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Sunday, May 20, 2012
'GREETINGS' MENTIONED IN KAEL, EBERT BIOS
RUTANYA ALDA: "BRIAN WOULD SAY, 'I'VE ONLY GOT THREE MINUTES OF FILM'"

Rutanya Alda is briefly quoted about working on Brian De Palma's Greetings in Brian Kellow's Pauline Kael: A Life In The Dark, his recent biography of the influential film critic. In the following paragraph from page 119 of Kellow's book, one senses the origins of De Palma's "No Net Productions"...

Although Pauline definitely had her favorites among directors, her New Yorker reviews were, from the beginning, full of surprising reactions. She went out of her way to praise a movie that few saw, Greetings, directed by a twenty-eight-year-old filmmaker named Brian De Palma. Greetings wasn't in the macabre vein of the later films that made De Palma famous but was an off-kilter comedy about three young New Yorkers trying to keep from being drafted, and it had been shot in two weeks for very little money. Rutanya Alda, who played a supporting role in the film, recalled how the tiny budget made it essential to work fast and accurately: "Brian would say, 'I've got only three minutes of film-- we've got to get the scene in three minutes.'" Locations were snapped up wherever they could arrange them cheaply: one sequence in a bookstore was shot at three in the morning without the owner knowing about it. Pauline acknowledged that some of Greetings was a mess, but she also recognized a vibrant, original talent; Greetings went on to win the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and Pauline noted De Palma as a talent to watch.

44 years later, De Palma is hoping his latest film, Passion, will be accepted for the Berlin fest next February. Nancy Allen is also quoted in Kellow's book, in regards to Kael's enthusiastic response to De Palma's Carrie...

If her elevation of De Palma's "persistent adolescent kinkiness" into some kind of major achievement baffled many of Pauline's friends as well as her enemies, it was her review, in the end, that carried the day for De Palma and his cast. Nancy Allen, who played the movie's chief villainess, remebered vividly the day that Pauline's review appeared. "I think that Brian was just thrilled," she said. "And disgusted at the same time, because the studio wasn't treating it like it was anything better than a slasher picture." De Palma quickly became one of the directors Pauline felt compelled to promote. Allen remembered that she had the reputation for being a bit chilly toward her pet directors' wives and girlfriends, but she found Pauline warm and friendly. "She liked Brian a lot and there I was, the girlfriend. I didn't know if I would be accepted or not. She was very pleasant and said hello and smiled sweetly. I remember thinking, Okay, that was all right. She was possessive. They were her guys."

EBERT BOOK DELVES INTO SOHO LOFT WHERE 'GREETINGS' & 'WOODSTOCK' WERE EDITED
Kael and Greetings are both mentioned within a chapter on Martin Scorsese in Roger Ebert's recent memoir, Life Itself. In this excerpt, Ebert recalls meeting Scorsese for the first time:

That first time we met in New York, he took me to visit his job, as an assistant director and editor on Michael Wadleigh's Woodstock. The footage from Woodstock was being edited by a team headed by Thelma Schoonmaker, later to become the editor of Scorsese's features, and Walter Murch, a tall young man with a mustache who would later reinvent the strategy of sound design. In a top-floor loft in Soho, reached by a freight elevator, a headquarters had been cobbled together with a skylight and a lot of little rooms off the big one. "You know what picture was cut in this loft?" Scorsese asked me. "They made Greetings in this loft." That was the De Palma movie with Robert De Niro in his first role. So much was still ahead. The loft was a crazy, jumbled place, with earnest young editors bending over their Kellers. "The Keller Editing Machine," I was told. "The finest editing machine in the world, and the only one you can use to cut three-screen footage with eight-track synch sound, with thirty-five-millimeter and sixteen-millimeter film on the same machine at the same time."

A couple of paragraphs later, Ebert recalls going out to dinner with Scorsese, Kael, De Palma, De Niro, and Paul Schrader...

