VISUAL LITERACY 2

Alfred Hitchcock

In the late 1950’s early ’60’s a group of French film critics, notably Godard and Truffaut argued that the works of better directors displayed themes that ran through all their works.The cause was Taken up in this country by Andrew Sarris. It became known as the “auteur” theory; in other words even though films are the collaboration of many talents and disciplines it is ultimately the director who shapes the work.

Hitchcock is one of the easiest to “read.” All his films involve and innocent, or unsuspecting, person suddenly caught in a web of spies, assassins or thieves. Before long not only are the killers in pursuit but generally the police as well. Watch “NORTH BY NORTHWEST,” “THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH,” “REAR WINDOW” and “The THIRTY-NINE STEPS.” All of them play quite well with kids from about nine years and up. Watch them within a fairly short period of time and the thematic “unity” will become obvious very quickly.

To be able to see the similarities in the works of one artist – whether Hitchcock, Van Gogh or Beethoven – is the first step to developing critical thinking.

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