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Brian De Palma's Split-ScreenA Life in Film$
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Douglas Keesey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628466973

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628466973.001.0001

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Dionysus in ’69 (1970)

Dionysus in ’69 (1970)

(p.37) Chapter 4 Dionysus in ’69 (1970)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen

Douglas Keesey

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines Dionysus in '69 (1970), De Palma's filmic record of a Greek tragedy, which bears thematic relations to the two comedies, Greetings (1968) and Hi, Mom! (1970), that he shot before and after it. It asserts that the theme of voyeurism and a self-reflexive awareness of the camera provide strong links among the three films. The composition of Dionysus in '69 itself lies in two performances shot in June and July 1968, which were then melded into one film, of an avant-garde play based on Euripides's The Bacchae, staged by Richard Schechner's Performance Group in New York City. An experiment in “environmental theater,” the play involved breaking down barriers between intellect and instinct, as well as breaking through the fourth wall separating the audience from the actors.

Keywords:   Dionysus in '69, voyeurism, The Bacchae, Richard Schechner, environmental theater, fourth wall, Greek tragedy, avant-garde play

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