Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod

E-mail
Geoffsongs@aol.com

De Palma Discussion
Forum

-------------

Pacino wows
in Venice

Pacino delivers a
masterclass as
a lion in winter

The Humbling
and Manglehorn
reviews

-------------

Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

------------

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-Picture emerging
for Happy Valley

-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
for Paterno film
Happy Valley

« May 2014 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
Country Cinephile

So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
All topics
Ambrose Chapel
BAMcinématek
Bart De Palma
Becoming Visionary
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Books
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Cannes
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Carrie
Casualties Of War
Columbo - Shooting Script
Cop-Out
Cruising
Daft Punk
Dancing In The Dark
David Koepp
De Niro
De Palma Blog-A-Thon
De Palma Discussion
Demolished Man
Dionysus In '69
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Fire
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Greetings
Happy Valley
Heat
Hi, Mom!
Hitchcock
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Key Man, The
Lithgow
Magic Hour
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
NYFF
Obsession
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parker
Parties & Premieres
Passion
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Redacted
Responsive Eye
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Sakamoto
Scarface
Sean Penn
Sisters
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Tabloid
Tarantino
Toronto Film Fest
Toyer
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
TV Appearances
Untouchables
Vilmos Zsigmond
Wedding Party
William Finley
Wise Guys
Woton's Wake
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Tuesday, May 6, 2014




Posted by Geoff at 12:48 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:50 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, May 4, 2014
MARTIN & ÁLVAREZ LOPEZ ON 'DE PALMA'S VISION'
REFLECTIONS OF LIGHT, TRAIN WINDOWS AS FILM STRIPS, & TWO FANTASTIC SHOTS


The Wayward Cloud posted an interview last week with Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López, in which the pair talk about their audiovisual essay, "De Palma's Vision," which readers will recall had the working title "Count It Out," as it was being prepared for the De Palma retrospective last month at the Metropolis Kino in Hamburg, Germany. ("De Palma's Vision" will be available to watch on MUBI Notebook later this month, sometime after the Cannes Film Festival.) In the interview, they discuss some specifics about "De Palma's Vision," and Martin mentions a series of writings called "The Moves" that he and Álvarez López are doing for Transit. An upcoming edition will focus on a single scene from De Palma, and another will analyze a scene from Samuel Fuller.

In the meantime, here are some excerpts from the interview, in which the pair share some of the things they discovered while working on the audiovisual essay, and in the process, looking very closely at De Palma's films. They also discuss, with a critical eye, their concept of the audiovisual essay. From Wayward Cloud:

-------------------------------------

Álvarez López: The original idea for the De Palma essay was to talk about things related to vision. It was just a broad concept; we didn’t know what exactly we wanted to say. We began to watch some movies and develop some ideas. These ideas mostly come through repetition and variation: certain scenes and motifs reappear in movie after movie. We began to put them together and then we asked ourselves: What are we trying to say by putting these scenes together? Our answers to this question can become part of the text that we are writing in parallel to our audiovisual exploration – maybe just a paragraph that does not find its way into the final text but that can spark off further ideas. It’s a constant intuitive and intellectual movement back and forth between the text and the films. In this process, we slowly arrive at the best way to arrange scenes and frames which, in the beginning, are only an accumulation of footage.

Martin: We are always trying to find the connection between two pieces of film (or rather, snippets of digital files!). We want to find the connecting line, and we want that connecting line to be clear to the person who eventually experiences the piece. We ask ourselves: in going from this scene to the next, is it perfectly clear what we are connecting? Is it a gesture, is it a situation, is it a composition? The challenge is to make this connection as clear as possible, so that it isn’t just a heterogeneous mess of things. If a certain scene doesn’t fit into this line of connections, it has to go – even if we love it.

