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

« October 2012 »
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...

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
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, October 9, 2012
MORE 'PASSION' REVIEWS
FINAL SHOT WAS UNSCRIPTED, THROWN IN BY DE PALMA AT THE LAST MINUTE


A few more blog reviews of Brian De Palma's Passion have popped up, mostly from the New York Film Festival screenings. Films To See Or Not sounds like he was at one of the screenings where De Palma spoke to the audience. "Passion is Brian De Palma’s delicious homage to himself," he writes, adding that "De Palma enjoys playing with the audience right up until the end, when we’re left wondering what was a dream and what was real. He admits he threw in the unscripted final shot at the last moment as a tease. As long as you don’t take Passion too seriously, you’ll enjoy this retro throwback to Hitchcock and earlier De Palma."

30 Second Critic, who also liked the movie, seemed to enjoy the ending, as well. "Voyeuristic camera work along with a jarring score ratchet up the suspense," he writes, "and an altered ending from the French version keeps the viewer guessing even after the film ends. It's clear that Mr. De Palma likes to mess with his audience's head." 30 Second Critic also enjoyed the way the lead actresses seemed to play against type.

Cinespect's Cole Hutchinson, a self-proclaimed "De Palma admirer," says that Passion "manages to stand proudly amongst the best of [De Palma's] oeuvre." Hutchinson asserts that, like most of De Palma's films, Passion will please an audience simply seeking entertainment, while also offering layers of meaning for those interested in digging deeper. "This is a De Palma film that celebrates De Palma films while simultaneously mocking them," writes Hutchinson. "With spectacular performances across the board, an especially effective trademark split-screen moment, and the modern wit to suggest that the ubiquitous Apple laptop is the new symbolic phallus of easy power (also the tool of its eventual inevitable downfall), Passion is an exquisitely enjoyable summation of its director’s past triumphs streamlined into a sexy morality tale for today’s bizarre, superficial world."

Another self-professed De Palma fan, The Highlighter's Alex Greenberger, writes that "Passion is another defiantly satirical film from De Palma, and therefore it’s a work that’s sure to polarize for years to come. For De Palma’s fans (of which I am one), Passion is going to be an extremely rewarding experience, complete with diabolical lesbians, mistaken identities, twins and comments on gender roles. For his detractors, this will be another miserable failure, complete with awful dialogue, mediocre performances and baroque twists." Greenberger highlights that there are essentially two halves to the film. "For the first half, which may be a bit more stolid (and, as a result, a little less successful) than typical De Palma fare, it’s just one entertaining sequence after another. Passion, at its start, plays like a parody of workforce melodrama—something like Disclosure, maybe—with awesomely bad crying and a purposefully overconfident score from Pino Donaggio. Even the performances point to a masterful dissection of the melodrama—McAdams brilliantly says “Call me NEVER!” and throws her phone to the ground with such panache that it’s hard not to be entranced by the intentional mediocrity of this movie. But at a critical moment, one that of course involves a split-screen, since this is the world of Brian De Palma, the film snaps and becomes so formally refined—everything seems to click together at once, and the narrative dramatically perks up." Greenberger goes on to praise the split screen sequence and the cinematography: "It almost goes without saying that the split-screen sequence, which juxtaposes a Claude Debussy ballet with a complex murder and then proceeds to weave in and out of the murderer’s subjectivity, is stunning. But it’s José Luis Alcaine’s super-saturated photography that shines in this film. His beautiful, tight close-ups of the film’s plethora of ridiculous designer shoes are marvelous, but that, combined with De Palma’s directorial abilities, make this film yet another formally concerned (and successful) work."

Floating Heads' Cory Everett writes of De Palma, "After a half decade away from the camera, there’s a certain thrill in seeing the director get back to doing what he does best. In Passion, (a remake of the 2010 French film Love Crime), DePalma finds the perfect vehicle to indulge his cinematic obsessions." Everett echoes the idea that the film is split in half, writing that "the second half of the picture loses some of the trashy fun of the first half but replaces it with rococo camerawork, canted angles, split screens and a heavy dose of film noir lighting courtesy of cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine (on loan from Pedro Almodovar). De Palma also recruits one of his longtime composers Pino Donaggio for a bombastic score. It’s a B-movie and minor work for the filmmaker but still a fair bit of fun for anyone who misses the the feel of those earlier works."

