"I'VE ALWAYS BEEN AN AVANT-GARDE AUTEUR OUTSIDE THE ESTABLISHMENT"
Thanks to reader Maurizio Rossi for sending along this past weekend's interview with Brian De Palma in La Repubblica. Arianna Finos interviewed De Palma via Skype, and mentions that De Palma's username combines his brothers Bruce and Barton. Finos then points out that Brian and Bruce shared a love of technology. They designed their own computers, "so when the technological revolution arrived we were ready," De Palma told Finos. Here, with the help of Google Translation, is a translation of the interview:
"Passion" is a remake of "Crime d'amour", a film by Alain Corneau 2010.
"I liked the complex and dark relationship Corneau created between the two women. It’s a good basis for developing a story more complicated and mysterious than the original, in which we discover immediately who killed whom. The pleasure of a thriller is to put together a system full of tricks and reveal them only at the end. "
So it will be a full revisioning.
"Yes. Beyond the sexual tension that was mentioned, my film goes well beyond. Initially I was looking for a mature, sophisticated actress similar to the manager in the original film. But Noomi Rapace won me over with her charisma. Rachel McAdams had read the script and arrived with Noomi. They had met on the set of "Sherlock Holmes" and have developed a strong relationship, which I used in the film. That way they play against each other, sexy and dangerous at the same time."
Five years ago, you brought to “Redacted” to Venice, instant-film on the war in Iraq. Now you return to the thriller.
"It’s been years since I did this kind of movie. I found this material and I started to see the images of the story: an exciting adventure. For the music I called Pino Donaggio, who's been with me on so many films, from "Dressed to Kill" to "Body Double." The thriller is a genre that allows me to stage my visions. In "Passion" there is a terrifying dream sequence: a ballet, "The Afternoon of a Faun" choreographed by Jerome Robbins, which fits perfectly in the film."
You are a regular at the Venice Film Festival.
"The public has always welcomed my films. I love Venice and I frequently attend as a guest of my friend Pino Donaggio."
With Scorsese, Lucas, and Spielberg, you founded the New Hollywood. Do you visit with them these days?
"We were friends in the seventies and eighties. We came a long way together. Every now and then we'll see each other. But each of us has our own world. We live in different places, do different things. I continued my research and I now have relationships with younger directors: Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson. I love and I attend this generation, living in Greenwich Village. We meet, we exchange scripts and advice."
Who is your heir? "Tarantino. He always does visually exciting things. I admire the visionary talents of Christopher Nolan. But apart from the blockbuster special effects, there are few films told in pictures. It is as if we are at the end of a way of storytelling".
When you were 30 you directed Orson Welles in "Get To Know Your Rabbit."
"Welles is a great example of what not to do in Hollywood. A master filmmaker who worked with me, for two weeks, because he needed money for his films. It is not easy to immediately make your masterpiece and spend the rest of your life trying to get back to that peak. At the time of "Citizen Kane" he was considered a money machine, but when he came out from the circle of Hollywood he suffered. He was a masterful director and an actor who could do everything. Fascinating storyteller."
You are also a director who divides and causes debate.
"I've always been an avant-garde auteur outside of the establishment. I remember a headline in the New York Times: "Here's another film by De Palma to argue about." The public knows that I do not pull back from uncomfortable subjects that are not politically correct, I'm not a member of the Academy. This means nothing to me. I know what's right and wrong when I film, the rest does not concern me."
Are a filmmaker’s films like children, all the same?
"Sometimes you do certain films because they are the only ones the business allows you. Sometimes you're in a low moment of your career and you have to accept the proposals. Sometimes you do films that are not exactly what you want. Sometimes great successes allow you to finance a film that is important to you that no one wants: thanks to "The Untouchables" there exists "Casualties of War". There are films ahead of their time, cut down and then re-evaluated. Others that I would like to have not made due to the circumstances or reactions. I’ve made so many different films. Not all I like, but I love them all."
'THE AFTERNOON OF A FAUN', CHOREOGRAPHED BY JEROME ROBBINS
Robbins' adaptation of The Afternoon Of A Faun sounds positively Brechtian from the way it is described in the video below...