Álvarez López: This happened, for instance, with a moment from Mission to Mars – I almost cried because we had to let it go. It’s the moment when they have a hole in the spaceship, but they cannot see where it is. They splash some Dr. Pepper and let it go. The astronauts on the inside see where it gets sucked up, and the one on the outside sees it freezing on the hull of the spaceship, and so he can fill up the hole. In some sense, this scene has to do with the idea of blind vision that we explore in the essay; the fluid can also be described as one of the instruments of vision that pop up in almost all of De Palma’s films. But the fragment of film in which the Dr. Pepper is used would have been very confusing in our essay sequence, because it is filmed in a way that the viewer may not recognise its connection with the theme of vision. It is a telling example, but also it’s too different from all the binoculars, glasses and telescopes that De Palma’s protagonists use as visual aids.

Martin: There are too many things going on in that scene, too many instruments and objects floating around for the viewer to know what to focus on and draw the connecting line to. This is something we reflect upon constantly while working on an audiovisual essay: that every single moment in a film is heterogeneous and has many levels – there are always a million things going on. It’s easy to get lost in the richness of certain moments in a film, but if you start to line up these complex and full moments in an essay, you will start to lose the clearness of connection between details that you want to establish. If you want to make a connection between a camera movement in Welles and one Ophüls, you will have to choose precise moments which won’t get the viewer thinking about the motives of the protagonists.

-------------------------

The Wayward Cloud: Taking your work on De Palma as an example, what were some of the things that you learned about him while working on the essay?

Álvarez López: There were a lot of surprising moments. You see and hear certain scenes so many times that you become aware of a lot of things which you didn’t notice before. You begin to see the details: props in a scene, how a camera movement really works, how complex and well executed the whole mise en scène is. Or, you get to understand the gesture of an actor. For example when we were working on our essay on Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Martha and James Foley’s Fear, we already knew beforehand what a great actress Margit Carstensen was. But to again and again see the way in which she turns around when the man (Karlheinz Böhm) tells her that he wants to marry her – well, we really saw for the first time how beautiful and complex this movement is. To constantly repeat and manipulate a scene gives you a different knowledge about it.

Martin: I want to give a really concrete example from the De Palma essay. Everyone who has seen some of his movies knows that there are lot of instruments of vision in them: telescopes, binoculars, cameras. We use this evident idea. But another thing which is not so easy to see are all the reflections of light: in mirrors, knives, shining surfaces. We only saw these instances of reflection and resulting blindness, which pop up again and again and build a complex network of associations in a film like Dressed to Kill, by putting our audiovisual essay together.

Álvarez López: When I watched Dressed to Kill for the first time, I really liked the scene where Nancy Allen sits in the subway, and you can see the killer hidden behind the door to the next coach. But what I did not remember, and only discovered by seeing it again and developing the theme of blindness, was the scene when Allen and a policeman look right and left along the train and, just when they turn their heads, the killer enters the train out of their sight. Maybe it is because the following scene inside the subway car is so long and powerful, it obliterates this smaller moment. So we bring it back to consciousness.

Martin: That was the scene that the audience most reacted to when we premiered our audiovisual essay in the Metropolis Kino. And rightfully so: it’s De Palma’s cinema condensed in two fantastic shots. But it’s not something you necessarily retain from a single viewing. Another thing which helps you discover things is the use of music. We did that really intensively while working on De Palma – who himself always takes particular care in his selection of music, collaborating with some of the best composers ever like Bernard Herrmann, Pino Donaggio, Ennio Morricone, Giorgio Moroder and Ryuichi Sakamoto. We tried to use the music in a very specific, not wishy-washy way. Just like slow-motion, the unthinking use of music which gets heaped on top of images is one of the things I dislike most in many audiovisual essays.

The Wayward Cloud: You don’t like slow motion?

Martin: To be honest, we used it on the train scene from Carlito’s Way, because we wanted to bring out the idea that train windows are like the frames of a film strip. But generally we dislike the technique, because in audiovisual essays these days, basically everything is put in slow motion, it drives me nuts. I do not know why people do it, maybe they want to be like De Palma, maybe they think it’s poetic. It becomes an all-over, all-purpose thing. I like the Kate Bush music video for “Wuthering Heights” slowed down to 36 minutes – that one pushes the technique someplace extreme and interesting!

