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Eureka Street (2009) - Hitchcock's Easter Drama




The author recalls the Alfred Hitchcock's film 'The Wrong Man', which tells the story of a man arrested and tried for armed robbery in a case of mistaken identity. The protagonist's bewildered silence in the courtroom is compared with Jesus Christ's refusal to speak at his own trial. The author suggests that the Church should follow Jesus' example and not endorse the so-called values that determine contemporary social, political and economic structures.


Hitchcock's Easter drama

The films of Alfred Hitchcock are often regarded as a master class on the grotesqueries of Western society. To be sure, The Birds, Rear Window, Psycho, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope and even Marnie, all point to a kind of monstrous underbelly that disrupts the tranquility of everyday life.

But it was with his first attempt at cinematic realism, in an attempt to depict the true story of a wrongfully accused man, that Hitchcock managed to create a horror far worse than any Norman Bates.

In The Wrong Man, Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) is arrested in an unfortunate instance of mistaken identity and, with little or no explanation, is quickly arraigned on charges of armed robbery. The central sequence of the film follows Manny as he is led through the opaque, impersonal legal apparatus that will determine his fate.

In a particularly poignant moment, Manny, his face still fixed in a look of terrified bewilderment, clutches a silver crucifix and silently prays. All the while, lawyers spew their jargon-laden bile at one another as the uninterested jury talk among themselves.

The entire courtroom scene appears to Manny as simultaneously all-powerful and completely impersonal. It is in control of his life, and it couldn't care less. That's the obscenity of the entire ordeal. There is no slick dialogue or high courtroom drama — just the brutal enactment of an insane system convinced of its own rectitude.

Although it might seem a little strang...