Following his acclaimed documentaries on PSYCHO (78/52), ALIEN (MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN) and THE EXORCIST (LEAP OF FAITH), Alexandre O. Philippe has become the go-to film essayist of iconic Hollywood cinematic benchmarks. In THE TAKING, he turns to Monument Valley for his latest inspiration.
The majestic vista of Monument Valley has long proved a fertile playground for countless filmmakers looking to capture a sense of grandeur in their work. But perhaps no one name is more synonymous with these sandstone buttes on the Arizona-Utah border than John Ford. Utilizing the filmmaker’s celebrated westerns as a central theme, Philippe’s fascinating documentary explores the ways in which cinema has transformed the location into an almost mythical landscape, imposing meaning on it and informing cultural perceptions in the process, while at the same time erasing Native American histories. As with all of Philippe’s work, THE TAKING is a cinephile’s dream, erudite yet accessible, and overflowing with passion and insight.