“The reek of human blood smiles out at me.”
The line, from the Greek tragedian Aeschylus’ trilogy, The Oresteia, haunted painter Francis Bacon over the course of his life. In 1944, the artist synthesized his nightmare into “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion,” a triptych that reimagined the Furies as a set of jagged mandibles bursting through splashes of red.
Like a nightmare whispered down the lane, “Three Studies” later inspired another artist, Ridley Scott, who coated them in obsidian for his 1979 masterpiece, “Alien.”
In “Memory – The Origins of Alien,” which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe travels into the nebula of behind-the-scenes “Alien” anecdotes to break down how the voices of Scott, sci-fi writer Dan O’Bannon, and artist H.R. Giger melded to create the iconic motion picture.
Straddling the line between behind-the-scenes documentary and modern video essay, “Memory – The Origins of Alien” is a deep, deep, deep dive into the film but rarely an information dump.
The joy of Philippe’s film is that it’s a stunning work of art in its own right.
Read the story at Polygon.
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