The latest episode of Screen Crusades with Ryan J. Downey welcomes filmmaker and documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe for an extensive discussion on the influence and cultural impact of The Exorcist.
Philippe's most recent feature length project, Leap of Faith, takes an in-depth look at the genesis and execution of one of cinema's most enduring entires directly from the man that directed it, William Friedkin.
During his conversation with Downey, the director discussed how his previous examination of legendary shower scene in Psycho with his 78/52 documentary, (the shower scene in Psycho famously featured 78 different shots and 52 different cuts to create the finished product) began a line of communication between he and Friedkin.
An eventual invitation to lunch would lead to Philippe then gaining access for six days with Friedkin to offer the same academic treatment, only this time the focus was on the cultural achievement that is, The Exorcist.
Confiding that he had not watched the film until he was an adult, Philippe's meticulous preparation exemplifies a sense of reverence for the film as much more than a landmark in pop culture, but rather a sincere artistic achievement.
Grouping the film into a category with the likes of The Shining and Psycho, both Philippe and Downey discussed how these types of films don't just bolster the genre, they have a transformative quality to them that make the film definitive setting them apart from their genre.
Fans know the shower scene before they watch Psycho. Fans know the famous line, "Here's Johnny" from Jack Nicholson rather than Johnny Carson. In that same vein, The Exorcist shaped culture in a way that made the film resonate as much more than just a movie. To watch it was a rite of passage, an experience that has to be completed before you die, and that serves as a testament to the vision and storytelling ability of Friedkin.
Furthering that conversation, Philippe's Leap of Faith takes an almost scholarly approach in how it explores Friedkin's methodology in making the film. The result was such a genuine tribute to the director's creative contribution, that Friedkin shared with Philippe that the documentary made him better the he was - the words from his mentor were enough to move Philippe to tears while reading the message.
Watch the latest episode of Screen Crusades with Ryan Downey and director Alexandre O. Philippe below.