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They could pull down their blinds, but they never do.

A. H. I’ll bet you that nine out of ten people if they see a woman across the courtyard undressing for bed, or even a man puttering around in his room, will stay and look; no one turns away and says, “It’s none of my business.” They could pull down their blinds, but they never do; they stand there and look out.

ex Leo Braudy, “Hitchcock, Truffaut, and the Irresponsible Audience,” in Film Quarterly 21:4 (Summer 1968) : 21-27 (23) : via jstor : link

The quoted passage is from F. Truffaut, his Hitchcock (1968). Braudy uses Truffaut as a foil in his demonstration of Hitchcock’s deeper artistry, evidenced in the latter’s reliance on — and exploitation of — the voyeuristic nature of all movies (and movie-watching). The passage is in regard to James Stewart in Rear Window; most of Braudy’s essay focuses on Psycho.

I am reminded of cinéastes I used to know, back in the Berkeley ’70s, their obsessions with ranking films and directors on subtle points of discrimination.

22 May 2023