Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod

E-mail
Geoffsongs@aol.com

De Palma Discussion
Forum

-------------

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-De Palma to shoot
Domino this summer

-De Palma attached
to The Truth and
Other Lies

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

-------------

Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

------------

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

------------

« July 2017 »
S M T W T F S
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
Country Cinephile

So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
All topics  «
Ambrose Chapel
BAMcinématek
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Books
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Cannes
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Carrie
Casualties Of War
Cinema Studies
Columbo - Shooting Script
Cop-Out
Cruising
Daft Punk
Dancing In The Dark
David Koepp
De Niro
De Palma & Donaggio
De Palma (doc)
De Palma Blog-A-Thon
De Palma Discussion
Demolished Man
Dionysus In '69
Domino
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Fatal Attraction
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Fire
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Greetings
Happy Valley
Havana Film Fest
Heat
Hi, Mom!
Hitchcock
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Jared Martin
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Laurent Bouzereau
Lights Out
Lithgow
Magic Hour
Magnificent Seven
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Morricone
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
NYFF
Obsession
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parker
Parties & Premieres
Passion
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Redacted
Responsive Eye
Retribution
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Sakamoto
Scarface
Sean Penn
Sisters
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Tabloid
Tarantino
Taxi Driver
Toronto Film Fest
Toyer
Travolta
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
Untouchables
Vilmos Zsigmond
Wedding Party
William Finley
Wise Guys
Woton's Wake
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
PODCAST - 'AMERICAN FRIGHT' DE PALMA EPISODE
DISCUSSES SISTERS / PHANTOM / CARRIE / OBSESSION / THE FURY

Posted by Geoff at 7:36 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
ALCAINE TO RECEIVE LOCARNO VISION AWARD
AUG 10 TRIBUTE INCLUDES SCREENING OF 'PASSION', FILMS BY ALMODOVAR, MASTER CLASS AUG 11
José Luis Alcaine will be honored at the 70th Locarno Festival next month, where he will be presented the Vision Award TicinoModa in Piazza Grande. The prize is "dedicated to those who have used their talents to trace new perspectives in the world of film," according to the Locarno website. The tribute will include a screening of Alcaine's first collaboration with Brian De Palma, Passion. Here is the rest of the Locarno news item:
José Luis Alcaine, noted for his strong colors and photography that highlights shade and form while remaining always believable, even at extremely high contrast, has worked with some of the most important and influential auteurs in Spanish and international filmmaking. Among many: Pedro Almodóvar, Victor Erice, Montxo Armendáriz, Basilio Martìn Patino e Fernando Fernan Gomez. Further fundamental collaborations in his career were those with Vicente Aranda, with whom he made a dozen films, including Amantes (1991), and, again in Spain, with Fernando Trueba (El sueño del mono loco, 1989 and Belle Epoque, 1992), with Carlos Saura (¡Ay, Carmela!, 1990 and Sevillanas, 1992) and Bigas Luna (Jamón Jamón, 1992, Huevos de oro, 1993 and La teta y la luna, 1994). Outside Spain, apart from his various forays in the U.S., Alcaine worked several times with Italian filmmakers, directing photography for Alberto Lattuada (Così come sei, 1978), Fabio Carpi (Barbablù, Barbablù, 1987) and Giovanni Veronesi (Il mio West, 1998). He is currently engaged on set for Domino, the new thriller from Brian De Palma, with whom he previously made Passion (2012), and on a new project by Asghar Farhadi, with Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz.

José Luis Alcaine will receive the Vision Award TicinoModa in Piazza Grande on Thursday 10 August. He will also be holding a Master Class on Friday 11 August at the PalaVideo at 3.30 pm. The Festival tribute will include a screenings of the films La piel que habito (Pedro Almodovar, 2011), Passion (Brian De Palma, 2012), Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Pedro Almodóvar,1988) and Belle Epoque, (1992).


Posted by Geoff at 7:48 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 6:32 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
VAN HOUTEN IN AMSTERDAM WORKING ON 'DOMINO'
PRESS CALLS AFTER HER RETURN APPEARANCE ON 'GAME OF THRONES' SUNDAY NIGHT


Carice van Houten's return to HBO's Game Of Thrones Sunday night as Melisandre caused enough of a stir that she was doing interviews by phone from Amsterdam on Monday, where, according to the Los Angeles Times' Sarah Rodman, she is at work on Brian De Palma's Domino. Below is an excerpt from that article, followed by one from the Hollywood Reporter, both posted yesterday afternoon:

Sarah Rodman, Los Angeles Times

We recently chatted with Van Houten to find out what she sees in the flames for the rest of this season. Reached by phone from Amsterdam, where she’s at work on the upcoming Brian De Palma thriller “Domino,” Van Houten was stoked to be co-starring with none other than Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, with whom she has yet to share a scene on “Game of Thrones.”

