theme


MacGuffin as a bottle / a bottle as a MacGuffin

There are two men on a train. One says to the other: “What is that parcel you put on the luggage rack?” The other: “Oh that, it’s a MacGuffin.” Then the first one: “What’s a MacGuffin?”. The other: “It’s a device to catch the lions on the Adirondack Mountains.” The first one: “But there are no lions on the Adirondack.” So, the other ends: “So this isn’t a MacGuffin?”

Tarantino’s briefcases, Mulholland Drive’s blue box, Magritte’s and Giacometti’s magic objects, Monna Lisa’s smile.

The MacGuffin, a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock and a device he often used in his filmography, is an object that acts as a “driving force and the pretext for an intrigue,” something that seems to have a crucial importance and around which emphasis and action are created, but whose meaning is wrapped in mystery and is not fully understood by the observer.

Thus, a bottle captured in a scene becomes part of a narrative plot, fixed forever among the brushstrokes of an iconic work, imprinted in the memory of the protagonists and the public who is a visual, economic and actual consumer. It’s a central object for the scene but incomprehensible and disturbing in the eyes of the observer.

With a direct or indirect reference to well-known works, iconographic or imaginary cinematic memory, the theme proposed by CURA. for the Menabrea Prize 2017-2018 investigates the relationship between a single element, context, and spectator.