CINEMA: Je Suis Psycho


THE GUARDIAN: Kent Jones’s enjoyable documentary – presented in the festival’s Cannes Classics section – is a tribute to a pioneering act of cinephilia, cinema criticism and living ancestor worship. François Truffaut’s remarkable interview series with Alfred Hitchcock, conducted over a week at his offices at Universal Studios in 1962, was a journalistic enterprise which changed the way cinema was thought of as an art form. Nowadays, a young film-maker might envisage a similar exercise in terms of a film or cable TV series – but what Truffaut finally produced was text: a fascinatingly illustrated book, like the record of a supremely important cultural-diplomatic mission. Hitchcock was already famous as a director in a way that few directors were (partly as a result of his TV celebrity), but Truffaut insisted on his importance as an artist and, by this token, on the auteurist importance of directors generally. MORE

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Something of a film buff’s nirvana — not only because of its two participants, but due to the onscreen presence of David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson and other directorial luminaries talking about them — Kent Jones’ latest look at an eminent creative figure has the air of a bunch of extreme film buffs sitting around, talking in depth on a subject about which they’re almost alarmingly obsessive, but that’s a big part of the fun. Graced by the exemplary print condition of the many titles it excerpts, this documentary will be a top draw wherever films about filmmakers are welcome. The actual eight-day interview between the 30-year-old French film critic turned director and the world-famous 63-year-old British-born director was not filmed and would not have been very photogenic in any event, as it took place in a small, windowless room at Universal Studios. Furthermore, it was a rather laborious affair in that, due to Truffaut’s poor English, both men’s remarks required constant translation, a job dexterously handled by longtime Truffaut colleague Helen Scott, whose role goes a bit underacknowledged here. MORE

VILLAGE VOICE: They could have called it Hitchcock/Truffaut/Scorsese/Fincher. Less an adaptation of one of the great books about film than a feature-length recommendation, Kent Jones’s documentary take on François Truffaut’s exhaustive career-survey 1966 interview with Alfred Hitchcock is an arresting précis, sharply edited and generous with its film clips — it’s a smashing supplement to Truffaut’s classic study. It’s a thrill to hear the directors’ voices, recorded fifty years ago. Hitchcock, in that clipped and finicky rumble of his, describes the precise moment in Vertigo when Jimmy Stewart’s character is worked up at last to a full erection. Jones and editor Rachel Reichman layer the talk over the scene itself: Stewart’s frayed-nerve detective Scottie, almost panting in a hotel room lit the green of lime Jell-O, while Kim Novak’s Judy at last ducks out to put her hair up in the manner of the dead woman he loves. To his credit, Hitchcock’s matter-of-fact commentary makes a deliciously sick moment even more so. MORE