“Even I am like, ‘Look at me, I am here filming a scene with Jaime Lannister,’ ” she said. “It’s so cool!”

Paths are finally crossing this season, and you were able to interact with a number of actors for the first time in Sunday’s episode. Was that exciting?

It’s very exciting. Because I’m always on my own with Stannis and Davos [Liam Cunningham]. That was my little gang, and it was fun because it was like being around Laurel and Hardy a little bit sometimes — two funny, completely different, opposite actors, and I had such a great time with them. But this was like a completely different show! And I was starstruck myself. Again I felt like, “Look at me, and I am here with the dragon girl and Peter Dinklage and Missandei!” Wow! I was quite impressed with everyone, and I just had a baby six weeks before, so I was in a state.


Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter
You're shooting a Brian De Palma movie, Domino, with a Game of Thrones co-star right now: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. What can you say about that experience?

It's really great. It's very scattered so far. We'll have a week here and two weeks there. There's a lot of time in between. It's very great. It's funny to meet two completely different characters, where we've never met on the show. It's funny for people to see us, extras and the like. We're shooting in Spain, where the fan base is so huge. It's been very sweet and funny. People will look at me sometimes like I can scare them a little bit. These big, grown-up men who look at me: "You're not really going to do anything, right? You don't really have fire powers?" They're sort of joking, but I can sense that feeling I had when I first met [Jack Gleeson, who plays] Joffrey. I was very scared of him! He was really scary! (Laughs.) It's funny, the effect this show has on people.


Posted by Geoff at 1:21 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, July 24, 2017
SMARTLIGHTS ON GLASS ELEVATOR SHAFT
PATRICK HAEGEMAN INSTAGRAM PIC FROM ANTWERP 'DOMINO' SET

Posted by Geoff at 11:45 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, July 23, 2017
JOHN HEARD HAS DIED
CAREER INTV w/ILLEANA DOUGLAS PODCAST LAST TUE, BACK SURGERY WED, PASSED AWAY FRIDAY


John Heard, who portrayed a Trump-like Atlantic City casino/arena owner in Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes, was found dead on Friday in a hotel room in Palo Alto. He was 71. According to Martha Ross at The Mercury News, "His family said he was staying at the undisclosed hotel while recovering from the [back] surgery, which was described as 'minor.'" Just four days earlier, on Tuesday, July 18th, Heard had been the guest on Illeana Douglas' podcast I Blame Dennis Hopper, in which Douglas asked him questions about his entire career (she ran out of time before she'd had a chance to ask him about working on Snake Eyes, which she called a great film and urged everyone to seek out, along with Martin Scorsese's After Hours). But Heard had told Douglas he was having back surgery the next day. Ross' article quotes a post Douglas made to her Facebook page after learning of his death on Friday: "He was filled with optimism and hope that he would get this back surgery and begin to start working again. That’s where he was happiest. Like any actor, he just wanted a job. He just wanted to work."

Heard was a theater actor (he originated the role who, by his own admission, never really took his work in film seriously. He is best known for the Home Alone movies, but his early film career was made up of lead roles in independent films such as John Byrum's Heart Beat (an Edward R. Pressman production in which Heard portrayed Jack Kerouac and co-starred with Sissy Spacek and Nick Nolte, with production design by Jack Fisk), Ivan Passer's Cutter's Way, Joan Micklin Silver's Head Over Heels and Between The Lines, and Paul Schrader's Cat People. He also had a significant role in Penny Marshall's Big.

An obituary by The Guardian's Ryan Gilbey includes this bit about Heard's theater days:

At the Long Wharf theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1976 he originated the role of Billy, the gay soldier, in the first staging of David Rabe’s controversial play Streamers, and was disappointed not to have been retained for Mike Nichols’s subsequent New York production. He won an Obie award in 1977 for his performance in G.R. Point, in which he played a man processing dead soldiers from Vietnam before burial, and won another three years later for his combined work in Othello and Split.