Marty mailed me screenplays titled Jerusalem, Jerusalem and Season Of The Witch, which was later to become Mean Streets. One night during the New York Film Festival he and I and Pauline Kael ended up in my hotel room, drinking and talking, and his passion was equaled by hers. Pauline became urgent in her support of those filmmakers she believed deserved it. She sensed something in Scorsese. Her review in the New Yorker of Mean Streets would put him once and for all on the map.

Her connections were crucial. One night we met in the lobby of the Algonquin and went out to eat with Brian De Palma, Robert De Niro, and Paul Schrader. De Palma and De Niro had made two low-budget films. Did Marty, De Palma, De Niro, and Schrader know one another at that time? Certainly. Did anyone guess Raging Bull would result? Pauline must have sensed the mixture was volatile. We went to an Italian restaurant. Pauline was then between her jobs at McCall's and the New Yorker; De Niro and De Palma were unemployed; and Schrader was a hopeful screenwriter. Thinking I was the only person at the table with a paycheck, I picked up the tab. "You dummy," Pauline told me. "Paul just sold The Yakuza for $450,000." She always knew about the deals.


Posted by Geoff at 8:15 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:34 PM CDT
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RAPACE LISTENED TO LOTS OF WAGNER
AS SHE SUBMERGED HERSELF INTO HER 'PASSION' CHARACTER

Above is an Instagram picture, posted by Hein van Joolen, of a banner for Passion at the Cannes Film Festival. Van Joolen, a sales manager from Amsterdam, states in the photo's caption that he saw the first footage of Passion this week, and that the film will be released this winter. (Thanks to Lindsey for the translation!) Meanwhile, Noomi Rapace Online has posted scans from the June issue of the U.K. magazine Dazed & Confused, which features Rapace on the cover. Near the end of the article, Rapace is interviewed by phone from Berlin, where she was, at the time, working on Passion. Here is that excerpt from the article by Hannah Lack:

As the clock ticks towards the release of Prometheus, forgetting Rapace won’t be easy—she’s following up Ridley Scott by working with another film titan, Scarface director Brian De Palma. A few weeks after we meet, Rapace calls from an apartment in Berlin where she has set up temporary home while shooting De Palma’s new feature Passion, a remake of 2010 French cat-and-mouse psychodrama Crime d’amour. Her accent has taken on an American twang, and she’s submerged in a new character, tinkering with whatever volatile spirits will bring it to life. Today, this involves listening to a lot of Wagner. “I don’t usually do interviews while I’m shooting,” she pauses. "At the moment I’m so deep in it, it’s hard for me to step out. When I was doing the Millennium movies I’d drink coffee in a corner, while everyone else was talking and laughing. I was angry and isolated, but when I look back I see, of course, it was Lisbeth—she was in charge, leading the way. But with this movie, it feels like we’re becoming some kind of disturbed, dysfunctional family!” A car is on its way to escort her to the set—they’ve been wrapping at three or four a.m., but she’ll be up to take her son to school in the morning. Meanwhile, there are new scripts on the table, awaiting her consideration. Rapace has decided that whatever character she invites into her life next, it will not be a ditsy, Jennifer Aniston-style rom-com heroine. “A character who’s happy and doing a bit of yoga and going on a date? That’s not for me. I think life is both darkness and light, almost like a battlefield with those two forces. I’ve always been drawn to… not darkness, but things with an edge,” she says. “When I’m working, I don’t care if I look ugly or fat, skinny or shave my head… I took a decision early on that I refuse to be driven by my vanity.” She thinks for a second before adding: “Perfection is boring.” And with that, Noomi Rapace—former punk, new action hero—sums up why she’s the perfect antidote to every vanilla starlet on our screens.

Posted by Geoff at 3:05 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2012 4:10 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
'PASSION' TEASER TO BE SHOWN AT CANNES
AS NEW IMAGES HIT THE FILM'S FACEBOOK PAGE


According to the Facebook page for Brian De Palma's Passion, Wild Bunch plans to show a teaser for the film at its offices in Cannes during the film festival. The offices are located at 4 la Croisette. But the real exciting part of the new Facebook page is the set of six pictures posted yesterday, including the one above and the several below. These images are tantalizing, and anticipation for this film is only just ramping up...


