Thursday, October 15, 2015

FAO CAA Yr 2: Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998) - Postmodern Art Piece Or Pointless Remake?

In 1998, director Gus Van Sant remade Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho - pretty much shot-for-shot, give or take a few additions, notably some subliminal cuts of seemingly random images.  It was universally panned by critics: Rotten Tomatoes states "Van Sant's pointless remake neither improves or illuminates Hitchcock's original."  It certainly seemed like an odd choice for a respected director, and an intelligent director at that.  Watching the remake is a very strange experience.  It feels familiar, of course, but also synthetic: it's Psycho-flavoured all right, but it isn't a real flavour; it's artificial and unsatisfying, as saccharine is to sugar.   One might be tempted to think the Psycho remake is a knowing art-house appropriation in the style of Sherrie Levine, who likewise enjoys disrupting existing legacies and superimposing parasite meanings on revered or especial cultural artefacts...

Pointless remake or another postmodern mind game?  Discuss!

Psycho (1998) Trailer

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