Heard was married to Margo Kidder for six days in 1979. He had supporting roles in many films and TV series in the late part of his career. Ross article quotes some more from Douglas' Facebook post:
In her Facebook post, Douglas said she was devastated to hear about Heard’s death. She described him as a “great, great actor” who inspired her in her career. She said she had been trying to line him up for an interview for a long time; he was hesitant, thinking no one was that interested in him. “I convinced him that there was real interest in him. That people loved him, and wanted to hear from him,” she wrote.

This past March, Richard Luck posted a review of Snake Eyes at Right Casino, noting the similarities between Heard's role in the film and Donald Trump:
Of particular interest is the flamboyant Gilbert Powell. Played by John Heard of Cat People and Home Alone fame, Powell is very clearly the film’s equivalent of Donald Trump; The Donald being among the biggest names operating in Atlantic City around the time the movie was shot and set. Indeed, as the future president’s Historic Atlantic City Convention Center had played host to WrestleManias IV and V, so the man with the hypnotic hair had brought many a major box-office to the East Coast. Trump would also be instrumental in bringing MMA to Atlantic City, a bold move that led to UFC hefe Dana White being among the more unlikely speakers at the 2016 Republican Convention.


Posted by Geoff at 1:35 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:32 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, July 21, 2017
COSTER-WALDAU POSTS VIDEO FRIDAY MORNING
ROAD TRIP IN SPAIN, #ALMERIA, "50KM OF GREENHOUSES"


Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, star of Brian De Palma's new thriller Domino, posted a video on his Instagram page Friday morning with the caption, "A different kind of greenhouse effect. 50km of greenhouses. Feeding all of europe. #almeria #roadtripinspain". Domino had previously been scheduled to film in an area of greenhouses near Almería this weekend, but those plans had been in doubt when De Palma and company left Almería last weekend prior to a planned shoot at the airport.

UPDATE: July 23 2017
Two days after posting the video from Spain on Friday, Coster-Waldau posted a video from Luzech, France.

Posted by Geoff at 8:09 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 1:47 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, July 20, 2017
ERIC KOHN ON DE PALMA'S 'SCARFACE'
"A MOVIE THAT DERIVED ITS POWER LESS FROM WHAT IT WAS ABOUT THAN HOW IT WAS ABOUT IT"
A week ago today, IndieWire posted email exchanges between Eric Kohn, Anne Thompson, and Kate Erbland, discussing whether Universal should abandon the new Scarface movie, now that David Ayer has become the latest in a long line of directors to leave the project. Kohn in particular wrote some inspired words about Brian De Palma's 1983 version:
Setting aside narrow production schedules and one director’s priorities, the biggest problem with “Scarface” is that the material never gelled with studio priorities in the first place. Howard Hawks’ 1932 original was a Hollywood gangster saga that generated controversy for its violence but was otherwise pretty straightforward; Brian De Palma’s 1983 reimagining, however, was a jolt to the system, a high style indictment of the drug lord fantasy that culminated in one of the most outrageous shootouts ever captured on film. “Say hello to my little friend” was an astonishing, subversive battle cry, both cartoonish and mortifying at once, and it crystalized the mania of power-hungry drug dealing better than any journalistic expose.

It was a breed unto itself, a movie that derived its power less from what it was about than how it was about it. So it was especially intriguing when Chile’s Pablo Larrain was attached to direct the remake three years ago. This endlessly innovative filmmaker, whose projects range from the allegorical horror movie “Tony Manero” to last year’s elegant period drama “Jackie,” clearly doesn’t compromise. His version, according to reports at the time, aimed to cast a Latino actor in a “mythic origin story” set in modern times, one that would expose the cycle of violence that brings the war on drugs from Mexico to America. Call it whatever you want — “Scarface” is just a placeholder — this is a powerful concept with the prospects of resonating on many levels at once. Of course, America’s relationship to Cuba continues to evolve in trepidatious ways that could make the original backdrop resonate with renewed topicality.

But it’s not the kind of material that a studio, eager for a blockbuster success, might want to take a risk on. (Thankfully, Larrain moved on to more original concepts.) De Palma and Al Pacino made their surreal, iconic look at a drug-fueled capitalist psychopath at a moment where it seemed as though they could get away with anything; short of Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino, few American directors could pull off the same feat today within the confines of the Hollywood system. Needless to say, De Palma’s movie didn’t exactly go over perfectly when it first came out, only gaining acclaim with time; it has since been co-opted by gangsta rap, novelizations, and video games. When a movie resonates this strongly in popular culture, it doesn’t beg for a remake so much as a second visit. Here’s an idea: Pop it back in theaters and audiences might flip, as “Scarface” no less immersive and unsettling than it was over 30 years ago.

