Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Aspiring Film-makers, Actors and Screenplay Writers can start with this film. (even film marketers)

This film, in my personal opinion, encapsulates all the wonderful elements in film-making, acting and writing. Of course it's one of the most popular films in its genre. And there were so much talk and hype surrounding this film. But all is much deserving. Because I'm actor, naturally I am fascinated by Anthony Perkin's portrayal as Norman Bates. Observe his underlying madness beneath a cheerful appearance. Not to mention his body language and the way he "eats" like a bird". Janet Leigh's somewhat "brief" appearance in this film, is also commendable. Watch her transformation from being a helpless adulterer to a thief and finally ended up as the victim in the famous bathroom murder.

For those aspiring to be a film-maker, your eye for detail in this film can be further sharpened by a dozen visual cues to further exemplify a certain character and atmosphere. The mirror that often reflects the characters from the city is apparent in this film. Take note also how the colour of Janet's character wearing from a white to a black color bra, symbolising her transformation from pureness to evil after she decided to keep the bulk of money from her employer. Be amazed by even the very first opening shot to the composition of each frame, right to the cuts of each scene in this film (especially the bathroom murder scene).

For the aspiring screenplay writers, listen to brief and succint dialogue from each scene. I especially like the scene in the reception room when Norman were having a chit-chat with Marion and how so much emotions are expressed, in synch with the character's own motivation and objective. Observe also the many dead birds that were stuffed with sand and preservatives (taxidermists) in the reception room right before Marion's own fate that were killed off.

In marketing terms, "Pyscho" were made at a very low budget. But scored a huge profit when it hits the cinemas. I must say it's the clever shock-and-warning tactic used by Alred Hitchcok to induce some form of discipline. The warning of coming to the cinema early to catch the film was clearly emblazoned at all entrances, further digging the anticipated terror and curiosity about the film.

All in all, "Psycho" is a very well-rounded film, in that it has all the right elements that pulls together to a very clearly defined concept of a film. From the music to the lighting, it ultimately leads to terror to its audience. Aspiring artistes can take inspirations from watching this film and felt a somewhat strange satisfaction in being in the shadows of Norman and Marion. The sheer objectivity in each of the actor's performance is commendable and should be in fact be taken as an important lesson to all aspiring actors when they are reading their scripts. Below are some incriminating advice from the film director, Alfred Hitchcock to:
The film director: If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.
The actor: When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, "It's in the script"/ If he says, "But what's my motivation?", I say, "Your salary".
The screenplay writer: I don't understand why we have to experiment with film. I think everything should be done on paper. A musician has to do it, a composer. He puts a lot of dots down and beautiful music comes out. And I think that students should be taught to visualize. That's the one thing missing in all this. The one thing that the student has got to do is to learn that there is a rectangle up there - a white rectangle in a theater - and it has to be filled.

PS: Students who wants a copy of Psycho, let me know when we meet.