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Film Modernism$
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Sam Rohdie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992637

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992637.001.0001

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(p.207) Vertigo
Film Modernism

Sam Rohdie

Manchester University Press

The irrelevance that Hitchcock perpetrates (like a crime) or imposes (sadistically, grotesquely as reality is feigned, only imitated) - turn around a void, hence the vertigo, the dizziness, the loss of focus - is crucial to Vertigo and all his films where story, emotions, characters, occurrences are both realistic and improbable, as if the is looking at itself, pursuing itself as intently as Scottie pursues Judy/Madeleine/Carlotta. The regard and the pursuit are interrogative (the film marvels at itself, seeks itself in amazement) and mocking (this is absurd, all the more so, when Scottie ‘believes’ it) turning improbability (in a word, the fiction), into the only truth. The world of Hitchcock’s films are littered with a profusion of signs (that indicate something, but are usually false, deceptive, misleading, confusing - what do they indicate? - that is, illusions, Mcguffins, pretexts and a lure because everything is simultaneously realistic and feigned, which is at the heart of the cinema, the nature of film) and these signs confront the character who looks at them and the audience who sees the character looking. Both character and audience are interpreters of signs, like detectives and the detective story, particularly the English detective story.

Keywords:   falsity, deception, signs

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