The Exorcist according to William Friedkin: a captivating dissection from the cult film, to watch on VOD

The Exorcist according to William Friedkin
UFO Distribution

This documentary by Alexandre O. Philippe details William Friedkin’s passionate relationship with his masterpiece.

Will you take a little docu on William Friedkin? A few months after the invigorating Friedkin Uncut, which recounted by the menu the explosive career of “Hurricane Billy”, here is already another, entirely devoted this one to the “greatest hit” of the filmmaker, The Exorcist, mega-box of the year 1973, gigantic phenomenon of society and totem of horror cinema. A priori, we agree, watch yet another documentary on The Exorcist does not look like an absolute cinephile priority… Because we are talking here, after all, of one of the most documented and commented films in the history of cinema. Its production has been examined from every angle: articles by the thousands, books, making-of, audio comments, not to mention the dozens of pages devoted to it in the autobiography. Friedkin Connection, the BBC documentary The Fear of God

But the director Alexandre O. Philippe, in reality, does not seek at all to offer a sum of knowledge (or urban legends) on The Exorcist. Which will not surprise those who know the work of Philippe, one of the most original and interesting documentary filmmakers and historians of the moment – we owe him a film on the love-hate relationship between George Lucas and the fans. of Star wars (The People vs. George lucas) and another, named 78/52obsessively peeling the shower scene from Psychosis.

David Gordon Green (Halloween Kills) prepares the sequel to The Exorcist

Alexandre O. Philippe has chosen to give free rein to the words of William Friedkin, the one and only guest of his documentary. Friedkin, as we know, is an outstanding storyteller, an extraordinary showman, knowing how to captivate an audience like no one else. He enjoys returning here to the crazy provocations of the film, the madness of his shooting, his brutality towards his actors … The anecdotes are known, he knows that we paid to see it. But there is more at stake here than the usual Friedkin’s number. During the hour and forty minutes that lasts Leap of faith (its original title), we are invited to examine the intimate relationship between an artist and his flagship work.

The filmmaker tells the story of the inspiration that falls on him in a flash (“I saw the whole movie go by in my head”) and which will make it run with “the confidence of the sleepwalker” – an expression borrowed from Fritz Lang. He details the composition of his shots, the meticulousness of each choice of staging, citing his multiple sources of inspiration (from Resnais and Dreyer to Magritte and Vermeer) with fascinating erudition and eloquence. Friedkin, nearly half a century later, continues to maintain a totally passionate relationship with his film, this reflection on the mystery of faith which will have unleashed in him a torrent of insane visions. His monster chat, which mixes the sensibility of the visionary artist and the cunning of a fair barker, is all the more striking as Alexandre O. Philippe offers him here a very elegant setting, punctuated by film extracts (Psychosis, A passion, 2001…), Selected sparingly. By favoring purity and simplicity, choosing to linger on very precise aspects of the film as we study the detail of a masterpiece, he underlines the depth of this totem of modern cinema and signs an intoxicating ode to the film. creative act. Who said there was nothing more to tell about The Exorcist ?

The Exorcist according to William Friedkin (Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist), by Alexandre O. Philippe, on VOD.

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