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Thursday, February 3, 2011
REDACTED PART OF 'FOUCAULT AT THE MOVIES'
WILL SCREEN FEB 11 IN SERIES PRESENTED BY YOUNG PHILOSOPHERS
The association "L'ECLAT" will present three cycles of motion pictures, plus one full day of screenings, devoted to the philosopher Michel Foucault. The events will take place at the Villa Arson in Nice, France. The first cycle begins next Friday, and Brian De Palma's Redacted will be presented by philosopher Dork Zabunyan to close out the series' opening day on February 11th. Redacted will be screened as part of a study taking an archaeological approach in which the designated philosopher will consider each film's history and transmission, questioning that film's ability to capture, understand and represent history. The series is separated into four groups of films: "With Foucault," featuring archival, documentary, and other filmed Foucault appearances; "Of Foucault," featuring films that Foucault himself commented on; "Before Foucault," featuring films that reflect Foucault's thinking; and "After Foucault," which includes De Palma's Redacted and Peter Watkins' Punishment Park as contemporary films that seem to develop Foucault's thinking.

Posted by Geoff at 12:41 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 5, 2011 12:37 PM CST
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
TYKWER ON RUN LOLA RUN
CITES DE PALMA AS INFLUENCE ON "ANY SPLIT SCREEN OR SLOW MOTION USE"
Thanks to Rado at the De Palma Touch for letting us know about Edgar Wright's wrap-up of his "Wright Stuff II," which took place over two weeks in January at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. On January 22nd, Wright screened Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy, Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill, and Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run. Keith Gordon was a guest at the Dressed To Kill screening, and Wright mentions that one of his festival highlights (of which there were many!) was getting Gordon "to talk about being an 18 year aspiring director on the set" of that film. Wright also picked out a handful of De Palma trailers to play before Dressed To Kill: Carrie, Blow Out, Body Double, and Raising Cain (Quentin Tarantino also picked out the Carrie trailer to play in front of Wright's Shaun Of The Dead on opening night of "Wright Stuff II").

"THANK YOU BRIAN, MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE OF PLAYFULLY DARK SEXY STYLISH AND TERRIFYING MOTION PICTURES"
Prior to that night's midnight screening of Run Lola Run, Wright read out an e-mail message from Tykwer, in which the filmmaker paid tribute to De Palma:

Dearest midnight animals at the new beverly,

i am deeply frustrated that I cannot be with you tonight at my favourite theater showing my good old red hot riding hood baby. That is in particular as i am going to be in town just a few days from now. But i’ll see you at some of the other screening of Mr. Wright’s great choices later this week. Definitely not going to miss The Warriors and Thunderbolt and lightfoot. both Walter Hill and Michael Cimino have been heroes of my youth and it’s not difficult to find their traces in the movie you’re about to watch. And speaking of Mr. Brian De Palma who Edgar also salutes in this series with his super classic Dressed To Kill. Any split screen or slow motion use you’re gonna encounter in the next 80 minutesL thank you Brian, master of the universe of playfully dark sexy stylish and terrifying motion pictures.

Meanwhile – enjoy the other thing i hate to miss tonight: master of ceremony edgar wright’s introduction into: run lola run! yours, tt

Incidentally, Run Lola Run is a film De Palma himself was very impressed with when it was released back in 1998.


Posted by Geoff at 10:38 PM CST
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011
BUSCEMI RECALLS 1987 UNTOUCHABLES AUDITION
WHILE ACCEPTING SAG AWARD FOR HIS WORK IN BOARDWALK EMPIRE
At the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday (January 30th), Steve Buscemi was awarded outstanding male actor for a drama series for his work on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. According to the New York Daily News' Soraya Roberts, during his acceptance speech, Buscemi recalled auditioning for Brian De Palma in 1987. According to the article, Buscemi "thanked casting director Ellen Lewis 'for having faith after my awful audition 20-something years ago when she brought me in to see Brian De Palma.'" The Swan Archives' Ari caught Buscemi's acceptance speech, and describes what the actor said after bringing up his Untouchables audition: "What he said was that at his audition, he went 'yabbada yabbada yabbada... thank you...,' the implication being that he was so nervous (presumably from being in De Palma's presence) that he couldn't make his words come out straight." While at the podium, Buscemi also begged Martin Scorsese to come back and direct another episode of Boardwalk Empire. Scorsese is a producer and creator of the show, and directed the pilot episode.