Posted by Geoff at 12:27 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:29 AM CDT
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Monday, May 14, 2012
'PASSION' POSTER GOES TO MARKET AT CANNES
AND RAINER BOCK ADDED TO CAST CREDITS AT IMDB


The above poster is being used to represent Brian De Palma's Passion for SBS Productions and Wild Bunch Distribution at the Film Market of the Cannes Film Festival, which opens on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the IMDB has added Rainer Bock to its Passion cast credits, where he is listed as "Inspector Bach." Bock, pictured here, is a veteran German actor of the stage, TV, and film. He has appeared in Steven Spielberg's War Horse, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon. In 2008, Bock appeared in Caroline Link's A Year Ago In Winter, which featured Passion's Karoline Herfurth in a starring role.

Also of note is a post from Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, who visited Studio Babelsberg on Friday, one week after the Passion crew likely cleared out of there. Wells' post includes a couple of interesting videos he took while being given a tour of the studio. In one video, the tour guide, Eike Wolf (Studio Babelsberg's head of corporate communication), shows Wells where parts of Cloud Atlas were recently filmed, and in another, they walk through a room full of props, including a copy of the British prime minister's book from Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer.

Posted by Geoff at 5:13 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 5:55 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
'PASSION' SET PIC WITH DE PALMA & RAPACE
This picture is tiny, but it shows Brian De Palma and Noomi Rapace rehearsing a circular dolly-track at Gendarmenmarkt while shooting Passion. The film was shot in Berlin between March and May.

Posted by Geoff at 10:09 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:11 PM CDT
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DE PALMA: DOMINIC COOPER IS NOT IN 'PASSION'
I asked Brian De Palma whether or not Dominic Cooper is indeed part of the cast for Passion, and he replied that he is not. After a Media Biz report from the Berlin Film Festival in February listed Cooper as part of a cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, and Karoline Herfurth, it was widely reported and accepted that Cooper was indeed part of the cast. It is now clear that he is not.

Posted by Geoff at 12:07 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:09 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
FIRST OFFICIAL STILL FROM 'PASSION'
AND A PLOT SYNOPSIS THAT LEAVES AN EXTRA TEASE

Just a week ahead of the Cannes Film Festival, Indiewire's The Playlist has the first official still from Brian De Palma's Passion (above), as well as a synopsis (initially posted at the Wild Bunch sales site) that amps up the anticipation level:

An erotic thriller in the tradition of "Dressed To Kill" and "Basic Instinct", Brian De Palma's PASSION tells the story of a deadly power struggle between two women in the dog-eat-dog world of international business. Christine possesses the natural elegance and casual ease associated with one who has a healthy relationship with money and power. Innocent, lovely and easily exploited, her admiring protégé Isabelle is full of cutting-edge ideas that Christine has no qualms about stealing. They're on the same team, after all... Christine takes pleasure in exercising control over the younger woman, leading her one step at a time ever deeper into a game of seduction and manipulation, dominance and humiliation. But when Isabelle falls into bed with one of Christine's lovers, war breaks out. On the night of the murder, Isabelle is at the ballet, while Christine receives an invitation to seduction. From whom? Christine loves surprises. Naked she goes to meet the mystery lover waiting in her bedroom...

Such a tease...! So, aside from a naked Rachel McAdams, there is one more new piece of information to glean from the above: it looks like the movie theater of the original Alain Corneau film (Love Crime) has been changed to the ballet. Knowing of De Palma's love for Powell & Pressburger's The Red Shoes, and recalling Carlito's longing for Gayle in the beautifully heartbreaking ballet class scene in De Palma's Carlito's Way, this sounds intriguing, to say the least.
(Thanks to Mary!)


