Double Take

Johan Grimonprez is a Belgian artist and filmmaker whose works often address the effect the media has on our perception of reality. His 2009 film Double Take depicts Alfred Hitchcock, on the set of his 1962 film The Birds, as he inexplicably meets a doppelganger of himself from 1980 the year which Hitchcock died. The two Hitchcocks have a conversation which is marked by a deep paranoia as both are afraid of what the other may do. Primary themes in Double Take include the fear of the unknown/future, as well as the paranoia surrounding the Cold War and the television’s effect on it.

I believe that there are three primary reasons why Grimonprez chose to center his film around Alfred Hitchcock and The Birds. First, The Birds depicted a deadly threat to humanity coming down from the skies, which was a popular way of depicting Communist Russia’s threat to America. Second, The Birds was released in 1962, which was arguably the height of Cold War paranoia, as the Cuban Missile Crisis took place around this time. Third, The Birds was the last great critical and commercial success Hitchcock would have before his career would take a downturn, giving Hitchcock a very good reason to fear his future.

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