Posted by Geoff at 2:15 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 6:13 PM CST
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Saturday, January 29, 2011
CRIME D'AMOUR TO PLAY NEW YORK IN MARCH
PART OF ANNUAL RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA; SUNDANCE SELECTS TO DISTRIBUTE IN U.S.
Alain Corneau's final film, Crime d'amour, is set to play as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 2011 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series, according to Variety and indieWIRE. The series of 21 films, for which the Film Society partners up with Unifrance Films, runs March 3-13, and will feature a tribute to Corneau, who died of lung cancer last August. Corneau's 1979 thriller Série Noir will also be screened as part of the tribute. Sundance Selects is the distributor for Crime d'amour, which will be remade by Brian De Palma later this year under the title Passion.

Last August, Screen Daily's Lisa Nesselson wrote of Corneau's film, "Office politics fuelled by oestrogen rather than testosterone make Love Crime (Crime D’amour) an entertaining excuse to watch Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier play psychological chess as they brilliantly jockey for the upper manicured hand at the Paris branch of a multi-national agro business firm." Nesselson also described the film's tone as that of a "European art film," adding that "viewers who have become accustomed to the forensic marvels detailed on crime-themed TV shows may find the way the French police conduct their investigation quaint, but the film adds a fun wrinkle to the onscreen annals of so-called perfect crimes." De Palma a la Mod reader Pascal says he just watched the film last week (it was released on DVD in France earlier this month), and it made him think about De Palma, because, wrote Pascal, the movie is good, but lacks a certain hauntedness that he thinks De Palma can bring to the material.

In the 2010 TIFF official description of Crime d'amour, Piers Handling wrote:

Imagine Dangerous Liaisons crossed with Working Girl and you are well on your way to the core of Crime d’amour. Alain Corneau’s latest film is a remorseless tale of office politics played out by two ruthless executives, deliciously portrayed by the superb Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. With ambition and jealousy oozing from their pores, they achieve the magnificent feat of eating up the scenery while delivering highly understated performances as competitive colleagues who become bitter enemies. Corneau’s script is so tight it squeaks, with precise, propulsive scenes that are bitingly sharp and cut to the quick. No asides, no longueurs. This is a masterclass in filmmaking.

Isabelle (Sagnier) is the young ingénue assistant, while Christine (Scott Thomas) is the older woman, a senior executive in a multinational company doing deals around the world. At first they are friendly. Christine, the able executive, is happy to pass the grunt work along to the up-and-coming Isabelle as she learns the ropes. But when Christine starts to take credit for Isabelle’s ideas, and a fellow worker bee begins to fuel Isabelle’s growing doubts about Christine’s duplicitous “all-for-one” attitude, the ground is prepared for all out war. And all out war certainly ensues.

Corneau keeps his explosive material under such fine control that he seduces us into going along for the ride as the devilishly complex plotting, full of surprising twists and turns, unfolds before our eyes. Filling out this mischievous entertainment is a supporting cast of men-on-the-make – from American executives who fly in to approve deals to the police and lawyers who swoop in when things start to go south. Corneau and his cast deliver an immensely enjoyable and delightfully devastating take on the corporate world.


Posted by Geoff at 4:03 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 6:15 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
VARIETY: 'DE PALMA FINDS PASSION PROJECT'
REMAKE OF CORNEAU'S CRIME D'AMOUR WILL BE SET IN THE U.K., START SHOOT IN AUGUST
Variety's John Hopewell, writing from Madrid, reports that Brian De Palma will direct Passion, a remake of Alain Corneau's French psychodrama Crime d'amour, which starred Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier "as two feuding corporate execs, one of whom is driven to murder the other." The film played at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. De Palma told Variety, "Not since Dressed to Kill have I had a chance to combine eroticism, suspense, mystery and murder into one spell-binding cinematic experience." The remake will be set in the U.K., and is set up at SBS Productions in Paris, which is headed by Saïd Ben Saïd, who also produced the original film. The budget for the France-Germany-U.K.-Spain co-production will be around $30 million, and will be part-financed, according to Hopewell, "by a combination of co-production coin from European partners, subsidies, tax coin and French TV money." SBS used a similar structure for its current production of Roman Polanski's God Of Carnage, according to Hopewell. Passion is set to start shooting this August "at a studio in Cologne or Berlin," according to Hopewell, "tapping into Germany's liberal tax rebates." Hopewell adds that exteriors will be filmed in London, and that the film's key cast will be announced by the time of the Cannes Film Festival in May.

"MOVIES OF THIS KIND ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE TODAY IN THE U.S."
Hopewell's article continues:

"Passion" adds to the U.S. talent that is currently signing on to film or TV projects financed and often produced out of Europe.

