Looking for Alfred
Johan Grimonprez (BE/UK 2005, 10:04 mins)
Obsessed with de/reconstructing our corrupted visions of media, celebrity and appearance, Johan Grimonprez assembled a bewildering gaggle of Hitchcock lookalikes. Together with Daragh Reeves, media artist Johan Grimonprez conceived the idea of casting Hitchcock look-a-likes, reminiscing Hitchcock's many cameo performances in his own films, such as that of the man who only just catches the bus in 'North by Northwest'. For a moment you see a fat man with a bowler hat, an umbrella and two small dogs, and then you see it: it is Hitchcock himself! Grimonprez elaborated on this concept; we see him at work in a white space, with various men who more or less resemble Hitchcock and who are being given a screen test. These images alternate with those of 'fictitious' spaces full of corridors, staircases, chandeliers and large drawing rooms (filmed in the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels), which, accompanied by the music, carry us back to the atmosphere of a Hitchcock film. In a slow, dreamlike, almost surreal choreography, the various 'Hitchcocks' meet each other, while surrounded by floating bowler hats, umbrellas, crows and a single blond woman. Meanwhile, by means of citations from François Truffaut's interviews with Hitchcock, the enigmatic Hitchcockian concept of 'McGuffin' is being explained to us.