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-Shout's Raising Cain
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Gelderblom's Re-Cut
(Due Sept. 13)

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
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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.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
'ALWAYS SHINE' STAR MACKENZIE DAVIS
REGARDING THE COMPARISONS OF THE FILM WITH DE PALMA, SAYS THE GAZE OF 'ALWAYS SHINE' "FEELS VERY DIFFERENT"
Vulture's Kevin Lincoln talked with Mackenzie Davis about her role in Sophia Takal's Always Shine:
Watching Always Shine, I thought a lot about a male director, Brian De Palma.
But the gaze feels very different. I really like De Palma, but his gaze is aggressive and undressing and voyeuristic. I’m very aware of being a spectator in De Palma’s movies, especially of the female body.

Whereas the voyeurism in Always Shine seems to come much more from a female perspective, like when Anna is watching Beth speak to the man at the bar.
Female friendships are so emotionally intense and rewarding and invasive — they’re my favorite friendships, but there is this extrasensory perceptiveness about betrayal, and also there’s just always a competition in women because we’ve been told that there’s a scarcity of opportunity. So there’s always this sense of like, Who’s being hit on? Who’s getting that job? I’m not saying that every woman feels that all the time, but I definitely felt it — a way that we’re raised culturally where it behooves us to beat the other girl, and you can see when you’re losing in a situation. I always grew up thinking that being undesirable is a mortal sin.


Previously:
Always Shine Director Influenced by Hi, Mom!, More

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2016 12:06 AM CST
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
NEW PEET GELDERBLOM VIDEO
EXAMINES INFLUENCE OF 'PSYCHO' SHOWER SEQUENCE ON THE CINEMA OF DE PALMA

Peet Gelderblom posted the above video to Vimeo last week. In it, he examines, in very precise side-by-side split-screen detail, just how deeply the entire shower sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has embedded itself within the cinematic sensibility of Brian De Palma. Be warned that when the blood comes in this video, it does so rather prolifically, as Gelderblom spins out the sparks of stabbing violence from various De Palma films like a DJ spinning fireworks. And he does it expertly as one who has studied the shots from De Palma's films, as well as from Psycho. I myself have looked at De Palma's Mission: Impossible literally dozens of times, and have never before made the connection between this shot (below) and Psycho:

At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz posted Peet's video today, as well, writing, "Gelderblom's piece clarifies the relationship between the two directors by showing just how completely De Palma absorbed particular bits of Hitchcock's artistic DNA into his own body of work. Not content to rework the plots and themes of particular Hitchcock films ("Vertigo" as "Obsession" and "Body Double," for instance, or "Psycho" as "Dressed to Kill"), he has integrated discrete stylistic tics into his own directing, cherry-picking individual shots that run as short as one or two seconds into scenes in De Palma films where you might not necessarily expect to see them. And yet these appropriations are transformed into something uniquely De Palma; this becomes much more clear via Gelderblom's use of split-screen, a technique that Hitchcock didn't lean on with the same geometric playfulness as his most famous disciple has displayed in fifty years' worth of his own work."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 12:02 AM CST
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Sunday, December 4, 2016
DE PALMA VISITED 'GILMORE GIRLS' SET, YEARS AGO
BROUGHT HIS DAUGHTER, SAT IN ON DIALOGUE SCENE, ACCORDING TO SCOTT PATTERSON


Scott Patterson, who plays Luke on the TV series Gilmore Girls, was a guest on last week's Vulture TV Podcast. At about the 47:26 mark of the podcast, Patterson talks about the day Brian De Palma visited the Gilmore Girls set with his daughter, Lolita:
Vulture: I wanted to ask, we were talking before about the scene in the kitchen that you guys did for "A Year In The Life," and what a great experience you said that was. Looking back at the original seven seasons, is there an episode that is your favorite, either because it challenged you in some way, you have fond memories of working on it, or it just turned out really great? Are there certain moments from the original seven that stand out in your mind?

Scott Patterson: Oh, there’s one. Ah, yes, there is.

Vulture: Okay.