-------------------------------------------

Martin: The question of control that a director has over his work is a really interesting one. I think it’s one of the ideals of cinema that the more a director can control his vision, the better. There are certain directors who attempt, even if they may not be always completely successful, to impose his or her will on every detail, to control it, to stylise it. As I said, that’s one ideal in cinema; there are certainly others, but it’s one that I admire very much. When you look at some of the directors we picked – Melville, De Palma, Leos Carax – they are all, I would say, control freaks. In a very interesting book, A Pound of Flesh written by Art Linson, who produced several of De Palma’s movies, he says that De Palma is constantly thinking about how much he can control. He picks his production battles so that he can control what’s in the frame. De Palma also always says that his concentration is on controlling the frame. But, for instance, for directors like Garrel or Rossellini, it’s different. In our essay on Garrel, we did not want to suggest that he controls every single movement; within certain parameters, he just lets his actors go. Rather, we tried to catch a bit of the looseness of this event. That would be an interesting topic for another audiovisual essay: directors who are not so much into control.

-----------------

Posted by Geoff at 11:27 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 5, 2014 6:07 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, May 2, 2014
PIC: NANCY & BRIAN ON PROM SET OF 'CARRIE'
POSTED YESTERDAY ON NANCY ALLEN'S FACEBOOK PAGE

Posted by Geoff at 9:36 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
HERRMANN DOUBLE FEATURE IN SAN FRANCISCO

Posted by Geoff at 6:27 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
R.I.P. BOB HOSKINS, 1942-2014
"THANKS FOR YOUR TIME, BOB... LOVE, BRIAN"
Bristish actor Bob Hoskins died Tuesday after being treated for pneumonia. He was 71. In 1986, Hoskins was signed by Paramount to play Al Capone in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. However, De Palma had been talking with Robert De Niro about playing Capone, and once De Niro finally committed, Linson asked the studio to pay Hoskins his full salary, which some stories report as $200,000, and others report as $300,000.

The way Hoskins told the story to Absolute Radio in 2009 was that De Palma sent Hoskins the Untouchables screenplay and told him to look at Capone. "I went to meet him at his hotel," Hoskins said on the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show, "and he said ‘really I want Robert De Niro to play him,’ and I thought, ‘well great what am I doing here?’ He then said ‘but if he don’t do it, would you sort of step in?’ and I said ‘yeah of course I will’. Anyway months went by and I read the papers and saw De Niro was doing it. I’d sort of forgotten all about it, and then Linda – my Mrs – was opening the post one morning and said ‘what’s that?’ and it was a cheque for £20,000. It said ‘thanks for your time Bob, love Brian’. [He laughed] I phoned him up and I said ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any films you don’t want me in son, you just give me a call!’”

Hoskins' breakthrough role was as a gangster in John Mackenzie's Long Good Friday. (Incidentally, Mackenzie would go on, in 1986, to direct a TV movie out of a screenplay De Palma had been working on for years, Act Of Vengeance.) Hoskins' most famous role was as a private detective in Robert Zemeckis' 1988 smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Hoskins' role as an ex-con in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986) had earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor.


Posted by Geoff at 6:12 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 3, 2014 1:39 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
'TRAP FOR CINDERELLA'
CRITIC: "ONE OF THE MOST WILDLY ENJOYABLE THRILLERS SINCE THE HEYDAY OF BRIAN DE PALMA"
The Record's Amy Longsdorf has a capsule review of Trap For Cinderella in her DVD roundup this week, indicating that the film might be De Palma-esque. Here's what she says:

"The thrills come fast and furious in this engrossing whodunit from Iain Softley (Wings of a Dove) about two childhood pals who reconnect after a decade apart. When Do (Alexandra Roach) runs into Micky (Tuppence Middleton) in London, the pair resume their friendship, as if the years had never passed. But Do has changed — and not for the better. Amnesia, mistaken identity, infidelity and a sinister secretary (Kerry Fox) all factor into one of the most wildly enjoyable thrillers since the heyday of Brian De Palma."

