Film scene analysis - psyco (1960)

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Carlotta Colacurcio Film Scene Analysis Psycho

One of the many factors which defines Psycho (1960) as a turning point in the way of making movies is the sense of engagement and identificationwhich the audience experiences, in different forms, during the whole movie. The structure of the narrative form, the use of new filming techniques and the drama of the representation of a split humanmind lead the audience to participate actively in the cinematic space of the movie. The scene of the murder of Detective Arbogast is a perfect representation of how every single shot evokes a preciseresponse in the mind of the viewer who, at this point of the movie, is still divided between two opposite forces: the good, played by the Detective who is seeking for the truth, and the evil,represented by the dark mystery which surrounds the Bates. The private space of the house is here invaded for the first time by the investigatorʼs external eyes which become symbolically the eyes of the viewer.Although the identification of the visual point of view, the fact that the audience already knows that Marion has been killed by the mysterious mother is what invests the scene with a deep suspensebecause, from the entrance of Arbogast into the house, we know that something is going to occur. The first shot shows him who is entering the house. The next shot shows the stairs which are the visuallimit on which the suspense of the entire scene is built. He is now looking around, a series of shots and reverse shots show the Detective and the direction in which he is looking: a corridor of theground floor, the stairs and a closed door. The attention is here drawn on the stairs: the stairs themselves and the way in which the eyes of Arbogast are directed towards the first floor of the house iswhat makes us understand

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that something is going to happen as soon as the Detective approaches to go up the stairs. A low camera angle shows the legs of Arbogast and then the point of view of...
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