcock seems to be as popular here. That’s why I decided to do this retrospective. More than a look back, the workshop will concentrate on how he influenced successive generations of filmmakers and their style,” says Allen, who has written books and articles on both the British auteur and Bollywood.
The workshop explores the influence of Hitchcock on later filmmakers such as Brian de Palma, David Lynch and Pedro Almodovar, and will screen five of the most iconic examples of his oeuvre: Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo and Shadow of Doubt. “We’ll divide the day into broadly two segments. First, we’ll screen one of Hitchcock’s films to establish the idiom he created in filmmaking, then we’ll screen a work by a director whose was influenced by him, for example Lynch’s Blue Velvet, followed by a discussion on its influences,” says Allen.
Given that today’s horror genre is more visceral and gore-spattered than the subtle psychological thrillers Hitchcock was celebrated for, one wonders how relevant the director is now. “The thing is that even today’s rather explicit horror can trace its roots to the psychological mechanisms in Hitchcock’s films. That same manipulation of fear is used to terrify audiences today. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be graphic. The first Paranormal Activity hardly had any action or spooky stuff going on, but terrified audiences through just the anticipation it built up,” says Allen. Hitchcock would have been proud.
The workshop is on from January 11 to 22 from 6.30 pm onwards on weekdays and 10.30am onwards on the weekend. Registration for IHC members and students:
Rs 6,000 and for non-members:
Rs 9,000. Contact 43663080/90 for further details