Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist (2019)

A lyrical and spiritual cinematic essay on The Exorcist 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. The film unpacks Friedkin’s filmmaking process focusing here exclusively on The Exorcist, a mystery of faith inspired – according to Friedkin – by C. T. Dreyer’s 1955 drama Ordet.

Friedkin talks a great about ‘rosebud moments’ and ‘grace-notes’ during this engaging documentary which draws on his wide taste in culture and art. Regan’s makeup was inspired by the Belgian surrealist Ensor’s paintings of masks. Magritte is also an influence, the artist’s Empire of Light giving the film its iconic image. Moments of truth such as in Cartier Bressons’ photos and Caravaggio’s tortured figures were also an inspiration. Friedkin’s way of lighting the sides of his character’s faces was taken from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Particularly Vermeer’s View of Delft in 17th century. He describes the scene with the white-robed nuns walking by as one the grace notes in this otherwise grim film. Grace notes are the lovely things you remember forever, and are more significent than the larger events.

Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Finnish
  • Distribution: NonStop Entertainment
  • Cinematography: Robert Muratore
  • Editing: David Lawrence
  • Music: Jon Hegel, Anthony Weeden
  • Sound: Leslie Gaston

Collaboration