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Author: Henri de Corinth

Watch Closely: Brian de Palma’s Surveillance States, 1965–1984

Multiple dimensions of surveillance combine as a medium in the films of Brian de Palma. The first two decades of his career — spanning roughly from 1965 to 1984 — routinely grapple with the notion of surveillance and counter-surveillance. “Surveillant” and “counter-surveillant” are more appropriate distinctions for De Palma’s oeuvre at that time than the more commonly used “voyeuristic.” “Voyeurism” carries overt psychosexual connotations and ontologies relative to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, as writing on De Palma so often acknowledges. It is impossible to properly view De Palma’s films made at that time without first understanding precisely where...

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