Scott: Well, it was the day that Brian De Palma, the famed director, came to visit the set to bring his daughter by—Lola, who was a big fan of the show. And, I came off the diner set, into the back area, because they were taking a little break for them to set some lighting. And somebody said, “Scott, I’d like you to meet Brian De Palma” [starts laughing]. And I went, “Holy crap!” So, anyway, I know a little bit about him. He’s a Philadelphia boy, we share a birthday, I knew a little bit about how he grew up, why he got into the film business, and why he got into the gory, gory, gory Carrie side of the film business to begin with. And, so I was quite pleased to meet him and chat with him a little bit.

And then we were in the diner shooting—Lorelei and I were shooting a scene in there, and it was a really, really daunting scene for both of us, because she comes in to the diner in this real rush and huff, spitting out all kinds of dialogue, and I didn’t have a lot of lines. But that’s even, maybe, harder, because you don’t want to screw up the other actor by missing a cue, and like, she’s got a big chunk of dialogue, and then you go, “Huh?” Or, “What?” Well, I didn’t, you know, it’s all timing, right? So, the pressure was on me not to screw up her timing, because she had such a daunting monologue to do. And so De Palma came in, on the set—no, no, he didn’t come on the set, he was in video village watching her side of it. Then when they turn the camera around—and she, you know, she executed flawlessly—and we were both pretty nervous, because Brian De Palma’s like watching us on a monitor—so we’re thinking, God, if we do really well, you know, we could be in, like, you know, we could be in a big movie, you just never know. So when they turned the camera around to do my coverage, and do my close-ups, Brian De Palma, the famed director, the Oscar-nominated-winning director, decided to come in and sit right next to the camera, where I’m supposed to look. [Starts laughing] So it was Brian De Palma’s head next to the camera lens, and Lauren’s head right above his. [Laughing some more…] And I had to try not to look at Brian De Palma while I was doing my six or seven little lines while she was spitting out all of this dialogue. It’s hysterical. After it was done, he gets up and waits and he goes back to video village, and Lauren looks at me, and she goes, “How did you possibly get through that?” I said, “I don’t know, I was scared shitless” [laughing].


When the Vulture host asks Patterson if he recalls which season that might have been (when De Palma visited), he said it might have been season 5 or 6, but he really couldn't remember.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Monday, December 5, 2016 12:03 AM CST
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016
DE PALMA FILM SERIES IN LONDON EARLY 2017
BEER & PIZZA NIGHTS, SOME FRIDAYS, SOME SATURDAYS, AT THE PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA

Posted by Geoff at 8:53 PM CST
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Sunday, November 27, 2016
PAUL SYLBERT HAS DIED
OSCAR WINNER WAS THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER ON 'BLOW OUT'
Paul Sylbert, the production designer on Blow Out and many other classic films, died November 19, at his home in Jenkintown, Pa., according to William Grimes at the New York Times. He was 88. Sylbert was the identical twin brother of production designer Richard Sylbert, who passed away in 2002. Richard had worked with De Palma on The Bonfire Of The Vanities and Carlito's Way. Both brothers began their careers working on Elia Kazan films, Baby Doll and A Face In The Crowd, while in between those two films, Paul Sylbert also worked on Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man.

Here's an excerpt of interest from the New York Times obituary:
The film critic Vincent Canby, in an essay on production design for The New York Times in 1981, noted Mr. Sylbert’s chameleonlike ability to summon up entirely different visual worlds even within similar genres. For Brian De Palma’s suspense film “Blow Out,” he evoked Philadelphia in realistic terms, but the New York in the horror thriller “Wolfen,” released on the same day as “Blow Out” in 1981, was, Mr. Canby wrote, something entirely different.

“Mr. Sylbert’s Manhattan is a fantasy island under siege by some sort of superwolves,” he wrote. “Its South Bronx is dominated by the shell of a church that seems to have been blitzed during months of air raids.”

In his review of the film, Mr. Canby praised its “otherworldly look” and wrote, “Not since Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now’ has there been such a beautifully mounted and designed scare movie.”

Mr. Sylbert received an Academy Award for his work on “Heaven Can Wait” and was nominated for a second Oscar for Barbra Streisand’s 1991 film “The Prince of Tides.” In 2009, the Art Directors Guild presented him with a lifetime achievement award.


