AT TRAILERS FROM HELL
Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
Alain Corneau's Love Crime is teasingly taut and seductively compelling in all the right places. The main tease comes in the form of a mystery wherein the viewer knows that the protagonist is up to something, and the film challenges us, dares us, to try to figure out what the details might be prior to the climactic comeuppance. While watching this film study of "the perfect crime," I wasn't reminded so much of Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder as I was of Kieślowski's Three Colors: White. In both films, the main character begins doing things that at first don't seem like much more than personal ways of coping with recent humiliation and lost love. Only as they keep going on does the viewer begin to realize that every detail of their behavior has been carefully, almost silently planned. This is perhaps a bit less so in Corneau's film, which, as I suggested above, delights in teasing the audience.
There are other teases, as well: a lesbian subtext at one point begins to bubble over before being interrupted at just the right moment, a harbinger of chaos for everybody involved, from the seducer, to the subordinate, and, finally, to the interrupter. Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier are brilliant in their roles-- so good, it's a shame they most likely will not reprise their roles in De Palma's remake. Speaking of that remake, as the film began by taking us right into a work session between the two women at the boss' home, and with the lesbian subtext teasing from the start, I couldn't help but think of how De Palma might begin his remake with the sort of subconscious message from the id he is known for.
In other areas of the film, I could definitely see where De Palma could push the envelope visually, especially with the flashbacks, which Corneau displays in perfunctory black-and-white. Corneau's film has a nice visual motif throughout of Sagnier at her desk-- every time we see her at her desk she is nothing less than compelling, whether she is busy with work, waiting for a lover that never comes, or gazing straight ahead, frozen with alternating fear/regret/vengeance. The sparse soundtrack touches the right notes of unsettled business, leaving the viewer to wonder where the story will go from where it nevertheless ends.
The bunny seems a deliberate homage by Spielberg to De Palma's Home Movies, and, perhaps, to Raising Cain as well. Spielberg previously nodded to Home Movies about a decade ago with a key shot in The Terminal. In an interview with Vulture's Patti Greco last month, United States Of Tara creator Diablo Cody said that Spielberg is "always incredibly involved in everything he does. He does not just put his name on something. His soul and his input were with Tara throughout the entire journey, and I can’t believe I had the privilege of working with him." With his hands-on approach, Spielberg appears to have inserted a sly homage to De Palma's cinema. Unfortunately, United States Of Tara was canceled by Showtime last month, and is now playing out its final season.
WWII, SPIES, LESBIANS, A POSSIBLE TRANSVESTITE... AND MYSTIQUE?
Meanwhile, Spout's Christopher Campbell, inspired by the release of the new X-Men film, has produced a list of "10 Mutants Who Need an X-Men Origins Movie." Campbell mentions that a previously mentioned Mystique movie, preferably directed by Brian De Palma, is still their first choice. Of that potential movie, Campbell wrote:
X-Men Origins: Mystique” would be very cool, because Raven Darkholme is such a fascinating villain. Her solo film should be set during WWII in her days as a spy and feature her lesbian partner, Destiny (or hetero partner if you subscribe to the theory that Mystique was born a man and has been disguising herself primarily as a woman “as the ultimate in transvestism”). Brian De Palma should probably direct this spin off, since it’ll kind of be like a cross between “Mission: Impossible” and “Femme Fatale.”
Of course, Rebecca Romijn, who played Mystique in the original X-Men films, was De Palma's Femme Fatale. While a younger actress would undoubtedly have to be cast in such a prequel, it would be exciting to see De Palma mixing it up with these elements within the WWII genre. The only problem with that is, the new films have altered the timeline to where Raven would be a toddler during WWII. Even so, perhaps Vaughn and Bryan Singer should give De Palma a call...
In the print version of his review, Gleiberman includes a section in which he tours through proms as depicted in various films, including Napoleon Dynamite, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Pretty In Pink, Saved!, and Footloose, while devoting a separate paragraph to Brian De Palma's Carrie:
There's no doubt that the ultimate prom movie is Carrie (1976), a suburban Cinderella daydream-turned-blood-drenched nightmare. As the pale senior-class mouse who gets duped into becoming prom queen (all so she can get a bucket of blood dumped on her during the crowning), Sissy Spacek makes Carrie the cringing wallflower in all of us: one who both covets and fears acceptance. Then she becomes an avenging angel, and the film's slow-motion majesty turns it into the most lyrically emotional of all modern thrillers, a vision of high school as hell.