DE PALMA'S EARLY SHORT FILM "BOILS WITH A FERVENT, CREATIVE, YOUTHFUL VITALITY"
"Collage takes many forms in De Palma’s cinema," states Cristina Álvarez López in her latest Foreplays column at MUBI. "It’s in his taste for mosaic-narratives that merge almost-autonomous plot lines. It’s in the way he fits together disparate tones, genres, and styles of acting. It’s in the play with surfaces and depth, fostered by some of his favorite ‘composite’ images—split screens, materialized memory flashes or mental hypotheses, split focus diopter shots. It’s in his very conception of reality as a complex puzzle that can only be grasped via a laborious reconstruction and rearrangement of the pieces. It’s in the incorporation, mimicking, and merging of different audiovisual formats, textures, dispositifs—TV reportage in Sisters (1972), video-clip and porn advertising in Body Double (1984), images from security cameras in Scarface (1983) or Snake Eyes (1998), screen tests in Murder à la Mod (1967) and The Black Dahlia (2006), YouTube videos in Redacted (2007) and Passion (2012), the reconstructed film in Blow Out (1981), and the photographic collage that closes Femme Fatale (2002).
"Woton’s Wake boils with a fervent, creative, youthful vitality. It’s a product of the multifaceted cultural scene of a particular time and place (the New York of the 1960s). It’s also a low-budget film, made—literally—with De Palma’s own hands. This is, at least in part, what gives Woton’s Wake its collage form, wild and raw, but also thoroughgoing: from the very conception of character and narrative as complex assemblages, to formal choices that privilege operations of fragmentation, cutting, pasting, stitching; from the depiction of mismatching architectures, to the treatment of space as the envelope for pockets of film history—or as the battleground for colliding energies."
Read the rest of Álvarez López' insightful analysis of Woton's Wake at MUBI. "Watched today," she writes, "Woton’s Wake signals a strong tendency in the filmmaker’s career: his investment in collage." You can also watch the short film for free at Vimeo.