Hitchcock fashioned a film career out of voyeurism and obsession. His masterful Rear Window is the perfect accumulation of these dark cinematic desires, while implicating the audience in the process, the act of cinema-going bringing out the peeping Tom in us all.
Using as a springboard the wheelchair incarceration of our hapless protagonist, stuck at home with nothing but time on his hands, Hitchcock takes perverse pleasure in realising the saying, ”the devil finds work for idle hands”. Jeffries’ seemingly innocent pastime of watching his neighbours turns into full-blown surveillance and obsession when he stumbles upon an ‘apparent’ murder.
As in Vertigo (1958), his other collaboration with Stewart, Hitchcock goes to great lengths to expose the kink in America’s most wholesome male star.
Locating his immaculately constructed images through the frames of Jeffries’ window and those of his adjoining neighbours, Hitchcock brings to mind the ultimate frame in which the film plays out - – the cinema screen. We too share in Jeffries’ voyeuristic reveries and experience great pleasure as we do it.
11 Oct - 16 Oct
Alfred Hitchcock revelled in making audiences complicit in the shady goings-on in his famous suspense thrillers. In Rear Window, he cranks scopophilia up a notch via the wheelchair-bound photographer L.B. Jefferies (played by Hitchcock’s favourite everyman, James Stewart), whose voyeuristic obsessions are shared by the audience in the act of watching the film. While convalescing in his apartment, the immobile Jefferies takes rather too well to keeping tabs on his neighbours, leading to him inadvertently witnessing a murder.