“Love, What Have You Done to Me?” Eros and agape in Alfred Hitchcock’s I Confess

  • Author(s): Catherine M. O'Brien
  • When: 2014-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • Despite its pre-Vatican II setting, Alfred Hitchcock’s I Confess (1953) has retained a notable relevance in the twenty-first century. Although the titular act of confession is unsurprisingly significant, the diegesis actually foregrounds Matrimony and Holy Orders – two sacraments that remain under the spotlight during a tumultuous era for the Catholic Church. Alongside the traditional Hitchcockian theme of “an innocent man wrongly accused,” the plot really hinges on love – a subject that is intelligible to people of all religions and none. While examining the mise-en-scène of the director’s most Catholic film, this article offers an exploration of I Confess as a cinematic reflection on the complexities of eros and agape for both the laity and the priesthood.

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