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Obsession (1976)

Obsession (1976)

(p.81) Chapter 9 Obsession (1976)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen
Douglas Keesey
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter delves into an analysis of a more classic Hitchcock suspense thriller in De Palma's Obsession (1976). It considers the movie's themes of the value of love and money, as well as the idolatrous obsessions of a deceased loved one, and the tensions this creates within a family as a mirror to De Palma's own relationship with his parents. Like the character of Sandra (Genevieve Bujold), the young De Palma tended to idealize his mother and to demonize his father. De Palma's father had compounded his workaholic “desertion” by sleeping with a nurse at the office, which led to a suicide attempt on the part of De Palma's mother. The comparisons, however, extend beyond the trope of the avenging child, moving forward to a more mature understanding of a one-sided, childish perception De Palma and Sandra's fathers.

Keywords:   Obsession, incest, avenging child, Anthony De Palma, Vivienne De Palma, disillusionment, familial relationships

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