Schizoanalysis and Hitchcock: Deleuze and The Birds



Publication Details

Buchanan, I. 2002, 'Schizoanalysis and Hitchcock: Deleuze and The Birds', Strategies: Journal of Theory, Culture and Politics, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 105-118.


Sometimes chaos is an immense black hole in which one endeavours to fix a fragile point as a centre. (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus)

I doubt one could find an area of research more thoroughly blighted by what Deleuze and Guattari only half-jokingly call “interpretosis” than Hitchcock studies. Long a kind sacred touchstone for psychoanalytic film critics, Hitchcock is a veritable red flag to the hypersensitive Deleuzist, or at least he should be. Yet Deleuzians have so far been comparatively silent on the matter, perhaps because Deleuze himself didn’t see fit to challenge the hegemonic hold psychoanalysis has on Hitchcock. In this respect, one cannot but rue the fact that he didn’t collaborate with Guattari on the film books as well. It is difficult to believe he would have been able to resist so ripe a target. His complaints against Freud—that he didn’t listen to his patients, that he saw Oedipus everywhere he looked, that he reduced everything to mommy, daddy and me—would be redoubled with respect to certain of Hitchcock’s critics. Likewise, his complaint against Lacan, that he attributed everything to lack as the fundamental cause, would be redoubled with respect to certain of Hitchcock’s critics. In this regard, the task for Deleuzism is clear: overturn the psychoanalytic readings of Hitchcock. In what follows, then, taking Slavoj Zizek’s reading of The Birds as my focal point, I shall attempt to blaze a path for what must ultimately be an enormous labor of re-reading, by sketching out a few of the basic coordinates for a schizoanalysis of Hitchcock.

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