Rea Tajiri: Hitchcock Trilogy, 1987

Rea Tajiri’s Hitchcock Trilogy, is composed of three short films based on scenes from Vertigo, Psycho, and Torn Curtain. Tajiri uses the soundtracks by Bernard Herman in each film to cue memories from the famous Hitchcock films. In Hitchcock Trilogy, the sound is separated from the picture, as the soundtracks by Bernard Herman are synced with a different and more minimalistic narrative than the original Hitchcock films. The music of Vertigo, is used in combination with a textual description of three postcards. Music from Psycho is put together with a static shot of these two women and Hermans unused score for Torn Curtain, can be heard while there is a montage showing a consecutive closing of curtains, borrowed from other films.

  • Created from a pastiche of cinematic, newsreel, animation and television images that are set against Bernard Hermann’s evocative score, the “endless beginnings” of Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain reveals a continuous series of curtains opening.
  • Vertigo recounts three stories, allegedly based on postcard reproductions of Giuditta, a painting by Cristofano Allori; a photo of Lu Hsun on his way to deliver a speech at Kwanghua University, Shanghai, in 1927; and a photo of a jewel box made by Archibald Knox around 1900. No images appear; the viewer sees Tajiri’s narratives as written texts that scroll down the screen.
  • In Psycho, the photographic image of two women is evocatively transformed through subtle transmutations of gesture and movement.


(Two Women from Psycho)

Watch 30 seconds of Psycho

“On the surface, Rea Tajiri’s work reads like the standard deconstruction of appropriated popular media via text to which we have grown accustomed in the ’80s. But this is a work of remarkable evocation and resonance that counterpoints and complements the scores of Hitchcock films with ‘meta-narrative’ possibilities….In each, Tajiri ‘mirrors the mirror’—she departs from her own subjective perception rather than the original, and creates a new scenario.” —Michael Nash, Reconstructed Realms (Long Beach Museum of Art, 1989)



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