Filmmakers, as well as cinephiles, will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of film history with the staging ‘Watching the Classics’, presented by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) from May 31.
DFI, in an email to Culture Pass members, said that each of the three-part series of lectures and discussions by renowned scholar Richard Peña will “focus on an undisputed world cinema classic.”
Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, Peña was also the programme director of the Film Society of Lincoln Centre and director emeritus of the New York Film Festival (1988-2012). At the Film Society, he organised retrospectives of many film artists, as well as major film series devoted to numerous national cinemas.
DFI noted that “in the weekly sessions, Professor Peña will present a given film within its aesthetic, economic, technological and social/political context, detailing each director’s formal techniques while teasing out the implications of these artistic and technical decisions.”
The first session on May 31 will talk about a 1943 US film titled ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starred by Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. A psychological thriller, it tells about young Charley (Charlotte) who was delighted to see her ‘Uncle Charlie’ but later realised that the latter had been involved in a murder.
‘Shadow of a Doubt’ was considered to be Hitchcock’s favourite among his many films – “his first film to seriously grapple with the often-contradictory reality of his newly adopted country.”
The second session, DFI noted, is set on June 7 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, and will discuss a 1954 film in the US titled ‘Rear Window’, also by Hitchcock.
“Based on a short story by perhaps the bleakest of film noir novelists, Cornell Woolrich, Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes in ‘Rear Window’ managed to keep the darkness of the original while adding layers of romance and offbeat humour in what for many critics is perhaps the director’s single most perfect film,” DFI said.
The third session takes place on June 14 and focuses on ‘Psycho’, another Hitchcock film in 1960, which he produced and became a box office hit.
DFI said “the film follows a Phoenix, Arizona secretary who steals $40,000 from her employer and heads out on the road, hoping to connect with her boyfriend. But a one-night stop in a motel gets in the way of her plans, and the rest is film history. With Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles and John Gavin.”
This year’s ‘Watching the Classics’, DFI said that it “decided to go ‘deep’: to burrow in the work of a single filmmaker and explore the development of Hitchcock’s themes, techniques, and ideas.
“And perhaps there is no better candidate for this than the great Alfred Hitchcock, a director whose work is loved and admired equally by everyday film fans as well as filmmakers, critics, and academics.
“Focusing on three of his American films - ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ (1943), ‘Rear Window’ (1954) and ‘Psycho’ (1960) – this series will each offer analyses of that week’s film as well as seek to place that film within both the context of American film history and the director’s own unique universe.” DFI noted.
Participants are advised to watch the films (ready for viewing at different streaming services) before attending each session to get the most from the programme.
According to DFI, a series of images and clips will be included for discussion during the lecture, followed by a question and answer session with Professor Peña.
DFI said that all sessions will be held online (English) and lab fee is pegged at QR350. Qatar Museums Culture Pass members are entitled for a 10% discount.
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