Ultimately, the best home for a gangster saga might be the medium best suited for long-form, immersive storytelling — television. “Breaking Bad” did a fine job of mapping out the process through which, in Vince Gilligan’s famous terms, “Mr. Chips becomes Scarface.” So before we argue any further about whether the studio should remake “Scarface,” it might be worth considering the possibility that somebody already beat them to it.


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, July 20, 2017 11:50 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
'VERTIGO' / 'BODY DOUBLE' FINALES - INSTAGRAM
POSTED BY ardavan_sh2006

Posted by Geoff at 5:53 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
'DOMINO' SHOOTING PLANS CHANGED OVERNIGHT
FOR NOW, OFF TO DENMARK; 2-WEEK SHOOT IN ALMERIA CUT AFTER JUST ONE WEEK
Brian De Palma left Almería on Sunday and flew to Denmark after cutting short plans to continue filming Domino in Almería for about nine more days. According to Diario de Almería's D. Martínez, Domino shot in the Plaza de Toros and in the port of the capital, but plans to shoot at the airport were abandoned. "Although he announced last Sunday at noon, when he received the replica of the Star, that they will probably return in late August to shoot some sequences, the truth is that something has happened so that all the shooting plans have changed overnight," states Martínez. "The key to this change could be in certain disagreements between the different producers of the film," Martínez continues. "No one explains what happened, although everything could be on an economic issue and the lack of agreement between producers."

NotiCine today reports that filming of Domino "broke off abruptly on Friday, according to some sources due to the abandonment of one of the co-producers, while others argue that it was a change in the production plan, which are not necessarily contradictory reasons." Citing an article from earlier today by La Voz de Almería's Marta Rodríguez, the NotiCine article continues:
It was said that the filming would take place in three stages of the capital - the Plaza de Toros, the Port and the Airport - and in an area of greenhouses of Adra. However, in the end they have only recorded in the first two. Spanish co-producer Antonio Pérez (Maestranza Films) told the local newspaper on Saturday that it was only a change of plans and a second unit of the team will return to the city in August to finish, but Joan Franco, coordinator of extras for the film, confirmed that from day one the rumors about the cancellation of the film were continuous in the set. "The last day was a very tense environment, because everything was known to be hanging in the balance. In the end, we were informed that the project was suspended because the Belgian company that was going to contribute part of the funds had withdrawn," he told La Vox.

One of the extras who was at the Plaza de Toros last week, Beatriz Molina Puertas, took to Facebook yesterday to complain that yet another film production has left Almería, chased away by the "exorbitant price". "The filming of DOMINO has left because supposedly in addition to what was reported in the news, the airport in Almería has asked the production for a lot of money to be able to shoot in their installations and enclosure," Puertas wrote in the post. "For the exorbitant price they have decided to leave and film again at the airport in Belgium, I say supposedly, as those are the rumors that run and tell us, it is not something that I'm inventing, apart from other reasons that are making echos in all local newspaper publications !!"

Franco then commented on Puertas' post, "What a reason you have, my friend, unfortunately there are regulations by the national and local politicians, especially in the economic area that make it impossible for high-level film companies to come to work in Spain and Almería. That's how it goes with us."

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau surprised unsuspecting Game Of Thrones fans at a Copenhagen theater yesterday-- the fans had gathered to watch the HBO series' season 7 premiere.

To finish off, here is a Google-assisted translation of an excerpt from Marta Rodríguez' article from this morning at La Voz de Almería:

Initially, the shooting in Almería of this action thriller was to take place between July 10 and 24 and to be developed in four different locations: three in the capital - the Bullring, the Port and the Airport - and one in a set of greenhouses in Adra. However, in the end they only filmed in the first two and although Antonio Pérez, producer of Maestranza Films, indicated this Saturday to LA VOZ that it is only a change of plans and a second unit of the team will return to the city in August to finish, other sources say that the project has fallen when one of the producers, the Belgians of Zilvermeer, puled out.

As explained to LA VOZ, Joan Franco, coordinator of extra for the film, hired by the Seville company CNG, from the first day rumors about the cancellation of the film were continuous on the set. "On Friday the atmosphere was especially tense, a meeting was held in high places and it was known that everything hung in a thread. In the end we were informed that the project was being suspended because the Belgian company that was going to contribute part of the funds had withdrawn, "he says.

