In the “ Black Dahlia” , the social context of the film in the 1940s, at a time when women dressed more conservatively and there were strict taboos. But the image of the murdered young woman and the portrayal of the lesbian bar where Bucky meets Madeleine are only some of the examples by which DePalma continues to provide the voyeuristic and violent image of women characteristic of his films. In explaining why his world tends to focus so much on violence perpetrated upon women, the Director explains that he puts women in jeopardy because he feels that they are more vulnerable members of society.
But Keough is of the view that the Director is saying that he “ uses women as objects to ogle and violate because it works. For DePalma, women are tools to manipulate an audience. ” (Keough, 15). This is also true in “ Black Dahlia” where the character of Madeleine, in particular, emerges as that of a teasing temptress who is into playing games. Another characteristic element in DePalma’ s films, especially those in the suspense genre, is the unpredictability in events that may occur.
The director comments, “ audiences are very much used to being told what they're going to see and feel, so they're very comfortable with that. . . . But when you make a film that plays with form, it throws a lot of people off. They're not used to playing with form… .I don’ t know what the solution is. ” (Keough, 15). The Directors conforms to this in “ Black Dahlia” as well, retaining the element of unpredictability. He presents the characters almost as near caricatures to some extent, especially, for example, the character of the mother of Madeleine, so that the viewer is forced to constantly rethink and reassess what is happening; is continually shocked and surprised as the film narrative unfolds.
In the making of a suspense film, DePalma appears to be more concerned with the impact he is able to generate in a viewer rather than in actually providing a tangible solution to the crime that appears reasonable and focused.
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