CamFilmFest Diary: Day 8

Date: Thursday 20 September

Films: 1 – Vertigo (plus a Hitchcock talk given by George Perry)

Beverages: 2 teas

Biscuits: One large banoffee cookie (purely for medicinal purposes)

Verdict: A quiet day today before the final three days of the festival. Just the one film, but a biggie: Hitchcock’s Vertigo, in a brand new restored print on the massive Screen 1 at Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. I’ve only seen it once before, so I was keen to reacquaint myself with the film recently voted as the greatest ever in Sight and Sound’s esteemed decennial poll. Inevitably it failed to live up to such massive hype; it’s surprisingly un-Hitchcockian in some ways, being rather slow-paced and with a central character who becomes increasingly disturbed and unsympathetic as the story progresses. Yet I wanted to see it again almost immediately after it finished, which clearly suggests that Vertigo not only invites repeated viewings but demands it. One can easily see why it’s been re-examined over the years; the ideas about recapturing or escaping the past, about love and obsession, about history repeating itself clearly make it a film student’s dream. It doesn’t entertain like the best of his films – there’s none of the subversive fun of Rear Window, say – but it is clearly the work of a master.


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