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The Summer of De Palma: A Career-Spanning Retrospective

Written by on June 17, 2016 


Bringing up Brian De Palma as if he’s still some kind of marginalized or misunderstood figure is now heavily contentious, not just in the sense that “the discussion” has, with the presence of the Internet, become so heavily splintered that every figure has at least seem some form of reappraisal, but in that this is being discussed on the occasion of a new documentary and retrospectives in New York, Chicago, Austin, and Toronto (the lattermost of which this symposium will be timed to). Yes, the line has probably tipped past “divisive,” but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for debate.

It’s not hard to understand why De Palma’s work strikes a cord with a new cinephilia fixated on form and vulgarity. Though, in going film-by-film — taking us from political diatribes against America to gonzo horror to gangster films your parents watch to strange European co-productions — De Palma can seemingly be stuck in certain periods, an ultimate slave to whatever few liberties might be provided by the Hollywood system. And to explore these contradictions is to see what makes the man the artist he is.

All summer long we’ll be discussing his films with articles for each feature. Bookmark this page and see below for updates as they come in.

Murder à la Mod (1986) by Eric Barroso

Murder a La mod

Greetings (1968) by Ethan Vestby

Greetings 2

The Wedding Party (1969) by Dan Mecca

The Wedding Party

Hi, Mom! (1970) by Audrey Smith

Hi Mom 2

Dionysus in ’69 (1970) by Nate Fisher

Dionysus in 69

Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972) by Michael Snydel


Sisters (1973) by Tony Hinds

Sisters 2

Phantom of the Paradise (1974) by Jacob Oller

Phantom of the Paradise

Obsession (1976) by Samuel Adelaar

Obsession 3

Carrie (1976) by Willow Maclay


The Fury (1978) by Nick Newman

The Fury 2

Home Movies (1980) by Matt Burch


Dressed to Kill (1980) by Michael Snydel

Dressed to Kill 2

Blow Out (1981) by Jordan Raup

Blow Out 2

Scarface (1983) by Brian Roan

Scarface 2

Body Double (1984) by Manuela Lazic

Body Double 2

Wise Guys (1986) by Conor O’Donnell

Wise Guys 1

The Untouchables (1987) by Brian Roan

The Untouchables

Casualties of War (1989) by Ethan Vestby


The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) by Jonah Jeng


Raising Cain (1992) by Christopher Small

Raising Cain 1

Carlito’s Way (1993) by Dan Mecca

Carlitos Way 2

Mission: Impossible (1996) by Conor O’Donnell

Mission Impossible 2

Snake Eyes (1998) by Ty Landis

Snake Eyes 2

Mission to Mars (2000) by Ian Barr

Mission to Mars 1

Femme Fatale (2002) by Veronika Ferdman


The Black Dahlia (2006) by Sarah Freeman

The Black Dahlia 1

Redacted (2007) by Nick Newman


Passion (2012) by Brian Roan

Passion 1

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