- LULU / PANDORA'S BOX
- DAPHNIS AND CHLOE
- FEDRA
- THE FUGITIVE KIND
- THE TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS
- PHAEDRA
- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS
- YOUNG APHRODITES
- CONTEMPT
- PROMETHEUS FROM THE VISEVICE ISLAND
- SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
- THE GOLDEN THING
- THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
- EURIDICE BA 2037
- IPHIGENIA
- A DREAM OF PASSION
- CLASH OF THE TITANS
- THE YEARS OF THE BIG HEAT
- ENIOCHUS - THE CHARIOTEER
- ANTIGONE
- EDIPO ALCADE
- THAT'S LIFE
- BLADE RUNNER
- VERTIGO
- MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
- ORPHEUS
- PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
- ULYSSES
- HERACLES AND THE QUEEN OF LYDIA
- BLACK ORPHEUS
- ANTIGONE
- ELECTRA
- JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
- ‘«Ň GORGON
- OEDIPUS REX
- ‘«Ň ILLIAC PASSION
- THE CANNIBALS
- ŐEDEA
- NOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA
- FOR ELECTRA
- PROMETHEUS IN THE SECOND PERSON
- VOYAGE TO CYTHERA
- ULYSSES' GAZE
- ‘«Ň MATRIX
- O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

VERTIGO
USA, 1958


Directed by Alfred Hitchcoch. Written by Pierre Boilleau, Thomas Narcejac (novel). Director of Photography: Robert Burks. Set Design: Frank R. McKelvy, Sam Comer. Costume Design: Edith Head. Őusic: Bernard Herrmann. Editing: George Tomasini. Starring James Stewart (Det. John 'Scottie' Ferguson), Kim Novak (Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton), Barbara Bel Geddes
(Midge Wood), Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster), Henry Jones (Coroner), Raymond Bailey (Scottie's doctor), Ellen Corby (Manager of McKittrick Hotel). Produced by Alfred Hitchcock, James C. Katz, Herbert Coleman for Alfred J.
Hitchcock Productions, Paramount Pictures [us]. Duration: 128 min. Colour.

San Francisco police detective Scottie Fergusson develops a fear of heights and is forced to retire when a colleague falls to his death during a chase. An old college friend (Gavin Elster) hires Scottie to watch his wife Madeleine who has become obsessed with the past. Scottie follows her around San Francisco and is drawn into a complex plot...

Love and Death
by Nicolas Saada and Serge Toubiana

Filmed in 1958, Vertigo was christened a cult movie, mainly because for many years it was not shown in cinemas. And here it is again: new copy, new format and new sound mastering. Surely, James Stewart’s suits seem even more flamboyant, Kim Novak’s dressing gown even redder and the stereo soundtrack more modern. Apart from all these "improvements", so many years after its first projection, Vertigo remains equally enigmatic and worrying. It could just be a thriller by Alfred Hitchcock: the story of a detective suffering from acrophobia, the fear of heights. Hitchcock summarises this movie, this thriller the audience hopes to see, in just one sequence, immediately after the wonderful opening credits by Saul Bass. A manhunt on a roof, a policeman shoots a fugitive hunted by an inspector in plain clothes, Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart). The scene is frightening, in Hitchcock’s typical style. Inspector Ferguson witnesses his partner, who shortly before stretched out his hand to save him, tumbling into the void. Fade out to black. The thriller is over. Now, Vertigo can commence.
Firstly, we are impressed by the first scenes’ exceptional neutrality, elegance and modernity of an almost naturalistic dialogue. Bachelor Scottie discusses life with his best friend and ex-lover, Madge. Fired from his department and in a constant state of recovery, Scottie moves towards a world lacking in emotion. He has lost any desire for life until the moment he meets with an old friend of his, Gavin Elster, who pushes him towards a woman with suicidal tendencies called Madeleine (Kim Novak). Vertigo’s theme gradually starts to take shape when we realise that the hero is depressive, but not yet aware of it. Wanting to cure the woman he loves more than anything else, Scottie plunges into the darkest and uncontrollable madness. Obviously Scottie is Hitchcock’s alter ego, a man who refuses to become the victim of film direction and prefers to rewrite the screenplay even if it means he has to kill off his own heroine. James Stewart, Frank Capra’s and Lubitsch’s affable hero, is here nothing but a lost and neurotic being, motivated by a macabre infatuation.
The heroes of Vertigo run after their own ghosts without ever reaching them, reminding us of the initial stake-out scenes comprising the central theme of the first thirty minutes of the film. Vertigo is also a wonderful film about time. While talking about death, about the awesome desire to give into it, Vertigo remains a great film of depression, without the least trace of hope. Beyond its obvious beauty, emerging almost in every scene, Vertigo impresses through its infinite melancholy in long sequences, for instance, where James Stewart clumsily asks Judy out, desiring to dress her up like her vanished twin
Hitchcock voluntarily abandoned the coldness of Rear Window or The Wrong Man to adopt a more lyrical style. It is a style where the confusion of feelings and desires is expressed through duration with the use of colours, frameshots, and light. So when Kim Novak’s first appears in Ernie’s restaurant, he chooses to place the young woman’s silhouette against a red background, the same tone of red on Scottie’s apartment door or the red gown Madeleine gives him.
In Vertigo Hitchcock goes against the very same rules he had long made his own: time, the main ingredient of suspense, is completely wiped out, like in the long sequences where Scottie tails Madeleine through the streets of San Francisco, one of the most impressive scenes of the film. On the surface, nothing happens, but the audience has the sensation that something irreversible is going on: the feeling that, though you may be alive, you must to get used to living with death.

Cahiers du Cinema, issue no. 511, March1997