Posted by Geoff at 1:33 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:26 AM CDT
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Monday, May 7, 2012
VIDEO: 'CARRIE' PANEL AT TEXAS FRIGHTMARE
P.J. SOLES SAYS DE PALMA'S VISION BROUGHT HORROR GENRE TO OSCARS

FrontRow's Adam Donaghey posted an account of the final day of this past weekend's Texas Frightmare convention, which included a Carrie panel made up of Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, and P.J. Soles. "When asked how they originally perceived the script," writes Donaghey, "the cast of Carrie all agreed they thought it was satirical. Piper Laurie remarked that she’d even prepared some physical comedy bits, including pulling herself around the set by her hair. Director Brian De Palma’s response was something to the nature of, 'No, you can’t do that – you’ll get a laugh!'" Donaghey adds that "Carrie‘s major claim to fame is that it was a benchmark for genre films receiving Academy Award noms. '[Carrie] lead the charge,” said P. J. Soles, “Not because it was a Stephen King film, but because of De Palma’s vision.'"

Posted by Geoff at 8:03 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 7, 2012 8:04 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 3, 2012
'PASSION' INCLUDES FASHION SHOW SCENE, ETC.
FOR MUSEUM-SET SCENES, CORNELIA OTT DESIGNED FIVE SCULPTURES, "WITH WATCHES IN BELLIES & BREASTS"

An article posted today by Märkische Allgemeine's Ricarda Nowak (dated May 4, 2012), states that shooting on Brian De Palma's Passion wraps up on Saturday. The article features an interview with production designer Cornelia Ott, who talks about the way she and the Babelsberg Art Department transformed 30 of the film's Berlin locations, including a catwalk for a fashion show, which was filmed at the Sofitel hotel (a room of which is pictured below). Most interestingly, Ott designed five sculptures used in the scenes filmed at the Bode Museum, "with elegant watches stuck in their breasts and bellies," according to the article. What follows is an English translation of the first three paragraphs of the article (the fourth and final paragraph simply lists credits and plot for the film).

Salvador Dali-inspired sculptures appear to be in the Bode Museum, with elegant watches stuck in their breasts and bellies. Normally, visitors marvel at the Wilhelminian-built consumer product, but for the new thriller Passion by director Brian De Palma, the Bode Museum was transformed into a movie set. Berlin is the secret star of the movie. The Scarface director filmed on 30 original locations - which the Art Department of Studio Babelsberg either remodeled or supplemented.

For the shooting at the Bode Museum, where a reception of the watchmaker Bulgari takes place, production designer Cornelia Ott said the Babelsberg craftsmen were responsible for the construction of five sculptures, which were used as exhibit supports. In the paint workshop, various surfaces were imitated: white and green marble, bronze, gold bronze, stainless steel.

"For the most part, the locations got a new feature," said the production designer. Thus, the Schöneberg Town Hall served as the "London office" of an advertising agency. In the historical room of the Sofitel hotel, a fashion show was filmed: The art department made a transparent catwalk, so that the light from the illuminated floor below could be used. The metal workshop from the studio was also used to construct the iron frame designed for the catwalk. The studio craftsmen have "built my designs with excellent virtuosity," praised Cornelia Ott, who has worked several times with the Studio Babelsberg group, on international productions such as Unknown (2011) and Brothers (2009). And Art Department Chairman Michael Düwel was pleased to have been able to work for Brian De Palma.


Posted by Geoff at 8:25 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 4:21 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
'SISTERS'/'PHANTOM' DOUBLE FEATURE AT UCLA TONIGHT
DE PALMA/PRESSMAN/FINLEY FILMS SCREENED FROM 35MM PRINTS

Tonight at 7:30, UCLA Film & Television Archive presents a Brian De Palma double feature at the Million Dollar Theater. The two films, Sisters (1973) and Phantom Of The Paradise (1974), also happen to have been produced by Edward R. Pressman, and they both star William Finley, who passed away last month. Both will be screened in 35mm, with the Sisters print courtesy of the Edward R. Pressman Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

Posted by Geoff at 5:20 PM CDT
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