Monday, 11 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 217: Fri Aug 5

Body Double (De Palma, 1984): Picturehouse Central, 6.30pm


To celebrate the release of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon Picturehouse Cinemas have teamed up with the director for an exclusive season of films that inspired him.  Body Double, Brian De Palma's underrated mid-1980s Hitchcockian thriller, is screening at a number of different venues tonight and you can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
It pains me to say it, but I think Brian De Palma has gotten a bad rap on this one: the first hour of this thriller represents the most restrained, accomplished, and effective filmmaking he has ever done, and if the film does become more jokey and incontinent as it follows its derivative path, it never entirely loses the goodwill De Palma engenders with his deft opening sequences. Craig Wasson is an unemployed actor who is invited to house-sit a Hollywood Hills mansion; he becomes voyeuristically involved with his beautiful neighbor across the way, and witnesses her murder. Those who have seen Vertigo will have solved the mystery within the first 15 minutes, but De Palma's use of frame lines and focal lengths to define Wasson's point of view is so adept that the suspense takes hold anyway. De Palma's borrowings from Hitchcock can no longer be characterized as hommages or even as outright thievery; his concentration on Hitchcockian motifs is so complete and so fetishized that it now seems purely a matter of repetition compulsion. But Body Double is the first De Palma film to make me think that all of his practice is leading at least to the beginnings of perfection.
Dave Kehr 


If you want to read more about this movie there's Susan Dworkin's Double De Palma, an on-the-set account of the making of the film, plus a very thoughtful chapter in Misogyny in the Movies: the De Palma Question by Kenneth Mackinnon. Manuela Lazic has also written about the movie in a recent blog piece for The Film Stage.

Here (and above) is an extract.

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