Posted by Geoff at 11:55 PM CST
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2016 12:19 AM CST
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Thursday, November 24, 2016
'BODY DOUBLE' IN NEW YORK THIS WEEKEND
PAIRED WITH KIESLOWSKI'S 'A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE' FRI/SUN - ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES
Brian De Palma's Body Double will be paired with Krzysztof Kieślowski's A Short Film About Love this Friday (November 25) and Sunday (November 27) at Anthology Film Archives in New York. The screenings are part of the series, "Voyeurism, Surveillance and Identity in the Cinema." Here's the website's description:
This summer we inaugurated an ongoing collaboration with the International Center of Photography (now located in close proximity to Anthology, at 250 Bowery) with a film series inspired by the exhibition, PUBLIC, PRIVATE, SECRET. The ICP’s debut show in their new home explores the concept of privacy in today’s society and studies how contemporary self-identity is tied to public visibility. The film series expands on this idea by gathering a selection of films that engage the themes of voyeurism, surveillance, and privacy, and that demonstrate the various ways that media is used to fashion a sense of identity. Combining narrative films like De Palma’s BODY DOUBLE and Kieslowski’s A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE with experimental films, documentaries, and video art, the series demonstrates how central these ideas have been throughout the history of the cinema.

Brooklyn Magazine's Kenji Fujishima previews the screenings, as well:
Perhaps it’s best to view the much-maligned Body Double not as a serious thriller, but as a deadpan comedy with thriller elements. So overtly derivative are the Hitchcock homages here that one can’t help but laugh at how ridiculously blatant De Palma’s being this time around. But the joke’s not just on us, but also on Jake Scully (Craig Wasson), with much of the first half playing as a lampoon of the struggling-actor hero’s professional, personal and sexual inadequacies. De Palma reserves his most amusing meta-movie conceits, though, for the second half, with Jake playacting a porn producer in order to get close to adult star Holly Body (Melanie Griffith), his descent into the hardcore-porn underground depicted as a hedonistic music video set to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax.” In the end, it’s Jake’s own re-imagining of the film’s opening scene—his claustrophobia-induced failure while playing a vampire in a low-budget exploitation flick—that helps him finally achieve the potency he so desperately seeks throughout. With the film’s central mystery pretty easy to guess if you know Vertigo well, one is free to simply enjoy Body Double as an endlessly playful lark from a filmmaker interested in gratifying himself and daring us to watch.

Posted by Geoff at 10:25 AM CST
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016
HOLLY JOHNSON ON DE PALMA'S 'RELAX' VIDEO
FACEBOOK POST - DE PALMA DIRECTED PROMO VERSION OF VIDEO FOR MTV


Previously:
De Palma's Flashdance Parody, In The Seemingly Forgotten Video For Relax

Posted by Geoff at 11:43 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 11:48 PM CST
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Sunday, November 20, 2016
'DIONYSUS IN '69' SCREENS NOV 29 IN NEW ORLEANS
30TH ANNIVERSARY OF ZEITGEIST, WHICH CLAIMS THERE ARE 2 MORE PERFORMANCE GROUP PRODS FILMED BY DE PALMA...!
Dionysus In '69 was the first film ever screened at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, and now it will be included in next week's six-day program, celebrating Zeitgeist's 30th anniversary. Brian De Palma's split-screen documentary, filmed with Robert Fiore and Bruce Rubin, will screen at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, November 29th. The description of the screening at the Zeitgeist website claims that there are two more Performance Group productions that were filmed by De Palma: Makbeth, which they did in 1969, and The Tooth Of Crime, a Sam Shepard play they staged in 1972. The site states that Richard Schechner brought 16mm prints of all three films to be screened at a Zeitgeist fundraiser for its production of Schechner's Commune there in 1989. Here's the full Zeitgeist description:
An experimental theater film by Brian De Palma, Robert Fiore and Bruce Rubin; directed for the stage by Richard Schechner; portions of the text adapted from "The Bacchae" of Euripides as performed by The Performance Group. Schechner approached "The Bacchae" not so much to re-interpret the play as to re-experience some of the impulses surrounding and informing it—to which end Euripides's lines were sometimes useful, and sometimes not. Schechner's troupe, The Performance Group, would by turns chant, or dance, make love, plot murder, whisper to the audience, or among themselves hold group therapy sessions. With its full nudity, its audience-participation orgies and its range of theatrical invention, "Dionysus in 69" strives for a degree of sensuous presence. De Palma uses a split screen, and he uses it in a variety of ways. Both sides of the screen always record the same moment in the production. But sometimes they show different parts of the arena (the Performing Garage was a kind of multi-level theater in the round, with cast and audience often sharing spaces). Sometimes they develop different points of view toward a single action. Sometimes they place an apparently random event in formal perspective, and at the same time isolate important detail.