Posted by Geoff at 12:37 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, April 28, 2014
JAMES SCHAMUS' TOP 10 CRITERION - 'BLOW OUT'
TAKES OPPORTUNITY TO PLUG DUMAS' 'UN-AMERICAN PSYCHO'
James Schamus, who has worked as screenwriter and producer on several Ang Lee films, among others, submitted a Crtiterion Top 10 list last week that includes Brian De Palma's Blow Out, as well as a shout-out to Chris Dumas' book Un-American Psycho. Although the Criterion site is apparently formatted to list everything in order, Schamus notes in his introduction, "So which top ten shall it be today? Well, in no particular order..."

Schamus groups the last two, #9 and #10, together: Abbas Kiarostami's Close-up and Brian De Palma's Blow Out. Here's what he says about them: "Close-up and Blow Out make a great double feature, mainly because their titles sound so cool together but also because you can’t find two better examples of wickedly smart and politically alive 'self-referential' cinema that couldn’t be less doctrinaire. Also, because including Brian De Palma proves I’m not a total snob and allows me to plug one of the funniest and most intelligent books of film theory of the past decade, Chris Dumas’s Un-American Psycho."

Posted by Geoff at 5:26 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, April 25, 2014
'OBSESSION' SCREENS SUNDAY IN CLEVELAND
35MM PRINT IN SCOPE, PART OF BERNARD HERRMANN WEEKEND AT CINEMATHEQUE


A 35mm color and scope print of Brian De Palma's Obsession will screen this Sunday (6:30pm April 27th) at the Cinematheque, at the Cleveland Institute of Art. The screening is part of the Cinematheque's Bernard Herrmann weekend, which began Thursday. Other films in the series include Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground, Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie, William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster, Nathan H. Juran's The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.

Posted by Geoff at 1:37 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, April 24, 2014
DE PALMA ON RALPH STEADMAN
"I'VE NEVER MET A WARMER, GENEROUS... HE IS NOT HIS PAINTINGS!"
TIME's Richard Corliss posted a review yesterday of Charlie Paul's For No Good Reason, a documentary portrait of artist Ralph Steadman. Steadman's "interlocutor is Johnny Depp," writes Corliss, "a friend of [Hunter S.] Thompson who also starred in Terry Gilliam’s movie of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Bruce Robinson’s film of Thompson’s The Rum Diary. In 1998, Depp and Thompson visited the TIME offices and raised some merry hell (or so I’m told; I wasn’t invited). After Thompson’s death, Depp funded the funeral service: shooting the writer’s ashes from a cannon to the accompaniment of 'Mr. Tambourine Man' (the Bob Dylan song to which the Las Vegas book was partly dedicated). Among the mourner-celebrants were Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Bill Murray, Charlie Rose and Ralph Steadman.

"Depp’s appearance in the doc, however appreciated, doesn’t bring much but the patronage of a famous, friendly dude. Nor is Paul quite up to the challenge of synopsizing and illuminating an artist’s long career. As if to prove this is a coffee-house movie and not a coffee-table book, the director uses split screens, animation and rapid montage. But the salient, liveliest parts of For No Good Reason — the title comes from Thompson’s reply when Steadman once asked him, 'Why are we doing this?' — are to be found in the artist’s display of his work and recollections of the eccentrics he met."

In a later paragraph, Corliss discusses the seeming contrasts between Thompson and Steadman, and includes a quote from Brian De Palma that is apparently in the movie:

"While in America [Steadman] got an assignment to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlans magazine; the writer would be Hunter Thompson. He quickly realized that he had 'scored a bull’s eye the first time, and met the one man I needed to meet in America.' The two seemed a chronic mismatch. 'To me he was weird,' Steadman says. 'To him, I was weird.' The artist rarely took drugs or alcohol; the writer never stopped. Director Brian De Palma says of Steadman, 'I’ve never met a warmer, generous… He is not his paintings!' Yet Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner, who hired Steadman to illustrate Las Vegas after another artist dropped out, says that Steadman was the more daring one, Thompson the more cautious."


Posted by Geoff at 10:05 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 12:56 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer|Latest|Older