The tip from David Hudson and GreenCine Daily is that Slant magazine is getting the ball rolling toward the September 15 release of Brian De Palma's latest film, The Black Dahlia, in a big way—they’re coordinating a symposium of critical writing designed to provide a more-or-less all-encompassing look back at the director’s fascinating, troubling and sometimes troubled oeuvre. (Personally, I’m looking forward to someone taking another look at Wise Guys and The Bonfire of the Vanities. Seriously. I'm curious.)
De Palma has always had a love/hate relationship with the critical establishment, one whose fires he often stoked himself. According to Eric Henderson, “The more critics got on De Palma's kinky nuts, the more he was provoked to act out his own worst (and by "worst," I mean best) impulses. Not unlike Carrie bringing down holy hell upon her classmates to the tune of "Plug it up! Plug it up!," De Palma's oeuvre owes at least some part of its brash vitality to the destructivism his critics sparked in the director's bruised ego. When modern critics attuned to his wavelength dare to make analogies to other auteurs, they don't name check Hitchcock. They go straight to Godard. With all apologies to Scorsese, Coppola, and those other guys, there's only one American director capable of creating a work of hate art as excoriating as Weekend.”
I can’t wait to start digging into what Slant is going to be coming up with the next few weeks. You can get started on Slant’s series entitled “Auteur Fatale: The Films of Brian De Palma” right here. And if that’s not enough to slake your thirst, check out Peter Nellhaus on The Wedding Party, Girish on The Fury, That Little Round-Headed Boy on Mission to Mars (thanks, TLRHB), and the spectacularly complete De Palma a la Mod for absolutely everything else.
(And thanks also to Eric for the wonderful shot of Sissy Spacek that I cribbed for this post from his terrific blog When Canses Were Classeled. Eric, I hope you’ll forgive my shameless pilfering, but that’s absolutely my favorite frame of that shot of Carrie White, immediately pre-telekinetic explosion. Someday, when I finally get my screen-grabbing program up and running, maybe I can return the favor?)