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Cool Video Essay: Cameo

Not all directors stay behind the camera. Some big-name helmers have a tendency to slip in front of it and appear in their own movies. Hitchcock got the cameo down to an art, appearing (briefly and stealthily) in no less than 39 of his feature films. What motivates directors to put their faces, and not just their names, on the big screen? Is it a way to assert their authorship, or just a sign of a big ego? Are their appearances pragmatic or self-promotional?

This video essay by film student Stefanie Boesmans poses those exact questions, without venturing to give a definitive answer. She has collected footage from cameo appearances by half a dozen famous directors and turned it into a trailer for a nonexistent movie. The crescendo music, the editing, the exaggerated voice over… all these elements are tongue-in-cheek send-ups of the Hollywood trailer template.

Cameo from Filmscalpel on Vimeo.

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