To the list of incredible documentaries about the mythos of moviemaking (Room 237, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Jodorowsky’s Dune), you need to add another must-see.
78/52 is a deep, engaging analysis by director Alexandre O. Philippe (Doc of the Dead, The People vs. George Lucas) of the immortal shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The title refers to the number of shots and cuts in the famous sequence, wherein thief Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) is repeatedly stabbed in her motel room by a knife-wielding intruder.
The documentary explores the scene from multiple angles, focusing on its complicated technical aspects and its huge impact on the culture and the future of movies. We also hear from big fans of Psycho, including director Guillermo del Toro (that’s his voice at the end of the trailer), American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, director Peter Bogdonovich, and Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Leigh) and Osgood Perkins (son of the movie’s star, Anthony Perkins).
“78/52 is the result of a lifelong passion for Alfred Hitchcock, and his obsessive search for the ultimate cinematic trick,” Philippe tells EW. “The shower scene is a watershed cultural moment, the most important scene in the history of motion pictures, the culmination of decades of experimentation for Mr. Hitchcock, and the purest expression of his absolute mastery of the art and craft of filmmaking. That scene is a joy to discover, and endlessly rediscover, because it contains countless mysteries and secrets, and ceaselessly challenges us to think about film as art in new and exciting ways.”
Philippe adds, “It remains as vibrant and relevant today as it was in 1960, profoundly influential, and worthy of debate. 78/52 isn’t just for film buffs and hardcore Hitchcock fans. It was designed as an accessible and engaging tribute to the greatest scene ever made, and should entertain anyone interested in the magic of the creative process — even those who haven’t yet experienced the greatness of Psycho.”
Check out the exclusive trailer above. 78/52 will be out in theaters, VOD, and on all digital platforms via IFC Midnight on Oct. 13.