I caught a pair of terrific documentaries while at Fantasia this week.
I wasn't able to see Alex Phillipe's 78/52 during its run in Toronto, but it was fortuitous because the filmmakers were in attendance for this screening in Montreal. This doc examines one of the most infamous scenes in all of cinema - the shower sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. So named for the seventy-eight cuts and fifty-two second run time, this doc is extremely comprehensive, almost breaking the material down frame by frame with the help of filmmakers and scholars alike.
I loved this documentary because it concentrated on the pathos of the film and how much of an influence it had on cinema as well as the public at large. In doing so, 78/52 was not only a film about film, but also pop culture itself. I also really liked the range of subjects they brought in for the film that included the old guard like Peter Bogdonavich, the new blood like Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead & Oz Perkins (who has an obvious connection with the material) as well as denizens in between like Mick Garris and Guillermo del Toro.
The crowd was also riled up when the filmmakers announced their next project. I haven't seen it announced online yet, so I won't keep quiet, but they are planning on giving the same treatment to equally iconic moment from late-seventies science fiction.
The second documentary, Steve Mitchell's King Cohen was a deep dive into the world of maverick filmmaker Larry Cohen. It was extra special to not only have him there, but also his long-time collaborator Michael Moriarty to present him with a lifetime achievement award. These two were a dynamic duo and wasted no time hamming it up with each other.
|Photo courtesy of Kurt Halfyard.|
I've always said that Larry Cohen is one of the purest horror filmmaker out there. His oeuvre is not only extremely vibrant and unique, but also uncompromising. Q: The Winged Serpent, It's Alive, God Told Me To, The Stuff, I mean the list goes on. As does the list of filmmakers that sing his praised within like Martin Scorsese, John Landis & Joe Dante. Cohen is also a prolific writer, having penned over a hundred pieces of work for film and television. I was honoured to be in his presence.
If you are into documentaries about the craft of film, then I highly encourage you to seek out this pair of docs. You'll learn a lot, and do it with a grin.