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9 Apr 2012
Vertigo April 1st 2009.
Vertigo summarizes major themes in this english course.
Waiting is an awareness of being brough on by the absense of doing Vertigo opens in a hyperbolic
doing. Its an active shot. You see an iron bar in the first shot dissecting the screne. Before though
we see the shot of teh bar, we see credits coming out of a womens eye. The credit sequence is a
womens face with very expertly applied make up, a beautful womens face, close up, not even the
whole face is seen, then the camera pulls back as the credits come out of her eye in a swirl. the
woman is give a certain role, a particular position. she seems to be taht which can generate a
sense of coherence, and that which can degenereate. Her eyes are give remarkable privledge in
teh opening shot. she is teh source of balance or dizziness. Now women are not like that but that
is often how they get culturally constructed and that is an idea taht came up with Plath, that
femininity is an impossible construct, and masculinity is an impossible construct. They are both
impossible in a relationship that generates the illusion that each is possible. so you have two
impossible constructions leaning on each other taht can only believe in their own possibilities in
relation to the impossiblity of what they're leanign on. So rigth from the outset, femininity and
masculinity two constructs that can only come int o being in realtion to the other, and niether is
there. reality is an effect of realtionship. masculinty is not the same as feminitity; masculinity and
femininity are mutually constituted. they each call teh other into being. masclunity and feminity is
an mascurade. each mascurade is designed to permit the illusion of a reality on the part of the
other. masculinity is a confusion mascarde cuz its a mascuratde taht should nto be a mascurade.
Masclunity is simply being (as western patriarchal culture defines it). its supposedly natural. the
only way masculinity can pose as natural is if femininity is a performance. femininity is a
performance that permits an illusory belief in an essential masculinity. For instance, you are at a
party and ur a guy in the kitchen, and a women comes along gives you a jar and says "i cant open
this can you open this" then it get really quiet cuz now you've called this mans entire being into
question. Its a matter between you and your own conscience whether you could open teh jar or
not. maybe you just wanted to start a conversation with the guy. so why not just say "I cant open
this, can you" THen teh guy tries to open the jar, struggles, gives the impression he has not
started yet (so true!!), and then he opens teh jar and gives it back saying "Here baby, got any
more jars for me. I do jars"...that was a performance! Cosmopolitan is a handbook on how to
perform as feminine. get him to talk about himself. get him to feel he is important. its the same
problem that madeline and judy have, madeline is teh women that Gavin Elster creates using judy
as a lure for Johnny, scottie, mr. ferguson, johnny O; this guy has identitiy issues, he has 5
names! noone seems to call him the same thing twice. when he rescuse judy from teh bay, whose
pretending to be madeline, this insane desendent of carlata valdez who many years ago had gone
mad cuz she was discarded as a mistress by a powerful sanfransico tycoon around the turn of the
centruy. He bought her a house, which is not a hotel where madeline goes to stare out of teh
window on a daily basis when she goes makes ehr rounds. Rounds that Galvin elster has already
designed to fit into the story he's already told scottie that he thinks his wife is being taken over by
the ghost of Carlata Valdez that she is approaching the day taht the child of carlada valdez killed
herself and he is afraid that carlata valdez is going to get his wife madeline to kill herself too. So
he hires scottie since he knows his work as a detective, to trail his wife aadn figure out wats going
on, and to try to prevent her from harm. this of course is gavin elsters plot, he is already married
to another woman, named madeline elster, who presumably, we dont know, looks something like
what he makes judy look like. it doesnt matter cuz we never see teh real madeline elster cuz
gavin elster's plot he married into money, he married into a shippig business, he wants to get rid
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of his wife but he wants to keep teh money. that is not going to happen if he divorces her. but it'll
happen if he kills her and gets away with it. so galvin elster has this murder plot where he gets
judy to dress up like madeline he will coach her so she can pretend to be this dreamy, distrubed
person. He will then hire a detective to follow her around, with one catch, he doesnt hire any
detective, he hires a detective taht he reads about in the news paper, and who has a fear of
hieghts who cant go up stairs past a certain point. and then gavin elster workds that into his
murder plot cuz the sotry is that madeline is going to jump off the top of the Sam Batista Mission
and he doesnt tell Scottie that part. but he knows that Scottie wont be able to follow her up there.
