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Sunday, September 16, 2012

In the video interview above from the Toronto Film Festival, Beyond Cinema's Elliot V. Kotek asks Brian De Palma about the differences between audiences in Venice and Toronto. De Palma replies that the audience for Passion in Venice "was very focused, very much caught up with the film, but I think they were a little tense, so they didn't, sort of, laugh with it, because it's a lot of fun, this movie. You know, there's really outrageous behavior by the girls, and the Toronto audience got it, and there are many very funny lines in it."

Kotek then asks if De Palma enjoys the debates that come from audiences anticipating the kind of film he is going to make. "Well, debates? I don't know if there is much of a debate. They sort of fall on either side of feeling that... they reject the whole concept, basically. And then there are people that sort of watch the film and see the kind of visual things I'm doing. They get entranced by it. So it's always been a divide. There was an article in the New York Times, I think, on my last film, you know, "You mention a De Palma film, and then the fights begin."

Kotek responds: "Do you think that's also characteristic of the fact that you've chosen not to define yourself in any specific genre? I mean, between Redacted and Black Dahlia and this, it's like you're continuing to explore film generally, and other people kind of want to know exactly what they're getting into."

De Palma: "Well, there's always a problem when you're experimenting with new forms. The first reaction is, "What is this? He makes these kind of films. I don't understand this at all." And there are so many catch phrases in relationship to the way I'm defined. "Hitchcockian," "magpie," a series of violence, "misogynist"-- I mean they've been quoted at me for decades, and then, like they never really look at the movie anymore. They sort of quote what's in the press booklet."

Kotek: "Are there any attributes that have been thrown at you that you like? That you embrace?"

De Palma: "Well, I do have my supporters, and they do see the way that I visually explore the subjects. They see the beauty and the poetry in my movies. And they are taken up by the emotion, and the kind of operatic feel to many of the sequences."

Kotek asks De Palma if he intentionally made Passion less explicit than the average erotic thriller. "I think this is a movie with women, by women, and for women. And over the years, having made many thrillers and other types of gangster movies, women don't like explicit sex scenes or explicit violence scenes. They get turned off, they look away from the screen, and this is really not necessary. Needless to say, we had the footage. The girls were not afraid to do anything with each other. But I felt that it wasn't really necessary."

After a brief discussion about Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams, Kotek asks De Palma how Passion came about as a German-French co-production. "Well, each film is financed differently, whether it's a studio, or some kind of European cofinancing. The studios are financed by European entities. So this film, because a lot of the financing came out of Germany, we would have to shoot the interiors in Germany. But when I discovered Berlin (and the movie was originally set in London), I said to myself, 'Why don't we shoot this in Berlin? This is an international corporation. It can be in any kind of big European city, and Berlin is fascinating. It has these great locations. Let's do the whole movie there."

Kotek: "So, does that effect the story?"

De Palma: "Not really. It's rather secondhand for me. I'm an American director living in Paris, making a film in Germany, and everybody's speaking a different language. When we want to talk together, we all speak English. I kind of like it because I get distracted by conversations that I can hear, off camera. So when I'm on the set and they're speaking Spanish or German or French, I don't understand what they're saying, and it's fine for me, because I can concentrate on what I'm doing."

Kotek also asks De Palma if there is a film of his own that he would ever remake. De Palma replies that he is 72 years old, so a remake of one of his own films (directed by him) is not likely in his future. He also talks about being at the Toronto Film Festival every year for his birthday, and how it was nice this year to have a crowd sing "Happy Birthday" before a screening of Passion.

Posted by Geoff at 9:19 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 16, 2012 9:20 AM CDT
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