Ben Said said he was willing to discuss financing with a Hollywood studio, but thought it more likely he would produce English-language European movies with top-notch American directors without recourse to U.S. finance.

"As with Roman Polanski's 'God of Carnage,' we can use a European film model and all its support systems, set up co-productions and find the money to make it," said Ben Said. "Movies of this kind are very difficult to make today in the U.S. because the U.S. doesn't have co-productions and the studios are not interested in making them."

"Carnage" has sold worldwide except for the U.S. and Japan.

Crime d'amour has been described by some American critics as Dangerous Liaisons meets Working Girl.


Posted by Geoff at 3:24 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:34 PM CST
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BODY DOUBLE TO PLAY AT FANTASTIC FEST
OUT-OF-COMPETITION CLAUSTROPHOBIA THEME; ARGENTO HONORED AS JURY CHAIR

Brian De Palma's Body Double will be screened at the Gerardmer 18th International Festival of Fantastic Film as part of a retrospective around the themes of "schizophrenia, claustrophobia, paranoia and other small joys of life." Body Double will play during "Claustrophobia Night," along with Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum, William Friedkin's Bug, and James Wan's Saw. Other films in the retrospective include Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Roman Polanski's Repulsion, David Lynch's Lost Highway, David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, Robert Wiene's The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Victor Fleming's Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Richard Fleischer's The Boston Strangler, and Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko, among others. Dario Argento will chair the jury for the films in competition at the fest, which runs from today through January 30th. There will be a special screening of Argento's Suspiria, as well as an Italian giallo night featuring Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Mario Bava's Twitch Of The Death Nerve, and Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper.

Posted by Geoff at 12:09 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:11 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
MCCONKEY ON RAISING CAIN STEADICAM SHOT
RUNNING COMMENTARY AT STEADISHOTS.ORG
Thanks to The Virtuoso of the 7th Art's Romain Desbiens for pointing us in the direction of a recent video posted at Steadishots.org, in which Steadicam operator Larry McConkey, who has worked with Brian De Palma numerous times, discusses the great police station shot in De Palma's Raising Cain, in which two police detectives listen to a doctor relate the backstory of the main character's father as all three of them travel down stairs, hallways, and elevators to reach the basement morgue. With the crazy angles and logistics involved, McConkey says he originally told cinematographer Stephen Burum that "you can't do that with a steadicam," but Burum made him try, anyway. McConkey describes how he followed the characters with a steady, moving extreme dutch angle that had to slowly be brought back as the characters moved through the space. All the while, McConkey had to keep his arms from twitching or bumping as he kept pressure on the tilt, as the slightest movement would have disrupted the shot. McConkey describes how his idea to have actress Frances Sternhagen keep walking in the wrong direction (so he could position his camera where it needed to go to change into a wide shot) led to her developing the movements as part of her character (the character is so focused on what she is saying, she just keeps walking in whatever direction she is going until directed by the detectives to backstep or turn and go a different direction). Other nice tidbits: McConkey talking about De Palma silently watching the shot on a monitor and tilting his head as the characters walk down the stairs and the camera tilts with them, then looking back at McConkey and Burum with his head still tilted, then looking back at the monitor (McConkey says "It was never discussed!"); McConkey decided to tilt the camera again inside the elevator, because Sternhagen is so much shorter than Gregg Henry, which meant that when he panned over to the other detective and back, he had to go back-and-forth again at an odd angle; the elevator ride was much shorter than it appears on screen, and Henry had to do a little shift in his body weight to hide the fact that the elevator was coming to a stop. McConkey describes two takes where everything was perfect: in one, he wishes he had kept it because after they move into the morgue and the camera swings around to look at the three characters, according to McConkey, "you hear Brian yelling, 'TILT!...DOWN!...NOW!!!'" In another take, everything was perfect ("We all nailed it," says McConkey), except when he moved the camera around the bed in the morgue, he ran into the toes of the body on the bed, less than twenty seconds from the end of the shot. "Brian goes, 'Do it again,'" says McConkey as he mimics De Palma's arm motion, signalling everybody to pick up and go back to the start.

Posted by Geoff at 12:17 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 12:21 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
DE PALMA ATTACHED TO 'PARKER' PROJECT
WORKING WITH BLACK SWAN SCREENWRITER JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
After all that talk about how Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is similar to the cinema of Brian De Palma, it turns out that De Palma's name was actually included in the Black Swan press kit. Under the kit's bio for screenwriter John McLaughlin, one of McLaughlin's latest film projects is listed as "a movie based on the Donald Westlake underworld character Parker with Brian De Palma attached to direct." I checked with De Palma, who confirmed the project. The bio also mentions a McLaughlin project called The Man Who Killed Houdini, and someone at TampaBay.com yesterday must have misread McLaughlin's bio, because they mistakenly stated that De Palma was attached to the Houdini project (De Palma said he is not involved with that one).

