As this site’s biggest Brian De Palma fan — though certainly not the only one; we strive to be just a bit respectable, after all — it’s with great pleasure that I link to three video essays that, given their format, focus on the most essential component of a De Palma picture. His oeuvre, alternately complex and clear-headed — the kind where Mission to Mars and The Untouchables can be thought of in similar terms, so long as you do a bit of necessary connecting — has opened itself up to these kinds of studies for years, yet it feels as if this sort of thing, as presented here, is a bit overdue; looking at them, however, I’m nevertheless encouraged. (Maybe a bit reminded of my own laziness for not taking a crack at this myself, while we’re at it.)
The first is “[De Palma’s] Vision,” a piece by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin that, as posted on Notebook, looks to “not merely [enumerate] the abundant motifs and structures in his work, but also [bring] them together and [draw] out their unfolding logic—unfolding both within each film, and across his whole career.” It’s a genuinely stirring work, much like “Brian De Palma Shot By Shot,” wherein the most-acclaimed sequence from The Untouchables is assessed, Cinema Studies-style, through the specifics of each shot. (You know it’s a fine sequence, yes, but even those who’ve seen it many a time will find new things to appreciate.) Finally, there’s “The Art of Brian De Palma,” which, though certainly less of a dive than the other two, is a nice montage of the director’s more obvious, hugely enjoyable flourishes.
Watch all of these, then track down all the good-to-great De Palma pictures you’ve yet to see; I’m sure there are enough.
What did you make of the video essays? Do they increase your appreciation of De Palma?
Certain Women is an ensemble piece that features Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart in prominent roles, and so it’s a surprise when the runaway success may be Lily Gladstone, a relative newcomer most prominently seen in Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P. and this year’s Buster’s Mal Heart — the latter of which has yet to even receive […]
Latest posts from The Film Stage