And finally, The Lumière Reader's Brannavan Gnanalingam has posted a late dispatch from Venice, where he experience the boos that greeted both Terrence Malick's To The Wonder and De Palma's Passion. However, while he was not surprised by the booing, Gnanalingam enjoyed both films quite a bit. "Full of narrative twists, femme fatales, double identities, and an absurd lack of subtlety," writes Gnanalingam, "it’s yet another homage to Hitchcock, in a career full of homage. The performances veered eerily close to parody (McAdams as the horrible boss almost fails to convince in her excesses, while Noomi Rapace plays it straight almost to the point of falling asleep), the setting was grand and sneeringly superficial, and the continual narrative contrivances drew laboured groans of agony from some critics. All of this said, it was all rather fun."


Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:48 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, October 7, 2012
DE PALMA & BAUMBACH 'ON CINEMA' @NYFF


[Note: the role of the shrink in Mr. Jealousy ended up being played by Peter Bogdanovich. De Palma did appear as a "Famous American Movie Director" in the extremely hard to find German film, Rotwang muß weg! (1994), written and directed by Hans-Christoph Blumenberg.]

Pictured above: Scott Foundas (left) moderating "On Cinema" discussion between Brian De Palma and Noah Baumbach at the New York Film Festival Sunday.


Posted by Geoff at 8:43 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 7, 2012 10:33 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post



[Note: according to Deadline's Mike Fleming, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to Gone Girl this past summer, and has it in development with producers Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea (both with Pacific Standard), and Leslie Dixon. Gillian Flynn herself is working on the screen adaptation, with no director or cast yet mentioned.]


Posted by Geoff at 2:24 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 7, 2012 10:45 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, October 6, 2012
CINEMA SUPERNOVA AT NYFF
DE PALMA, TYKWER, BAUMBACH, GERWIG GATHERED TOGETHER OUTSIDE LINCOLN CENTER AFTER 'PASSION' SCREENING


Posted by Geoff at 12:51 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, October 5, 2012
DE PALMA TO ATTEND 'PASSION' SATURDAY 10AM

Posted by Geoff at 7:48 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, October 4, 2012


Posted by Geoff at 6:58 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
LABUZA WRITES ABOUT 'PASSION' AGAIN
AND CAITLIN HUGHES SAYS 'PASSION' "CAN'T HELP BUT DRAW COMPARISONS TO 'SHOWGIRLS'"
Peter Labuza has written about Brian De Palma's Passion for his own blog, disussed it on his Cinephiliacs podcast, and now writes about it again for Indiewire. This time, Labuza includes Passion in an article that groups together three films at the New York Film Festival that "question our evolving relationship to the digital." The other two films are Leos Carax' Holy Motors and Alain Resnais' You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet. "Of the three," writes Labuza, "Passion is the most optimistic, even if it tells a gruesome story of betrayal and revenge."

Discussing the technology on display in Passion,Labuza writes, "De Palma’s obsession with the digital image -- camera phones, security footage, amateur sex tapes -- becomes not only essential to the narrative, but a startling vision of how technology runs our society and reveals truth...[skipping a potential spoiler]... De Palma shot Passion on 35mm, a red herring if there ever was one, to juxtapose celluloid and digital images. Andre Bazin suggested film captures light from the moment of reality, and thus has an indexical relation to the real. But in De Palma’s world, the real itself is an illusion, and one can only place their faith in digital."

NAIVE & LAZY TO APPROACH 'PASSION' ONLY AS CAMP
"The decision to take the narrative from the 2010 French film Love Crime by Alain Corneau might seem odd," writes Labuza, "and some of the angry reactions to Passion have approached the film naively by examining it only as camp (an easy task when you have lines like 'Do you think I don’t see what’s going on in that dyke brain of yours?'). But to dismiss Passion as nothing more than a film with an occasional interesting camera movement seems ignorant, if not downright lazy."

And camp is precisely the approach taken by Film School Rejects' Caitlin Hughes, who seems to assume that De Palma was aiming for camp. The opening of her Passion review tries to Film School the reader: "Good camp films know what they are doing. They manipulate the audience into feeling exaggerated sorts of emotion and possess a sort of bravura that makes them unabashedly watchable. Based on Alain Corneau’s 2010 film Love Crime, Brian De Palma’s new offering, Passion, is definitely campy, but oftentimes it borders on just plain stupid. It is aimlessly over-the-top with eye-rolling twists and turns – for nearly the last quarter of the film, De Palma wastes the audience’s time with fake out after fake out (just kidding, guys – she was dreaming… TIMES FIVE!). The director lacks the artfulness in filmmaking that he once possessed in classics like Dressed to Kill." (The latter film is classified by Hughes as "good camp.")