In any case, the Parker project sounds rather promising. Parker is a character created by Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. The first novel to feature the character, The Hunter, was published in 1962, and subsequently adapted into two films: John Boorman's masterful Point Blank (1967), which starred Lee Marvin (as "Walker") and Angie Dickinson; and Payback (1999), starring Mel Gibson (as "Porter") and Gary Sinise. Robert Duvall also played a character based on Parker in John Flynn's The Outfit (1973), as did Jim Brown in Gordon Flemyng's The Split (1968).

McLaughlin shares screenwriting credit for Black Swan with Mark Heyman and Andrés Heinz. McLaughlin was the one who initially moved the story from its original Off-Broadway setting, bringing it into the world of ballet. McLaughlin has also adapted Stephen Rebello's book, Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho, into a screenplay that was at one point heading into production under the direction of Ryan Murphy, and starring Anthony Hopkins as Hitchock. However, Steven Zeitchik at the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that Sacha Gervasi (Anvil! The Story of Anvil) is now in talks to take over that project.

For more information on the Parker character, visit The Violent World of Parker.


Posted by Geoff at 1:35 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:34 PM CST
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Sunday, January 16, 2011
WRIGHT PROGRAMS HITCH/DE PALMA NIGHT
UPDATE: KEITH GORDON TO PARTICIPATE! FRENZY & DRESSED TO KILL AT THE NEW BEV

Edgar Wright is currently in the middle of "The Wright Stuff II" at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. For next weekend, on Saturday and Sunday (January 22 and 23), Wright has programmed a double feature of Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy, followed by Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. Wright plans to be at the Saturday screening of Frenzy to discuss the film, and this just in: Keith Gordon, who played the De Palma-like nerdy-science wonk role in Dressed To Kill, will appear in person during Saturday's screening of that film. Here is Wright's description of the double feature as posted on his blog, Edgar Wright Here:

Edgar says:
Late period Hitchcock and golden period De Palma, together at last. Both fantastic thrillers, breathtaking technical exercises and coal black comedies.

Frenzy had a mixed reception when first released as some were disappointed that Hitch finally showed in graphic detail what he had only hinted at before. I say this ruthless atmosphere only strengthens this grimly funny tale of a man wrongly accused of being a serial killer. As a Brit myself, I personally love the early 70’s grubbiness of the tale, murder among the fruit stalls and potatoes. Lovely!

Dressed To Kill opens with a dream sequence, but the nightmare never ends. De Palma conjures a dark cloud of doom over his ensemble and creates opera from terror. The technique in this film is absolutely incredible, one of those movies that is a mini film school in itself.

And a special bonus that Saturday (Jan. 22) at midnight: Wright will be on hand to present a screening of Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run. Here's what he wrote about that one:

Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run is the kind of movie I wish I’d directed; there’s such a joyful explosion of ideas and techniques, such great momentum and perpetual motion. When I first saw this it made me want to direct another movie more than ever, I remember dragging friends to see it, including Simon Pegg & Jessica Hynes. Indeed it had an influence on my favorite Spaced episode Gone (2.5). It will be great to see this again with a crowd, it’s like a great party mixtape of a movie.


Posted by Geoff at 7:57 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2011 6:32 PM CST
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Friday, January 14, 2011
CRITERION ANNOUNCES BLOW OUT
SET TO INCLUDE NEW HOUR-LONG INTERVIEW WITH DE PALMA, WHO SUPERVISED THE NEW TRANSFER
Criterion today announced that it will release Brian De Palma's Blow Out on DVD and Blu-Ray April 26, 2011. The film marks its 30th anniversary this year. The restored digital transfer for the new DVD was supervised by De Palma himself. The two-disc set (the Blu-Ray is one disc) will include a new hour-long interview with De Palma, conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach (Greenberg), as well as a new interview with Nancy Allen. Another inspired feature: Cameraman Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots featured in the film within the film. The set will also feature select on-set photos from photographer Louis Goldman, the original theatrical trailer, and a booklet featuring an essay by Michael Sragow, as well as Pauline Kael’s original New Yorker review. But that's not all-- the Criterion website promises that more goodies are apparently in the works for this highly-anticipated release.
(Thanks to Jon Rubin!)

Posted by Geoff at 10:52 PM CST
Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011 10:56 PM CST
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