Vertigo – Areas for close study

These are the areas of close study that we are going to explore in Vertigo:

  1. Symbols & Motifs
    1. ‘There is an artificial cinematic quality about Vertigo which makes us question constantly what kind of film we are watching.’ How far can it be argued that this is a strength of Vertigo?
  2. Representation of Women
    1. ‘The representation of women in Vertigo demonstrates how far this is a film by a man for men.’ How far do you agree?
  3. Representation of Scottie.
    1. Explore some of the ways in which Hitchcock attempts to manage the audience response to Scottie as the narrative of Vertigo unfolds.
  4. Narrative
    1. Explore the importance of narrative structure in the development of key themes and ideas in Vertigo.
  5. Representation of Men / Themes / Power & Control
    1. How far do you agree that Vertigo is, to a significant extent, a film about control?
  6. Themes / Fantasy vs Reality / Representation of Men
    1. ‘Vertigo is a challenging exploration of male fantasy.’ How far do you agree with this view?
  7. Themes / Symbols
    1. Identify and discuss two elements of Vertigo which, in your view, contribute to the sense of strangeness the film conveys.
  8. Themes/ Genre – Death as attractive & frightening.
    1. ‘In Vertigo, death is represented as being simultaneously attractive and frightening.’ How is this evident in the cinematic style of Vertigo?

Please prepare a short presentation (using screenshots from the film) to explore the area of study you have been allocated. You will be making these presentations on Thursday and then redrafting based on feedback during your last lesson this week.

Here are a few examples of other questions that have come up in the past just for reference…

  1. Genre / Narrative
    1. Vertigo is a poorly made thriller with a ridiculous, unbelievable plot.’ How far do you agree with this view?
  2. Visual Motifs
    1. Discuss the significance of the recurring image of the spiral in Vertigo.
  3. Visual Motifs / Symbols
    1. ‘Above all else Vertigo is a celebration of visual storytelling.’ Discuss this statement with detailed reference to particular sequences from the film.
  4. Critical Reception / Response
    1. ‘For the first time, in 2012, Vertigo, made in 1958, was voted the ‘greatest film ever made’ by Sight and Sound magazine.’ Why should the film be so highly regarded today?
  5. Representation of Women
    1. Discuss the important themes and ideas Hitchcock explores in Vertigo through the use of the Madeleine/Judy character?

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