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

No Harm In Charm

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
Retribution
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
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
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
Sunday, May 11, 2014
'ORPHAN BLACK' PAYS HOMAGE TO 'CARRIE'
ACCORDING TO CO-CREATOR GRAEME MANSON


Graeme Manson, co-creator of Orphan Black, tells Entertainment Weekly's Dalton Ross that a creepy scene in the latest episode (which aired Saturday) was an "homage to Carrie, all the way. The director did a great job with that scene and it’s right up the alley of what John Fawcett and I really like. It really slips into horror mode there and we like that the show has that elastic tone that we can do that...It’s a truly freaky and wonderful scene." I left some of what he said out of there, and do be warned that if you go to the EW article linked to above, it is full of spoilers.

The creators aren't the only ones from Orphan Black who are fans of Carrie. Last month, actor Jordan Gavaris, who plays Felix Dawkinson the show, told the San Francisco Chronicle's David Wiegand that he fell in love with movies when he worked at Blockbuster at the age of 15. "I got 10 free rentals a week," he laughed to Wiegand. "Before 15, you're seeing all the blockbusters. But then I saw (Brian De Palma's) Carrie. It was a phenomenal film, and I am obsessed with Sissy Spacek. I watched her entire filmography and what that did was expose me to directors like Robert Altman, Todd Field, Costa-Gavras, Michael Apted."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 12:11 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, May 10, 2014
'THE CANAL' DIRECTOR LOVES DE PALMA & ARGENTO
IVAN KAVANAGH'S HORROR FILM MOSTLY WELL-RECEIVED AT TRIBECA FEST
The Canal, a psychological horror film written and directed by Ivan Kavanagh, was mostly well-received when it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month (check out reviews at Fangoria, PopMatters, and the less enthusiastic This Is Infamous). The Canal is about a film archivist, and Kavanagh explains to Complex's Matt Barone that since the character's job is watching films, it makes perfect sense that his hallucinations and/or fantasies should be colored by those films. "For me," Kavanagh tells Barone, "it was the perfect opportunity to reference the films I love, to make a film that at moments seems like a Dario Argento film and at other moments like a different directors' films. It seemed right for the character. The film is about cinema, in a way. I don't usually do that referential thing in my films, but it just fit here. And a lot of them are unconscious. If you love the genre and love certain films in it, you can't help but be influenced by them. Another one we looked at a lot for this film was Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, specifically for that film's look. We use a lot of zooms and lenses that are directly influenced by Don't Look Now. We put a lot of thought into everything. The best horror films, for me, are always divisive. Like with Argento, I don't love all of his stuff but I do love Suspiria. Films like that are so divisive—people either love them or violently hate them. That's the perfect type of film."

Elsewhere in the interview, Kavanagh discusses Brian De Palma: "Another filmmaker I really love, as well, and whom I've become an apologist of over the years is Brian De Palma. He's a bit like Dario Argento in how he uses color beautifully, especially in his early films. Argento and De Palma both have this thing where their color schemes can almost seem too over-the-top at times but it adds so much to the atmosphere of their films. Maybe we don't quite reach that level in The Canal, but I understand what they're after—it's not reality, it's something else. It's inside the protagonist's mind."

Kavanagh discusses more of his inspirations with the Hollywood Reporter's Matt Patches.


Posted by Geoff at 12:38 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, May 8, 2014
NANCY ALLEN & KEITH GORDON IN FANGORIA
TALKING 'DRESSED TO KILL': "EVERYTHING HAD TO BE PERFECTLY TIMED AND CUED UP"
The current issue of Fangoria (#332, May 2014) features what the cover bills as "Sex and Death in 1980: Dressed To Kill and Cruising." Inside are two separate articles about each respective film. The Dressed To Kill article by Lee Gambin and Camilla Jackson, titled "Murder Most Mod," is an interview with Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon, in which they discuss working on the movie together. Allen talks about how Brian De Palma, her husband at the time, would write in the morning, and when she would get up and get a cup of coffee, he would read to her "his current installment." She was initially excited about it, but later became nervous when she realized how much of the movie she would be carrying by herself, in contrast to the ensemble work she'd done on De Palma's Carrie.

