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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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Body Double (1984)

Body Double (1984)

(p.166) Chapter 16 Body Double (1984)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen

Douglas Keesey

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores an emasculating inferiority and sexual aggression in De Palma's Body Double (1984). The film's beginning shows its protagonist, Jake (Craig Wasson), suffering from an attack of claustrophobia due to a childhood experience—and this sense of immobility rooted in inferiority is drawn from De Palma's own past when he himself had undergone the same childhood experiences as Jake. This is further reinforced by De Palma's growing up with feelings of inferiority and rivalry toward his two big brothers. To be rendered passive through an inability to act can be experienced as emasculating or “feminizing”—a condition explored throughout the film as Jake becomes more sympathetic to women and is even outright feminized in certain sequences as the movie goes on.

Keywords:   Body Double, claustrophobia, immobility, feminization, inferiority, childhood experiences, sexual aggression

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