Hughes seems to be confused by the film: "Passion’s mostly generic look makes you yearn for the saturated filmy-ness that was indicative of De Palma’s earlier work. This film could be made by anyone and lacks many of the notable De Palma stylistic traits. Toward the end, he suddenly switches to heavy-handed chiaroscuro lighting, which then also abruptly stops. No symbolism behind this is made evident. This inconsistent cinematography in combination with De Palma regular Pino Donaggio’s bizarrely ‘80s-TV-movie-sounding score makes for quite the odd final product. Passion is so teetering on the edge of bad that it might end up being screened ironically in a couple of years, as Showgirls is now."

Hughes followed up her review a couple of days later with a side-by-side "cat fight" between Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls and Passion. Hughes' final verdict:

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

"Showgirls wins out in 4 out of 7 categories, but Passion is only just trailing behind. Will Passion become a camp classic in years to come? It’s hard to say. While it has the prestige of being directed by Brian De Palma and of starring A-list actresses, its content is fairly ridiculous. There is a heavily-featured sex mask, after all.

"It will, undoubtedly, be included at camp classic screenings, but it might take a while for its campiness to marinate in pop culture. Passion is campy, but Showgirls is beyond campy, thanks largely to Elizabeth Berkley. Cristal and Nomi have a pop culture rivalry for the ages that while they come close, Christine and Isabelle can’t quite match their hilarious badness."


Posted by Geoff at 1:18 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, October 1, 2012
PINKERTON ON 'PASSION' & 'FRANCES HA'
"DE PALMA'S BLACK COMEDY RE-PHRASES GODARD:
'TO LIVE IN SOCIETY TODAY IS LIKE LIVING IN A DIGITAL HALL OF MIRRORS'"

Noting that "Brian De Palma and Noah Baumbach have become thick as thieves," The Village Voice's Nick Pinkerton reviews the two filmmakers' new films side-by-side. "While De Palma's black comedy re-phrases Godard's 'To live in society today is like living in one enormous comic-strip' to a contemporary 'To live in society today is like living in a digital hall-of-mirrors'," writes Pinkerton, "Frances Ha is blown along by the French New Wave's gentler spirits." Pinkerton playfully toys with an attempt to link the two filmmakers' works together, at one point writing of Frances Ha that "Frances repeatedly describes Sophie and herself as 'the same person'--Identical twins? A hidden thematic link between De Palma and Baumbach?"

Aside from all that, for Pinkerton, the "Ass cam" commercial in De Palma's film is "the perfect gag for a film about watching your back. The premise comes from an actual Levi's campaign, and it's the sort of Candid Camera scopophilia that has always been peekaboo De Palma's stock-in-trade, updated in Passion to a 21st century world whose inhabitants live in public in transparent corporate-park glass boxes, where personalities are infinitely fractured and refracted through ubiquitous image capture (smartphone sex tapes, security cameras, Skype conference), the weapons of choice in this three-way dual."

Pinkerton continues, "The color-coded casting--McAdams is blonde, Rapace brunette, Herfurth a redhead--has nothing to do with the director's positioning the women as symbolic placeholders representing various aspects of femininity. They're not merely passive subjects. De Palma respects his heroines as equal participants in his masquerade, colleagues in the field of image-making--McAdams at one point appears with the 'Image' of a Koch Image sign iconographically situated behind her--working towards hidden objectives from under cover of their archetypal roles, less clearly-delineated personalities than stand-in avatars representing themselves in a real-world that is ever more dissonantly virtual, their every interaction offering multivalent readings.

"McAdams, for example, does a fine (faux-?) heart-to-heart with Rapace, crying (crocodile?) tears over the girlhood death of a twin sister, a scene whose almost parodic pathos confounds comfortable response--as does Passion. Like most De Palma, it works perfectly well as slinky 'fun trash'--all the while throwing off infinitely more ideas per minute than works which present themselves to the public under the cumbersome mantle of art."

(Regarding the "trash" aesthetic, note De Palma's comment to MUBI's Daniel Kasman: "That's what I also don't like, when they say 'shoddy' and 'trashy,' when we try to make these people look as gloriously beautiful as we can. I keep wondering, 'What are you watching? Are you watching the screen?'”)