Gordon talks about how his character was originally written as a 12-year-old, but when De Palma found the role difficult to cast, he called Gordon in for a reading, saying he was thinking of reconceiving it. "In the end," Gordon tells Fangoria, "it was more fun; there could be some flirtation, and some of the sexual jokes with Angie worked better than if [Peter] was a little kid not really understanding what people were saying or what was really going on. We kept a lot of the same dialogue, and the lines originally intended for an innocent kid became a bit more tongue-in-cheek and ironic."

The pair discuss working with Michael Cain, Dennis Franz, and Angie Dickinson, who was still working on TV's Police Woman at the time, and would fly in to do her scenes. Whereas Allen and Gordon had plenty of rehearsal time, Dickinson did not. "Angie was finding her movie-acting rhythm again, and that was interesting to watch," Gordon tells Fangoria. "We did that one scene we had and we didn't rehearse it to death, so that was good. I was always trying to make her more comfortable by getting her to laugh and whatnot, and at first she didn't seem to like that, but she slowly warmed to it. Brian would tell her, 'Look, we're not trying to rush through eight pages a day, we can take our time.' and she relaxed into that. You could see that she remembered liking doing movies and having time, unlike TV where everything is bam-bam, real fast."

Allen talks about meeting Dickinson on set: "Angie and I met in the elevator and then said goodbye; it was like 'Hello! And goodbye!' all in one shot! I didn't have to use too much imagination for that scene; it was all there in front of me. All that blood and gore! But of course, it was also very technical. My hand had to be in this place and my eyes had to be there, and it all works because it's so brilliantly edited."

Fangoria then follows up: "The technicality of the shoot in general must have been very complex, with all the cuts, split screens, dissolves and so forth. Did that highly stylized direction dictate your performances in any way?"

Allen responds, "So much of it was all about timing. It felt robotic at times. For instance, at the end, with the shot first of Keith, then of Michael, then of me, everything had to be perfectly timed and cued up. So I would be doing strange things, and sometimes feeling rather awkward."

'UNDER THE SKIN'
There's a lot more to check out in the Dressed To Kill article, and other terrific articles in the magazine, including the cover story interview with Jonathan Glazer about Under The Skin. At the end of that interview, Fangoria's Chris Alexander tells Glazer, "We're putting Under The Skin on the cover of the most widely read horror-film magazine in the world. Many might not consider it a horror movie, but we do."

Glazer replies, "That's interesting. How does it fit into the canon of horror cinema for you?"

FANG's Alexander: "Horror has always concerned the everyday somehow transformed into a place of danger. It's about that sense of dread, of nightmarish ambiguity. No questions are answered at the end of Under The Skin, and it's haunting. Its effect lingers. To me, that's a horror film."

Glazer: "Great. Then I'm honored that it is. If that's what it is to you, if that's how it feels to you, then that's fantastic."


Posted by Geoff at 11:25 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:34 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
SLASHER-MUSICAL 'STAGE FRIGHT' PULLS FROM DE PALMA
'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE' & 'CARRIE' CITED AS INSPIRATIONS
The new movie Stage Fright is not a remake of the old Alfred Hitchcock classic, but a slasher-musical starring Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver. It was directed by Jerome Sable, who co-wrote the music with Eli Batalion. In a dual interview with Den Of Geek's David Crow, Sable mentions, among other things, a couple of Brian De Palma films that helped inspire Stage Fright, which is currently available on VOD. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
---------------------------

GEEK: Speaking of Rocky Horror though, what were the musicals and, for that matter, slasher movies that influenced both of you and then which ones influenced this movie?

EB: It’s interesting, because we love musicals, but we don’t necessarily love all musicals. I wouldn’t describe us as Broadway fanboys. Actually, there’s probably a lot of stuff on Broadway that we violently detest. [Laughs] But there’s a bunch of stuff. Our musical influences, going to more traditional music, certainly Kander and Ebb, some Gilbert and Sullivan as well. We were just talking a little earlier about Lionel Bart.

