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Saturday, August 10, 2013
DE PALMA ON SCREENS BIG AND SMALL
METRODOME EXPLAINS DECISION TO RELEASE 'PASSION' STRAIGHT TO DVD & VOD
The Skinny's Paul Houghton from the U.K. posted an article about Brian De Palma yesterday. In discussing Passion, De Palma tells Houghton, "I've always been controversial. I’m not like my peers that went to Hollywood in the 70s. They became the establishment, but I’m not liked in certain quarters of the industry because I’ve always tried to do things on my own terms. I see myself as an outsider."

Houghton discusses Metrodome's decision to skip theatrical and release Passion straight to DVD (it comes out on Monday; Houghton includes a quote from the distributor), and this moves into a discussion about Redacted and political filmmaking. Here's an excerpt:
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Metrodome, the film’s UK distributor, have deemed the film a non-starter for the cinema, instead sending it straight to DVD and video on demand. They said in a statement to The Skinny: “Brian De Palma has an in-built fan base, but a genre like this can be difficult to release theatrically. It’s a turbulent theatrical market and we felt this was the best way to launch the film to UK audiences.”

It’s a marked decline for a director who deserves to be considered an A-lister. Years before Martin Scorsese was on the scene, De Palma was giving Robert De Niro his breaks on the streets of New York with anti-Vietnam films Greetings and Hi Mom!, and comedy of errors The Wedding Party. In the mid-70s, he handed Scorsese the Taxi Driver script. In his first Hollywood gig, Get to Know Your Rabbit, De Palma directed Orson Welles. He was the man George Lucas turned to when he got stuck on the Star Wars "A long time ago…” prologue. He was selected by Tom Cruise to kickstart the Mission: Impossible franchise, creating the iconic image of Cruise hanging suspended above a neon-white, touch-sensitive room, a bead of sweat hanging from his glasses. Now he’s pinning his hopes on the whims of iTunes, Sky Box Office and Tescos.

It seems a strange decision, but Metrodome have crunched their numbers. De Palma, though, is sanguine about the release: “I made this film, as I’ve made all my films, to be seen on the big screen,” he says. “But I’m in my seventies now, and I see my daughter watching most of her films on her laptop. Technology will continue to change everything, so what are we going to do about it? Anyway, the cinema to me seems more about pre-sold franchises, and that has absolutely no interest to me whatsoever.”

This isn’t the first De Palma film to scale the murkier depths of British film releasing. Femme Fatale never saw the inside of a British cinema while Redacted, [2007]’s deeply controversial “fictional documentary” about human rights abuses – on both sides – of the Iraq war, got a brief and limited theatrical run before disappearing from view. “Redacted did something that no film has ever done; it criticised the American troops,” he says. “That’s unheard of in America. You just can’t question the boys. But the film came from stories soldiers were sharing of their experiences and posting online. I still find it gob-smacking – disgusting –that we tried to claim victory in that country.”

Redacted, he concedes, may have impacted on his ability to find funding for his films. But he doesn’t regret making the film, seeing it as a return to his formative years. The young De Palma consciously positioned himself as “America’s Godard,” spending the 60s independently making angry liberal firebrand films on the East Coast before Hollywood called as he hit 30. It is, he says, the great failing of the generation of filmmakers that will follow him: “I’m confounded by the lack of political films out there by young directors. The corruption that exists in the circles of power, be it in Washington or Hollywood, remain industrial. It hasn’t changed since I was young. But where are the political filmmakers? Where’s the outrage? The public relations people are in control of the media now.”


Posted by Geoff at 6:13 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink | Share This Post

Saturday, August 10, 2013 - 6:40 PM CDT

Name: "harry georgatos"

DePalma for me has always been at his best and controversial with his political films from GREETINGS, HI,MOM!, THE FURY, BLOW OUT, SNAKE EYES and REDACTED. Subversive political films are seen as poison when criticizing American national security, American soldiers and the American dream. THE FIFTH ESTATE movie coming out November slams Wikileaks and Julian Assagne. If a political film is a propaganda vehicle for American interests it will be released. ZERO DARK THIRTY and films such as THE FIFTH ESTATE will be made in Hollywood. Oliver Stone has condemned THE FIFTH ESTATE as propaganda and if one's film takes a critical eye at America that film will likely find no funding whatsover.

It irks me that FEMME FATALE, REDACTED, THE BLACK DAHLIA and now PASSION have all gone to dvd in Australia! PASSION got one screening at the MELBOURNE FILM FESTIVAL. DePalma who is the leading visual stylist can't even get his films in cinemas in Australia!! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 5:18 AM CDT

Name: "Christian G"
Home Page: http://www.christiangrevstad.wordpress.com

Harry, how is your view of The Fury as a political film? You should add your analysis  on the forum, also..

I for one am just happy Brian continues not to compromise and make films thst are true to him, even if it would have been nice to see them at the big screen also.. However, I assume the next movie has got a good chance of that. Anyway, a lot of the time, the best films don't get released in cinemas, so no worries..

 

Do you guys suppose the funding for Happy Valley is shored up? De Palma was talking about  a finished (?) script and what was it, i forget, production shedule..?

 

Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 11:04 AM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma

Yeah, Ed Pressman's company is providing financial backing for HAPPY VALLEY. Even Spielberg claims that LINCOLN almost ended up being an HBO film, as it was difficult to generate interest in it as a theatrical release. Pacino has made two or three HBO films now, including one written and directed by David Mamet that premiered earlier this year. But it seems most likely that HAPPY VALLEY will go to theaters, especially as there is a ton of interest in the subject here in the U.S.

I've always thought of THE FURY as a political thriller, or political sci-fi spy thriller, haha. It's about a reawakening of the countercultural revolution, and the subversive destruction of corruption at the top (or at least the fantasy thereof).

Monday, August 12, 2013 - 9:53 AM CDT

Name: "Sam"

I'd be just as interested in their reasoning behind releasing it on DVD but not on Blu-ray.

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