Alexandre O. Philippe has already explored classic horror films with his documentaries 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene and Memory: The Origins of Alien, and now he’s done it again with Leap of Faith. This latest doc delves into The Exorcist, William Friedkin’s iconic classic about a little girl possessed by a demonic force. There have already been several documentaries devoted to The Exorcist, but Leap of Faith takes a cue from Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s documentary De Palma by sticking with one source: William Friedkin. Leap of Faith has been making the festival circuit and is now headed to Shudder.
Leap of Faith Trailer
Leap of Faith is described as a “lyrical and spiritual cinematic essay” on The Exorcist that “explores the uncharted depths of William Friedkin’s mind’s eye, the nuances of his filmmaking process, and the mysteries of faith and fate that have shaped his life and filmography.” And it’s not your typical documentary with multiple interviewees. Instead, this is the William Friedkin show, with Friedkin sitting down with director Alexandre O. Philippe and discussing his career, but mostly discussing The Exorcist.
I caught the film at Sundance this year, and wrote:
With Leap of Faith, Philippe says that he wanted to make a “personal, intimate chamber film, and to reveal the real, raw, introspective Friedkin; unencumbered by the lore, tall tales, and mythologies that we are all too familiar with,” and adds that he “watched the film for 30 days straight, and ended up conducting an epic 6-day one-on-one interview.”
Philippe keeps things interesting by cutting in footage not just of The Exorcist, but from many of Friedkin’s other films, including Sorcerer and Killer Joe. Footage from Citizen Kane, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more, also get some attention. It all works well, but when compared to 78/52 and Memory, Leap of Faith feels oddly muted, even simplistic. For those who have next to no knowledge about the making of The Exorcist, Leap of Faith may be eye-opening indeed. But for those of us who know these stories inside and out, Leap of Faith may be a bit redundant, but it’s never dull.
In other words, if you’re well-versed on the lore of the making of The Exorcist, don’t expect to find anything groundbreaking here. But The Exorcist is such a fascinating film, and Friedkin is such a good storyteller, that even those who know all these stories by heart are bound to get a kick out of the doc.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be working with the exceptional team at Shudder to bring Leap of Faith to an audience of such savvy, passionate fans of genre cinema. Without a doubt — this is a perfect home and partnership for our film,” said Alexandre O. Philippe.
“Leap of Faith continues our commitment to bringing the best programming about horror, thriller and the supernatural to our members,” added Craig Engler, Shudder General Manager. “Alexander has created an unparalleled look at one of the greatest horror films of all time, giving viewers direct access to William Friedkin in this can’t-miss documentary.”
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