An image from Frances Ha:


Posted by Geoff at 11:48 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
SUPERB NEW INTERVIEW WITH DE PALMA
CONDUCTED BY MUBI'S DANIEL KASMAN; 'PASSION', BALLET, TCM, 'FRANCES HA', SO MUCH MORE
MUBI's Daniel Kasman today posted a fantastic interview with Brian De Palma, mostly about Passion (and watch out for possible minor spoilers within), but the conversation also gets into all kinds of film-related areas: TCM retrospectives, De Palma's relationship with composers, some key movies he's seen at film fests over the years, Greta Garbo, etc., etc.

In the midst of a discussion on composers De Palma has worked with, he talks a bit about working with Pino Donaggio on the new film. "With Pino," De Palma tells Kasman, "I worked on temp tracks for each of the cues, then changed them as we got closer and closer together to the feel of the scenes. One typical example was Noomi's breakdown, where I originally had that marvelous music from Contempt. There's nothing more beautiful than that, so our goal was to try to approach it."

De Palma mentions (again) all the beautiful women in Passion, "like my fabulous ballerina, who was just extraordinarily beautiful." And that's her, Polina Semionova, pictured here and below. In the following excerpt, De Palma briefly discusses filming in Berlin, the pervasive use of phones in Passion, and provides more details about his original idea to open Passion with a play on Christopher Nolan's Inception:
-----------------------------------

KASMAN: I love that the film is ostensibly set in Berlin but it's not until two-thirds the way through the film that people are speaking in German and are subtitled. It really does feel “international.” I remember the first time I went to Berlin was for the film festival, which is centered at Potsdamer Platz, which is also where much of Passion is shot. I couldn't believe that this was Berlin, was a city, this strange, anonymously post-modern mall / office complex / multiplex. It was unreal to see this expressed in your film, this transnational corporate space. It could have been London, or many, many other places.

DE PALMA: Yeah, and we also have the advertisement for the [film's] ballet on Potsdamer's big screen, but I don't think many catch that.

KASMAN: One of the things I really love about your films is that they are real records of the technology being used at the time of their creation. With Passion, its use of Skype and cameras that can record video—you're no longer making phone calls, you're making video calls. When you're writing the screenplay, are you integrating this technology into your plotting?

DE PALMA: I'm very aware of technical innovations. I used to build computers when I was in high school, knew every new technical advance. That sort of Internet, computer stuff I sort of play with as a hobby. It's fascinating to me. The most strange thing you notice in the last ten years is everybody walking around with these things [picks up my cellphone]. I'm always looking at people walking down the street looking like this [peers intently at the screen, mimes touching the phone's buttons], talking across tables and doing this. So, I thought to use this as a sort of weapon, almost, in a movie, first start the whole things as a commercial for this experience. It's very funny, ironically with the new iPhone there's all these competing smartphones that have commercials which try to satirize this very use and experience. Originally, the cellphone commercial in the film was going to be based on something out of Inception. The whole movie deals with dreams and the creation of this idea from Noomi [Rapace]'s subconscious. I had this whole, very complicated, three level thing where they finally find the key and it's the key to a vault and in it's the Panasonic phone. But I had some director fans of mine read this, and they liked the script but said “You can't do Inception!” And I asked why, commercials are constantly copying movies; but they suggested I think of something else. I thought for a while and looked on the Internet and there was this commercial—that I replicated, practically. My commercial is based on a real one, with two girls, one of whom stuck a phone in her back pocket, had people staring at her ass while it photographed them, and put up on the Internet. It went viral but people found out a week or two later it was created by two advertising executives.

KASMAN: You say you replicated it, and while I haven't seen the original, one of the first shots of the commercial is very much your image, of a multi-paned mirror and the women refracted across it.

DE PALMA: We did add the mirrors, but it's very much like the original commercial.

KASMAN: Clearly whether directly or not, the original commercial is inspired by the sort of paranoia of surveillance technology you've been making films about for ages. I suppose you are satirizing something that is already playing off your cinema. Yet, in something like Dressed to Kill, this surveillance technology is a niche thing, the boy is a geek and he happens to have this as a hobby. Whereas now, at the end of your new film we see a character recording an entire crime with a cell phone—this is no longer an unusual act performed by an outsider. Any consumer now has a device in their pocket that can record a crime or blackmail a person.

DE PALMA: Or follow someone and record them.

KASMAN: Exactly. It's not strange any more, the potential seems to be pervasive.

DE PALMA: That was the whole idea, having the phones and their many uses play across the whole movie, leading into the surrealistic last dream. Phones are always ringing—that's something else I've observed: in a restaurant a phone rings and everyone grabs for theirs. It could be their phones, whose phone is it?

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

Posted by Geoff at 5:51 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 11:15 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post


Posted by Geoff at 4:53 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer|Latest|Older