In 1989 Zeitgeist Theatre Experiments, inc (our original name) staged a large scale theatrical production at X ART GALLERY, at 333 Girod St. in the CBD (a cutting edge space run by the late-great Clinton Peltier, an early partner and patron of Zeitgeist and all things ahead of their time) of COMMUNE (aka White Exorcism), an environmental theater piece by Richard Schechner and the Performance Group. In Commune, actors and volunteers from the audience restaged the “Pattern of butcheries in American History from the point of view of the Manson Family as a justification of their actions”. One night we even got a pregnant biker chick in the audience to play Sharon Tate as the actors brutally killed her as she screamed for them to spare her babies life. Although the production was savaged in the local press, the production was a huge success and ran for three weeks.

Richard Dodds in the Times Picayune said “Call me a reactionary pig but…” and proceeded to attack the production “under the fascistoidal direction of Rene Broussard” claiming that cast members “soiled, stretched and scuffed his 180 loafers when they wore them on their filthy feet to reenact the murders”. So for the remainder of the production cast members wore tie-dyed t-shirts saying “Richard Dodds Is A Reactionary Pig”.

As a fundraiser for the production as well as to afford bringing in Richard Schechner for the opening of the play Richard loaned us 16mm prints of Dionysus in 69, Makbeth and Tooth Of Crime (three films of Performance Group productions filmed by then NYU student Brian DePalma). DIONYSUS in 69 was the very first film Zeitgeist ever screened. So please enjoy this very rare look back at Zeitgeist’ history.

The Times-Picayune's Mike Scott provides a nice set-up for next week's Zeitgeist program, with background information, in an article posted Saturday:

It started with a protest of sorts. Which, in this particular case, is fitting to the point of bordering on poetic.

It was 1986 and Rene Broussard, then a student at the University of New Orleans, was directing a stage production of the giddily depraved "Blood on the Cat's Neck." It was a production chock-a-block with sex, violence, necrophilia, human bondage and other such provocations that so tend to tickle and titillate undergrads.

Then, days before the first performance, the department head dropped in on one of the final dress rehearsals. He was neither tickled nor titillated. He was, however, provoked.

"He was shocked by the graphic violence and nudity and said, 'You can't do this at UNO!,'" Broussard recalls. "... And so the production got canceled and I ended up taking it off-campus and running it on Bourbon Street as a benefit for Artists Against AIDS. It ran for three weeks. That became the first Zeitgeist experiment."

Thirty years later, Broussard's Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center is still going, and still working hard to provoke, regularly delivering or the promise of its guiding principle: "Something for and against everybody."

On Friday (Nov. 25), Zeitgeist will kick off a week of special programming marking its first three decades in operation. Highlights include Brian De Palma's "Dionysus in 69," which was the first film Zeitgeist ever screened; Broussard's own autobiographical triptych "The Fatboy Chronicles"; the music documentary "Liquid Land," which was filmed at Zeitgeist; and other selections intended both to highlight and celebrate the theater's history.


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2016 12:32 AM CST
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Thursday, November 17, 2016
DE PALMA TO TEACH CLASS AT HAVANA FILM FEST
FEST RUNS DEC 8-18; OLIVER STONE WILL ALSO PRESENT 'SNOWDEN'
It was announced today that Brian De Palma will attend the 38th Havana Film Festival, which runs December 8-18. According to Fox News Latino, "De Palma, who has attended the festival on other occasions, will teach a class on cinema and visit the acclaimed International School of Film and Television in the western Cuban town of San Antonio de los Baños."

Oliver Stone will also be at the festival, presenting his latest film, Snowden.

Posted by Geoff at 6:30 PM CST
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016
'NOCTURNAL ANIMALS' - MORE REVIEWS
WITH MENTIONS OF DE PALMA, HITCHCOCK, SIRK, LYNCH, KUBRICK, PREMINGER, ANTHONY MANN, PECKINPAH
Ty Burr, Boston Globe

"Does it matter that Susan and Tony’s wife and daughter are all identical-looking redheads? Well, duh. Doublings and mirror images abound in Nocturnal Animals. Flashbacks and present-day sequences entwine around fictional scenes until Ford has us trapped in a web of guilty complicity. Like Hitchcock, certainly, and it’s no coincidence that Abel Korzeniowski’s musical score swoons like vintage Bernard Herrmann (or like Pino Donaggio’s Herrmannesque scores for Brian De Palma’s 1970s thrillers).