JS: The guy who wrote Oliver! There’s influences there not only in terms of the music, but also in terms of the directing Carol Reed. Just the kids in the lunchroom at the beginning in the orphanage if you’ve seen that version of Oliver! And of course, there’s then the rock influences.

EB: Which I say is less Rocky Horror—we’re influenced by Rocky Horror in terms of it setting the precedent, but in terms of the specific rock sound, I think that’s more along the lines of AC/DC, Black Sabbath, some Led Zeppelin, some of the vocal stylings of Axl Rose. That’s the stuff we listened to in high school, so it was an interesting combination of combining that stuff with stuff we had accumulated as enjoyers of music since our teens, and to then throw them together in one film.

GEEK: I felt the whole thing had a very obvious nostalgia for the 1980s. The slasher elements were very Friday the 13th and also Carrie—though that’s the ‘70s—but also the musical that it was most parodying was Phantom of the Opera. I bring that up to ask do you have a love/hate relationship with some of this genre? Because you say Led Zeppelin, and I hear Van Halen in “Metal Killer.” People who listen to Van Halen probably did not like Andrew Lloyd Webber in the 1980s.

JS: Yeah, it is love/hate. It’s like our love letter and it’s also like hate mail. So, it’s our love/hate mail to musical theatre. But here’s the thing, Andrew Lloyd Webber does <>Jesus Christ Superstar, which in itself was more of a rock musical. And then he chose to do his version of Phantom, which is intentionally, and I think he would admit this, high on the cheese factor, high on the romance. He just wanted to take what essentially is a slasher story, because it’s about this guy who offs people in a theatre one-by-one, and takes a slasher and says, “Let me do a slasher completely dripping with romance!” And oozing with this sort of red rose [imagery]. And I think he’d admit that’s exactly what he did. I think on their first draft of the music and lyrics, he thought it was just too haunting or serious. He’s like “let’s just make it more romantic.” Sure Andrew, we can do that.

So, he’s done that, and then we said, “Okay. What about dialing it the other way and making it just more brutal, but also with a sort poking-jabbing at the belly of the beast.” Because of course, it’s such an iconic—when I was young, my mother took us to see Phantom, and the chandelier fell, and it was a hugely impressionable moment. “Oh shit!” [Laughs] So, it makes an impact whether you love it or hate it, it’s a huge part of our culture, which is his take of that story. And by the way, in prepping for this movie, we went back and watched the original movie, the 1925 Phantom of the Opera, and also Brian De Palma’s take, Phantom of the Paradise, which people may not remember [precedes] Andrew Lloyd Webber’s take on the Gaston Leroux story.

EB: I guess a lot of people have done that story.

JS: Yeah, even Dario Argento did one. Even Freddy Kruger himself, the actor Robert Englund, was in a weird version of Phantom of the Opera.

GEEK: To transition a little to the slasher movies, which slasher movies really influenced this? For example, I think you used a lot of in-camera effects for the gore.

JS: Yeah, to your point about there being a lot of nostalgia for the ‘80s and the late ‘70s, yes, there is. I just think those are awesome movies and to name a few others like Black Christmas from ’74, and of course Halloween from John Carpenter, as well as Nightmare on Elm Street, Carrie, Texas Chainsaw, and also Hellraiser. But even the Dario Argento movies, the Giallo, movies like Opera and Susperia; these movies that take place with the ballerinas and opera singers. It’s cool to mix high-class theatre and opera with low-class slashing.

GEEK: Was it hard to get them to sing or lip-synch with all the fake blood splattering around?

JS: They were really singing! We did all live-singing. That was another thing that was tricky to do in-camera singing and in-camera effects. Once we had our cast, they were so talented they could nail it over and over again, being of that theatre ilk and having those chops. But like you say, practical effects take time, and you can’t control splatter, as much as you would like to, so you’d just have to take your time and go again. There was stuff that could go wrong, and it was a complicated shoot, to say the least.

GEEK: Why did you approach it with live-singing as opposed to pre-recorded music?

