Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window (1954), shot almost entirely from one room, focuses largely on what it means to observe and what it means to participate. As observers, we are watching, and as participants, we are engaging. But what happens when watching becomes participation? L.B. Jefferies, a temporarily disabled photographer, uses his apartment’s rear window to gaze into his neighbors’ lives. Jefferies, deriving pleasure from watching others, is a passive voyeur, but we must ask ourselves: are we any different? Watching a film and peeking through a neighbor’s window are both forms of active viewing. Through a clever use of continuous editing and cinematography, Hitchcock shows the audience just how voyeuristic they, like Jefferies, really are.
Alexander Hubers, ’15
Sponsor: Michelle Mouton