In Bruno’s recitation last week, we covered a lot of ground: Reaganism, Hitchcock, and of course, everyone’s favorite word: tropes. At the beginning of class Carly asked a thought and discussion provoking question: Did anyone else find Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story funny? At first, we were hesitant to answer but ultimately many of us decided that Haynes’ use of melodrama, appropriation and horror were actually pretty hilarious. Others, though, were slightly offended that some viewers found Supestar comical. Later in the discussion, Morgan mentioned how “badly” Hayne’s script is. And yes, we concurred, it is bad, and clearly intentional.
Was Karen victimized or villainized in Haynes’ depiction of her? How does Haynes’ represent Hollywood and the media in relation to his characterization of Karen? She seems vulnerable, naive, and impressionable thus, giving the evil record company the role of the villain. He puts the lives of those wholesome Carpenter kids “in his hands”, which, we decided made Karen a victim rather than a villain or a dumb teenager.
Now, onto Body Double….there were mixed reactions. One person stated, “Narrative cinema at its best is like pornography”. Another called Body Double “the worst movie ever”. Then the discussion moved onto the importance of intent in film analysis. Morgan called intent, “the bedrock of satire”, which I think is pretty spot on. Here, intent is essential in analyzing Superstar. Don’t we need to question intent in order to better distinguish satire? Is intent always necessary in film analysis? These questions were a continuation of last week’s discussion on the director’s intent.
De Palma’s allusions to Hitchcock were impossible to miss; Body Double is an homage to the original auteur filmmaker. Why is Hitchcock alluded to so often? Is it because of his innovative contributions to camerawork? Or his directorial style?
Though, Body Double was clever in its satirical elements and allusions to Rear Window and Vertigo, as well as its commentary on Hollywood culture, it’s still just about boobs and blood, an exploitative, voyeuristic roller coaster.