"Is Tom Ford a dilettante? Honestly, the jury’s still out. He gets committed work from his cast; even if Adams is arguably miscast in a coldhearted role (yes, she can do anything, but that doesn’t mean she should have to), Gyllenhaal expertly toggles between Straw Dogs meekness and madness, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the sexiest black hole of irredeemable evil in many a moon. And when Michael Shannon turns up as Bobby Andes, a lethal West Texas police detective, Ford guides the actor to one of his scariest and most controlled performances.

"Yet with Ford — and unlike Hitchcock (and, at his best, De Palma) — the mystery stays on the surface, caught in Seamus McGarvey’s clinically composed camera shots and Joan Sobel’s impeccably disorienting editing. The 'solution,' or the one that’s implied in the film’s final scene, feels small and incommensurate with the dark places the rest of the movie takes us, and it may occur to you that what concerns this filmmaker is the immediate effect rather than the lasting impression. I don’t mean it as a cheap shot, but Nocturnal Animals is very like an exquisitely rendered window display. It’s something at which you pause and peer into and catch your breath — and then move on."

Jesse Cataldo, Slant

"Matching updates of two dynamic variants of mid-century noir (the gonzo woman's pictures of Otto Preminger with the psychological nocturnal westerns of Anthony Mann), Nocturnal Animals gets close to a double-barreled satirical thriller commenting on the historic rift between city and country. But for all his panache, Ford lacks the focus and control of someone like Brian De Palma, whose work, including his recent Passion, routinely straddles such disparate divides. Nocturnal Animals, meanwhile, wastes too much time fulfilling the nuts-and-bolts demands of both of its genre exercises to transcend their limits, while remaining too scattered and routine to actually work as a satisfying example of either.

"The film's best achievement remains its illustration of the supposed lewd, overflowing vitality of the lower classes butting up against the frigid primness of the upper, which then vampirically exploits this divide as part of a ritualistic cultural transfer. This process, by which the rustic, the seedy, and the menacing are drained of residual danger and reimagined in chic aesthetic forms, is one of the trademarks of both the fashion world from which Ford hails the high-end art scene in which Susan operates, the latter seen in that flamboyant opening show and the stylishly shabby pieces that litter her gallery. The film itself carries off a similar act of transference, repackaging grim, nasty authenticity as shiny pop product, even its ugliest revelations sugarcoated within correspondingly gorgeous images.

"Such a combination might have yielded marvelous results were Nocturnal Animals willing to get truly weird, but Ford instead remains too reliant on overwrought imagery, residual prestige affectations, and conventional rhythms to break free of either genre the film experiments with, leaving one section stuck as a second-rate Cormac McCarthy adaptation, the other a tamped-down Fassbinder tribute. Its ultimate message, that the stereotypical façades which front these two worlds only serve to disguise how much they have in common, ends up getting muddled rather than expressively conveyed, leaving Nocturnal Animals as a film that stands tantalizingly close to greatness."

Pete Hammond, Deadline

"It has been seven years since Tom Ford added the job description of film director to his already famous fashion empire. That movie, A Single Man, was rightly acclaimed, and now with Nocturnal Animals he proves it was no fluke. Based on the 1993 novel Tony & Susan by Austin Wright, this adult thriller is a crazy mix of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Douglas Sirk, Brian De Palma, Stanley Kubrick and even a bit of Sam Peckinpah thrown in for good measure. But overall it is pure Ford, full of stylistic touches and fine acting."

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

"Ford is clearly a cinephile, and elements of other auteurs are all over Animals: the sexmad decadence of Brian De Palma, the formal control of Hitchcock, surreal dabs of David Lynch-ian grotesque. The movie’s lofty narrative ambitions never quite catch up with its aesthetics, but it’s still a fantastic beast of a film, intoxicating and strange."

Previously:
Nocturnal Animals and Body Double


Posted by Geoff at 11:54 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:51 PM CST
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