Calling all seekers, ponderers and evolvers!
|Hitch at home with one of his three works by Paul Klee.|
Something’s changed in the air (or is it the water?). 2020 has been a time of both reckoning and awakening. Maybe you’ve felt it too. Our civilization is in the midst of a sea change.
I’ve changed, too.
From the time I launched this blog in 2004 and especially following my presentations at The 39 Steps on Broadway in 2010, this blog and its companion Facebook community have helped keep me motivated to write some 200,000 words on this site—not to mention contributing to other books, magazines and online publications! I've enjoyed a fun side-hustle of lecturing at schools, colleges and civic groups around the country. And there are the lifelong friendships with film buffs, movie nerds, scholars and academics like you. I've even received some recognition along the way. In the last couple of years, I've shifted away from blogging to write, produce and direct an ongoing video project about Hitchcock.
Now I feel it’s time to open up the conversation. In this tumultuous era, to talk merely about Hitchcockiana and film trivia seems, well… trivial. His work deserves deeper consideration than the usual fan babble or even the steady outpouring of more highbrow—yet merely intellectual—work coming from academia.
Hitchcock’s films were insightful and prescient—if not outright prophetic. I mean that literally. If he were alive today, he'd no doubt be shocked—but not surprised—to see the world that we now inhabit. The return of authoritarianism disguised as populism, as presented in Topaz. The capitalized leprosy of fascism that he caricatured in The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1936) and The Lady Vanishes—reborn in far right movements around the world. Terrorism-as-public-spectacle, as sketched out in Sabotage. Decades of pollution and extractive industry that have provoked an environmental apocalypse, envisioned in The Birds. Sure, those issues were alive and well in his day, but he understood them more deeply than most—and his movies are as timely now as the day they premiered.
I also believe that Hitch saw artistic expression as as path out of this snowballing predicament. His favorite artist—the one he felt closest to in subject matter, themes and spirit—was Paul Klee. Klee dismissed “the crass emotional phase of Romanticism” in favor of a "cool Romanticism" that rejects the Romantic artist's heroic solitude in order to embrace the life force itself at "the source of creation,” adding:
“If, finally, I may be allowed to pursue these forces, so hostile to earth, until they embrace the life force itself, I will emerge from the oppressively pathetic [19th century] style to that Romanticism which is one with the universe.”—On Modern Art, Paul Klee, p. 43
Through his art, Klee was on a spiritual quest. I believe Hitchcock was on the same journey.* Maybe it was his Catholic upbringing. Maybe it was his passion for music, conceiving of his films in musical terms, keeping him in the flow of life. Maybe it was his meditative nature that prompted more than one observer to compare him to a Buddha. However he got there, I believe Hitch strived—like Klee—to tune in to the secret workings of mankind and to be one with the universe itself. There is, after all, a pronounced metaphysics to his cinema. For example:
- The Wrong Man: The synchronicity of Manny Balestrero’s prayer that as-if conjures up the real criminal.
- Vertigo: The ghostly apparition of the nun at Mission San Juan Bautista who “heard voices,” impelling Judy to fall to her predestined death.
- Family Plot: Blanche Tyler’s fourth-wall-breaking wink at the audience, intimating that she might be a genuine spirit medium concealed in charlatan’s clothes.
Moving beyond geekery
These are the ideas and topics I’ll be exploring more in my writing, videos and in the lively discussions we’re enjoying on Facebook. This marks a shift in tone. On social media, we’ll still commemorate Hitch & Company's birthdays and point out fun facts. But in this season of transformation let’s use Hitchcock’s cinema as a springboard to more expansive conversations. Here’s what you can expect:
- More discussion of ideas in pursuit of truth, beauty and evolution to an integrated state of consciousness.
- Occasionally, we might seemingly stray from Hitchcock to discuss philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical topics.
The topics will be wide ranging—yet there will always be a connection to Hitchcock, as his films all cover this ground so well. You can also expect me to open up more about my personal life, views and opinions—and you're warmly invited to do the same. Although I'm leading the discussion, we'll be travel buddies.
This new approach won’t be for everybody. Some members might even decide to leave the group. That’s okay, I wish them well. But if you’re a thinker and a seeker and you’re desirous of evolving into the kind of creature this 21st century planet needs (and you like Hitchcock movies), have I got a community for you! So I hope you’ll stick around. A great way to keep up with all our upcoming activities is with a free subscription to HitchGeek Magazine. Sign up!
*Really, aren’t we all on this journey?