so wat he wants to do is stage the suicide of his wife. now his wife is not going to ablidge him by
killing herself so he can all her money, so what he can do is have her appear and have someone
other than him testify that his wife jumped. So he kills his wife and he is already waiting at the
top of the roof with his dead wife, and he is waiting for judy dressed as madeline to get tot eh top
of teh roof knowing that scottie wont be able to get to the top of teh roof. once judy/madeline
gets to teh top of teh roof, he tosses the dead body of his wife dressed like judy, has that women
go past the window, so have scottie believe he witnessed the suicide of madeline elster. it works
very well. at the inquite. Everyone believes that madeline, gavins wife, commited suicide,
including scottie who goes into a catatonic state and is institutionalised. cuz in following madeline
all over San Fransicso, he has fallen in love with her. which possibly gavin elster planned. what
gavin elster that scottie doesnt, that scottie is a man in an emotional crisis. Frasoui Trufo teh
great french director has an interview with Hitchcock the Vetigo director and said 'verito is unique
amongst ur work. Its so slow ans dreamy. this are winding this way and that way. it is different
from ur other moves that are so sharp and suspenseful, etc." That is only natural cuz we are
tellint the story from the point of view of a man with an emotional crisis. we have to read this
movie in waht appears to be realistic and it seems to insist on its realism and on another level,
the whol movie seems like a draem and then a nightmare. it seems to have no reason at all. This
reminds us of the balcony. What is fantasy. What is raelity in this movie? Scottie is in love iwth
Madeline Elster, Madeline Elster is Judy. there is no madeline elsters, so scottie is in love with a
women who does nto exist. Judy, int he course of being madeline elster, has fallen in love with
scottie. so who the hell is he hugging? Is he hugging judy pretending to be madeline on
instructions to act like she loves him. or is this Judy who is now in love with him, who happens to
be dressed as madeline? in eiteher case it doesnt matter cuz he assumes she is madeline. so what
happens when judy, locked behind the mascarde of madeline falls in love with scottie, who loves
her mascarade? and now we are solidly in the world of teh Bell jar. ester greenwood is also
doreen. Judy is also madeline. Doreen is blonde and hot. Madeline is blonde and hot. Ester and
Judy are insecure and they dont mascarade as much. And then we have Midge, who is very name
is not designed to set ur heart aflutter. Midge has the implication of midget someohow. but teh
thing about midge....there is nothing the matter with midge. She just doesn or is not that into teh
mascarade thing. and she and scottie have a very good 'friendship' and its a very storng
friendship cuz neither mascarades. If you notice, when he is there, he loungs around, he is not all
tense as he is whenever he is near madeline. so he goes there to relax. i dont think Midge is
actaully as relaed as him, I think Midge is in love with him in someway. he doesnt seem to see her
as a women. he is very cavaleir wit her. he tells her interesting things such sa "we used to be
engaged once." and the camera movements that Kitchcock does is constnatnly offering a subtext
to is being said. Hitchcock is a genius at making the visuals of the movie contracdice the dialogue.
so that when scottie casually says "we were engaged once, 3 whole weeks" Suddenly you get a
tight oblique angle close up of Midges faces looking up very alertly. this is not very casually. what
happened when they were engaged for 3 weeks. We dont know. they obviouls have not gone
back to that point. did he have a break down back then? midge seems to remember some kind of
history that he's denying. at one point Midge keeps saying 'what re u going to do' cuz she knows
that he does not know how to be. He chases criminals all day, that is what he does. He doesnt
seem to appreciate the peril he has but himself into, he has quite his job, and his job is the only
thing that holds him together. She knows that she keeps hinting: 'you dont have to retire from
teh police force, they will give you a desk job" and he makes a joke out of that and says 'what if
im reaching for my pencil and suddenly i get dizzy.' We realize one part of teh attraction to Midge
is that she is a mother figure. and of course to the degree that she is a mother figure, the only
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