According to Franco's story, with the passing of the days the demands of the shooting of 'Domino' were coming down because it was already foreseen that something like this could happen. Thus, of the 2,000 extras that the company CNG Casting included in its database (the tests ended up dilating for eight days) because they "were necessary", they have not called more than 350. And the cuts came to the point of removing from the script scenes of some complexity as a chase," says the extras coordinator.


Those 350 extras, Rodríguez notes, "have their fees guaranteed" -- they will be paid for their five days of filming, Franco told her.

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 12:39 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, July 17, 2017
ON BEGUILING FEMME FATALES & 'LADY MACBETH'
CHARLES TAYLOR & DAVID EDELSTEIN SPLIT ON OLDROYD'S DEBUT FEATURE
Lady Macbeth review by Charles Taylor, Newsweek (excerpt)
[William] Oldroyd and his scenarist, Alice Birch, must think they are doing something far more complex, luring the audience into cheering for Katherine but making her acts of violence more and more awful until we’re revolted by her. But to what end? By making Katherine so evil, the movie falls into the old sexist shibboleths about scheming women, particularly sex-starved ones. Pugh, who bears an amusing resemblance to Miley Cyrus, gives a spirited performance that doesn’t shy away from her character’s villainy. But the distant, intellectualized approach keeps us from feeling any complicity with Katherine. She’s funny laughing at Anna’s shock at her open adultery, but Pugh is stuck with more of a conceit than a character. The source of Birch’s screenplay, a short story by 19th-century Russian writer Nikolai Leskov, has the robust wisdom of a peasant myth. How could anyone read that story, with its lush descriptions of nature and the horrified sympathy it accords its protagonist, and come up with this joyless, colorless movie?

If there were any justice in the world of film criticism, Oldroyd would be getting the accusations of racism that—wrongly, and in ignorance of the clear meaning of their films—Sofia Coppola is getting for The Beguiled and Ana Lily Amirpour for The Bad Batch. He has made all the characters who are the least deserving targets of Katherine’s violence black. (Sebastian is biracial, and Katherine’s maid and two other prominent characters are black.) I don’t know how many black people were in Northumberland in 1865, but in this movie, race is used for the sole purpose of heightening their victimization, and it’s ugly.

At Cannes and other film festivals, Lady Macbeth was acclaimed for its daring. But for an unapologetic celebration of devious women, Out of the Past and Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale are much tougher. As a portrait of a psychopath in the guise of dutiful wife, 1945’s Leave Her to Heaven has more punch. If an art-house film gets credit for what commercial movies have already done much better, then Katherine’s victims aren’t the only suckers here.


Lady Macbeth review by David Edelstein, Vulture (excerpt)
Oldroyd made his name as a theater director, and in his debut film he goes with his strengths. Lady Macbeth is largely confined to the plain, masculine house and its stables, and Oldroyd and cinematographer Ari Wegner show the grinding unsensuality of the place without resorting to the kind of overlong shots designed to make us literally experience her boredom.

They subtly establish a second protagonist, the maid Anna, who is even more cruelly abused by the old master (Christopher Fairbank) and later spies on Katherine and her stable-boy lover, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), through a keyhole. From our modern, liberal perspective, it’s tempting to see Katherine’s revenge on the decrepit industrialist as payback for Anna’s humiliation as well as her own. When a photograph is taken of her beside the upright open coffin of the dead geezer — who has also brutally whipped the lowly Sebastian — we want to cheer.

Movies are games of moral relativism, though, and Lady Macbeth quickly turns its feminist heroine into something far more disturbing. It’s one thing for a woman to murder overpowerful white misogynists, another to shoot her husband’s horse, which whinnies in agony. And the movie’s racial overtones are thunderous. The perpetually traumatized Anna is black. A little boy who shows up midway through — Katherine’s husband’s adorable illegitimate child and ward — is of mixed race and excruciatingly vulnerable. Sebastian’s complexion is on the dark side, too, Jarvis being of Armenian extraction. When you introduce race, white feminism tends to fly out the window — as Sofia Coppola learned after a deluge of criticism for culling a black character from her remake of The Beguiled. Applause for having trained the female gaze on a demonic-female myth has quickly yielded to abuse for being a privileged white woman allegedly minimizing the horror of slavery.

Oldroyd and Birch make no such gaffes. The movie’s larger point — which I find irrefutable — is that some people who have been victimized for life are not just inclined to speak truth to power but to abuse what power they have over people with less of it. August Wilson knew that, which is why his plays resonate far beyond melodrama. So does Lady Macbeth. It eats into the mind with its vision of evil as a contagion that transforms victims into oppressors.


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 12:00 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older