JS: Same reason as the gore. The results that you get have a certain grit and texture, whether it’s live-singing or in-camera gore. We talk about the splatter. With CG blood splatter, the gravity just never quite looks or feels the same. And maybe you only perceive it on a subconscious level, but if something is fake, it might just feel fake. It is the same with singing. You may not know it, but you feel that you connect more to the character, because it was just what they did in that moment. That’s the result part of things. The other is when you’re on set, having the actors not only singing then and there, but also get splashed with something or see something, that just affects their whole emotional performance. It is throwback, but is also just better in general, I find, to do as much as you can in-camera. It just brings more out of the people then and there.

EB: When you have a canned musical like Singin’ in the Rain, and you can tell that they’re clearly not singing, as a viewer and an enjoyer that takes you out of the moment. It’s very distancing.

JS: Imagine this whole interview was lip-synched, and we weren’t saying what we’re saying.

EB: But we’re still saying these things, but it’s pre-recorded. That would be weird.

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

'STAGE FRIGHT' REVIEWS

The Black Saint, HorrorNews.net
"As I watched Stage Fright I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarity to De Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise and I wonder if that wasn’t intentional either. A few times I recognized some shots seemingly lifted part & parcel from De Palma’s film. There’s also a nifty little Carrie (1976) homage (another film directed by De Palma) near the end of the film that made me wonder how much of a BDP fan Sable actually is."

Clayton Dillard, Slant Magazine
"If one didn't know any better, Stage Fright might appear to be some sort of explicit homage to Brian De Palma, loosely held together by post-Scream clichés. At least, the litany of references to De Palma's cinema would suggest as much: a roaming, tormented killer amid a musical production like William Finley from Phantom of the Paradise; a bucket of blood straight out of Carrie; and a power tool in desperate need of an outlet, à la Body Double. The similarities end here, however, as Jerome Sable's debut feature couldn't be further from De Palma's delirious cinematic essays on vision and genre. Instead, Sable operates under the most requisite notions of intertextuality, blankly referencing and parodying far better, more exuberant films less as a form of revision or reflexivity than to engage a pop nihilism that has characterized numerous Scream imitators over the last two decades."

Patrick Bromley, F This Movie
"Like so many up and coming horror filmmakers, Sable loves horror and gets a kick out of paying homage to the films that inspired him. Sometimes, it's a heavy-handed and obvious nod to Brian De Palma's Carrie; other times, it's a fun little throwaway reference to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The greatest influence on the film, however, is the Italian giallo film; from the mystery of the masked murderer to the over-the-top brutality of the kills, Stage Fright is steeped in the look and feel of that subgenre. Even the poster looks like an '80s giallo.

"Stage Fright feels distinguished from almost anything else in horror. The songs probably help, but so does the setting and the energy with which Sable stages everything. I can't wait to program my 24-hour horror marathon in October, because Stage Fright is definitely getting a spot. It's the perfect movie to break up the monotony of a marathon -- it's incredibly entertaining, very much its own movie and still delivers the goods when it comes to the horror (the gore is over the top in the best way). While Stage Fright is never going to be my favorite musical horror -- Phantom of the Paradise cannot be topped -- it definitely earns a spot near the top of the list. I smiled the whole way through and wanted to watch it again as soon as it ended. This movie is too much bloody fun."

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
"Playing like a very special slasher film-themed episode of Glee, Stage Fright mixes horror and Broadway –style show tunes to decidedly mixed results. While this sort of stylistic hybrid has worked in the past—The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise being two eminent examples—Jerome Sable’s directorial debut lacks both the anarchic wit and musical chops to make it anymore more than the sort of horror film curiosity best seen on late night cable television. Despite Meat Loaf’s hammily entertaining turn as the desperate owner of a musical theater summer camp, the film fails to live up to its obvious inspirations."

Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
"The shoddy plotting — Did the mother’s murder go unsolved? Does the siblings’ adoptive father (Meat Loaf) run the camp single-handedly? — is just pretext for Brian De Palma-esque pastiche, including a killer who sings heavy metal. Give the movie some zip, a few memorable songs and a stronger third act, and (to paraphrase Mr. Sondheim) something good’s just out of reach.


Posted by Geoff at 10:19 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 10:11 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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

Newer|Latest|Older