Thanks to Donald for letting us know about the TCM Cinéma video embedded above. Below is a transcript of what Brian De Palma says in the video:
Well, you discover that you can tell stories in pictures, and you have these images, and you know how to photograph them, and you start out with a camera, and you take a lot of images, and you construct a story in which you employ these images, and then you put it up on the screen, and you see if anybody’s interested.
When I was very young, I was fascinated by computers. I built many of them, and won many science fairs.
[Talking about Blow Out] I was sort of fascinated by the fact that even if you had the correct information about the Kennedy assassination, no one would care. And I also wanted to create the mystery that can only be solved with filmic means. Only by syncing the sound, the basic building block of cinema solved the mystery. I wanted to use a purely cinematic visual to solve the mystery. And that’s why I think it’s so effective.
There’s a big white canvas up there. You can hold the audience with a series of images that are poetic and dramatic. And it takes a lot of thought in order to create these sequences. Non-verbal cinema is something that has almost died in the last couple of decades.
I like Rear Window. It’s a very clever idea, shooting everything from Jimmy Stewart’s point of view, and keeping the movie in the apartment of Jimmy Stewart, and dealing with the fact that he can’t get up and do anything, because he’s in a wheelchair.
Well, Hitchcock showed a way of telling a movie with pictures. And he was a genius at producing these sequences in his movies, and nobody really is following in that tradition.
And I remember seeing Vertigo when I went to college. Well, Vertigo is a movie that greatly affected me. I have used the idea and images in it throughout my career.
Some great cineaste once said the history of cinema is about men photographing women, and I think that’s pretty much true. I’ve made stories with lots of men in them, like The Untouchables, or Scarface, but if you’re interested in beauty, you’re interested in photographing women.
When I read about the incident in Iraq, about the rape and killing of an innocent Iraqi girl, I said, well, this is just like Casualties Of War, except it’s happening again. It was a great story, and a very tragic story. But our invasion and destruction of Vietnam was very much like the rape and murder of this girl. It was the best story from out of the Vietnam war. To me, it represented everything wrong we were doing there. [Now back to talking about Redacted] When I did the search about the original incident on the internet, it came up with all these blogs, and YouTube postings, and a montage of Iraqi casualties. [It was] totally original, in a whole new language, and that’s the form in which I told the story. I’d like to use their own dialogue, the real things that they said, but I couldn’t, because they were being prosecuted while the movie was being made. I’m afraid to say that if you haven’t learned from the lessons of the past, you’re doomed to repeat them, and obviously, America did not learn from those experiences in Vietnam. So maybe you have to tell the same story again so that maybe they’ll get it this time.
There were some very good reviews, but again, it was not an image of American soldiers that anybody wanted to see. Because it’s too disturbing. They don’t want to see the pictures. They don’t want to see the images. They don’t want to think that their soldiers are [anything] but valiant crusaders planting democracy in a mid-east country. And they’re difficult movies to get made, and you can only make them after you have some kind of success. And they sort of will not prevent you from making something that you think is important to be produced. Somehow because you’ve made a successful movie, they think you’re a charmed director, and you can make a success out of anything.
This is the Turner channel? I watch this channel a lot!