10 Must-See Films in BAMcinématek’s ‘The Vertigo Effect’ Series

Last night,BAMcinématek screened a gorgeous IB-Technicolor print of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece of obsession, Vertigo. Regarded by many as the greatest movie of all time, the psychological thriller brings together Hitchcock’s fascinating direction, James Stewart and Kim Novak’s brilliant performances, Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score, and Saul Bass’ mesmerizing graphic work for a film that only gets better with each viewing. In honor of the film’s lasting allure and influence, BAMcinématek has put together an impressive series, The Vertigo Effect, devoted to films—released both before and after Vertigo— that possess the themes and motifs of Hitchcock’s classic: romantic obsession, blinding jealousy, dopplegangers, and plenty more. From sexy giallo thrillers and erotic psycho-dramas to madcap comedies and feminist films that invert male gaze, there is certainly something to satisfy everyone. See stunning prints of films from directors like Chantal Akerman and David Lynch, Christian Petzold’s latest film Phoenix, and discover new and old wonders you’ve get to uncover. From now until the end of the month, 30 films will be showing in the series; so to help you navigate your spiral down into your cinematic obsession, here are the 10 must-see films in The Vertigo Effect.

You can also read more about Vertigo and the series HERE.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

VERTIGO, Alfred Hitchcock

“Detective Scottie Ferguson (Stewart, in a career-best performance) is called out of retirement to follow a friend’s wife (Novak), who may not be all she seems. Weaving an atmosphere of dread with Bernard Herrmann’s score, Saul Bass’ graphic work, and Robert Burks’ camerawork, Vertigo is Hitchcock at his most artful and psychologically complex, and was recently voted in Sight & Sound’s 2012 poll as the greatest film of all time.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MULHOLLAND DR., David Lynch

“Bright-eyed aspiring actress Betty (Watts) arrives in LA with dreams of stardom, but soon finds herself sucked into the nightmarish underbelly of Hollywood’s Dream Factory as she becomes entangled with an amnesiac femme fatale (Harring). Hitchcockian doubles, illusory identities, and surreal slips into the dark and disturbing abound in David Lynch’s neo-noir freak-out.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LAURA, Otto Preminger + SIGMUND FREUD’S DORA: A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY, Andrew Tyndall, Anthony McCall, Claire Pajaczkowska, Jane Weinstock 

Laura:

“A decade and a half before Hitchcock, Otto Preminger was working the necrophiliac noir terrain with this hauntingly romantic mystery in which a detective (Andrews) falls in love with a painting of the deceased title character (Tierney), anticipating Hitch’s summation of Vertigo: “to put it plainly, the man wants to go to bed with a woman who is dead.”

Sigmund Freud’s Dora: A case of mistaken identity:

“One of Freud’s most curious case studies—in which an eighteen-year-old suicidal woman walked out on his psychoanalytic treatments after three months—receives a fascinating feminist deconstruction.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LA CAPTIVE, Chantal Akerman

“A reclusive young man’s (Merhar) infatuation with a curiously passive woman (Testud) traps them both in a ritual of unfulfilled desire as he obsessively tails her every move à la Jimmy Stewart’s detective in Vertigo. Visionary director Chantal Akerman’s mesmerizing take on Proust’s La Prisonnière “transcends any notion of adaptation and touches on the distance between lovers who are doomed to dream apart” (The New York Times).”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

VARIETY, Bette Gordon

“Hitchcock’s themes of voyeurism and the gaze are inverted in this fearless exploration of female erotic fantasy. When Midwest transplant Christine (McLeod) takes a job selling tickets at a Times Square porn theater, she’s drawn into a vortex of sexual obsession that leads her to secretly stalk a stranger (Davidson). This bracing feminist noir is a scuzzy transmission from the 80s downtown scene with music by John Lurie and appearances by underground icons like Nan Goldin and Cookie Mueller.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THE JOY OF LIFE, Jenni Olson

“San Francisco, sexuality, and suicide come together in Jenni Olson’s entrancingly minimalist essay film. Over static shots of eerily depopulated Fog City locales, the filmmaker muses on queer desire and identity; legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti recites “The Changing Light”; and the Golden Gate Bridge’s history as a suicide landmark is explored via Meet John Doe and Vertigo. The result is an overwhelmingly moving meditation on love and loss.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE, Richard Quine

“Stewart and Novak reteamed just after Vertigo for this enchanting romantic fantasy in which a modern-day witch (Novak) living in Greenwich Village casts a love spell on her book publisher neighbor (Stewart). There is plenty of frothy fun—the witches are portrayed as kooky beatniks and Ernie Kovacs steals scenes with his surreal, oddball shtick—but also a poignant undercurrent of real romantic longing that makes this a fascinating companion to Hitchcock’s film.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SANS SOLEIL, Chris Marker

“This sublime essay film journeys across time and space—from a cat temple in Tokyo to the streets of Guinea-Bissau to the San Francisco of Hitchcock’s Vertigo—as an unseen narrator reads aloud letters sent to her by a fictional globetrotting cameraman. One of the towering achievements of Marker’s career, Sans Soleil is at once a mesmeric travelogue and a profound and poetic rumination on life, death, and consciousness.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SUGAR COOKIES, Theodore Gershuny

“Vertigo meets 70s sexploitation at its most far out. The lesbian lover (cult star Woronov) of a murdered porn star (Lowry) molds a young actress (also Lowry) into a replica of the dead woman. Oliver Stone associate-produced this soft-core brainteaser, which boasts grimy 70s New York atmosphere galore, an appearance by Warhol superstar Ondine, and a score by electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley.”

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PHOENIX, Christian Petzold

“In postwar Berlin, a disfigured concentration-camp survivor (Hoss), unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband (Zehrfeld) who might have betrayed her to the Nazis. Raising troubling questions about identity, self-delusion, and traumas both personal and historical, German auteur Petzold (Barbara, Yella) invokes Hitchcock’s masterpiece to gut-wrenching effect as he guides this spellbinding noir-melodrama to a shattering climax. Courtesy of Sundance Selects.”

Latest in Archive

Archive

Watch + Listen: SHAED’s New Single/Video ‘Once Upon a Time’ is Hauntingly Beautiful

Archive

A Monumental Woman: New Doc ‘Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own’ Tells the Story of One of Our Greatest Contemporary Sculptors

Archive

This Happened: Vanessa Paradis Arrives in Full Chanel to Deauville American Film Festival

Archive

Please Buy Restaurant Gift Certificates…NOW

Archive

Peter, Bjorn & John Will Do a 36-Hour Live Stream ‘Festival’ From INGRID Studio

Archive

Women’s History Month: DC’s Hamilton Hotel Unveils Timely ‘Suffrage Suite’

Archive

Kristen Stewart Gets Punky in New Jean Baptiste Mondino Shot Chanel Campaign

Archive

The Beginner’s Guide To Adding Art To Your Home