A Video Essay
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) and Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) within weeks of each other as part of two separate courses at Middlebury, the former film as part of a course dedicated exclusively to Hitchcock’s body of work.
Since the two films were made within a year of each other, they often draw comparison, especially since a foreboding mansion is central to both: in Rebecca, it’s Maxim DeWinter’s Manderley, and in Citizen Kane, it’s Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu. The similarities between the films’ beginnings and especially their endings is tought to miss:
The above comparison is taken from Rob Stone’s video essay “No Trespassing: From Manderley to Xanadu,” in which he puts the beginnings and endings of both films side by side to illustrate their similarities, and how we enter both stories by trespassing.
As part of a videographic criticism course I took this fall, I responded to Stone’s essay with a video essay of my own, which I gave the incredibly original title, “Trespassing: From Manderley to Xanadu.”
The idea for this essay came after watching Stone’s essay and wondering, what happens when we trespass, when we go beyond the gates and explore the halls and grounds of Manderley and Xanadu?
What appeals to me most about the videographic form is its emphasis on exploration. The creation of this essay took place almost entirely in Adobe Premiere, that is, I simply uploaded both films to the program and explored. The side by side comparisons you see in this essay are not making a specific argument, nor are they explicitly saying something about character, theme, the directors, etc. Rather, they’re simply shots that reminded me of one another. The only definitive commonalities between them all are that they take place within the gates of Manderley and Xanadu.
Feedback is appreciated: