The Invisible Woman: "Rebecca", after an audiovisual essay by R.V. Lisboa

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José Bértolo


This article analyzes several aesthetic, narrative and theoretical topics firstly developed by Alfred Hitchcock in Rebecca (1940) and recently explored and reinvented by Ricardo Vieira Lisboa in his audiovisual essay some visual thoughts about perception in Rebecca (2020). Other specific works and references also come into play, such as the (original and derivative) novels of Daphne du Maurier and Ana Teresa Pereira, other films by Hitchcock, and Stanley Cavell’s conceptualization of the “unknown woman” in classical melodrama. In Hitchcock’s film, the topics under analysis here are narratively acted out in the characters of Rebecca and the unnamed protagonist played by actress Joan Fontaine. However, they also materialize theoretical aspects of the spectral ontology of cinema: i.e. the dynamics between absence and presence, invisibility and visibility, past and present, the dead and the living, perception and point of view, the indexicality and materiality of moving images.

Keywords: Absence, Audiovisual essay, Alfred Hitchcock, Invisibility, Ricardo Vieira Lisboa, Spectrality