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cinephiliac moment: Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, USA 1958), Rashna Wadia Richards

Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, USA 1958)

"On a cross-section of an ancient sequoia, a black-gloved hand pauses to mark the passage of a lifetime in a moment. [...] This haunting moment [...] transfixes me. Although I cannot point out why, its sparse poignancy appears astounding. It is simply a standard Hitchcockian close-up, not as emotive as the following scene, where lovers embrace with waves crashing in the background, or as iconic as the zoom in/track out shot that replicates Scottie's (James Stewart) vertigo in the bell tower later. On that cross-section of an old Sequoia sempervirens, monumental events of the last two thousand years leave their mark. But Madeleine's [Kim Novak] hand drifts to a spot unmarked in that history. [...] The moment that Madeleine points to on the dead sequoia [...] might be seen as a mise en abyme of cinephilia. Like an ideal cinephiliac moment whose pull is as overwhelming as it is inscrutable, that moment interrupts the systematic flow of history because it does not fit the causal narrative of celebrated events."

 

Rashna Wadia Richards (2012): Cinematic Flashes. Cinephilia and Classical Hollywood. Bloomington, S. 18f.

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