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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
LESINROCKS CRITIC ON 'PASSION'
SAYS SPLIT-SCREEN IS DE PALMA'S MOST EXTRAVAGANT & POETIC
Jean-Marc Lalanne's online review of Passion at LesinRocks contains some spoilers, but in it, he calls the split-screen sequence in the film "the most extravagant and poetic De Palma has ever designed."


Posted by Geoff at 6:15 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 6:32 PM CST
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Monday, February 11, 2013


Posted by Geoff at 7:08 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 7:10 PM CST
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Sunday, February 10, 2013
DE PALMA TALKS TO BLUMENFELD
NOTES THAT HITCHCOCK IS THE EXCEPTION TO AGING DIRECTOR RULE
This past Friday, Samuel Blumenfeld, who has been interviewing Brian De Palma consistently for a number of years (mostly for the book, Brian De Palma: Conversations with Samuel Blumenfeld and Laurent Vachaud), posted an article about De Palma and Passion for Le Monde. With much help from Google translations, here is an English version of the article, titled "The Passion According to Brian"...
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Brian De Palma is 72 years old. For him, the passing of time is a concern. When he began navigating between France and the United States, at the time of Femme Fatale (2002), then the Black Dahlia (2006), he feared he was already past his age. "Let's be clear. No director has done his best films after sixty, he explained. I am aware of this iron law." Since then, he started looking for exceptions. He found at least one, in one of his favorite directors, Alfred Hitchcock. The latter, classified as the living dead after Topaz, had made a triumphant return in 1972 with Frenzy, contradicting the common view that announced the end of his career as a shipwreck. Hitchcock was then 72 years old.

At the same age, Brian De Palma became aware of a biological principle. In discovering Michael Haneke’s Amour, which depicts an elderly couple dying, he took note of the fact that this film speaks more to him than any movie superhero saving the planet. Trintignant resembles him, not Superman. Pending the end, De Palma survives in the manner of Hitchcock: he has made, with his new work, Passion, arguably the best film in the latter part of his career. Passion is the adaptation of Alain Corneau’s Love Crime (2010), starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, the professional rivalry and love between the boss of an advertising agency and her assistant.

The director of Phantom of the Paradise carries Corneau's film to a whole new level, and marks a return to the mid-1980s, when his thrillers Dressed To Kill, Blow Out and Body Double allowed him to experiment with forms borrowed from, among others, Hitchcock. "For questions raised by a narrative, Hitchcock contrasted with visual responses. It is very difficult to improve the film grammar after him, he had ten years of experience in the silents, which is an achievement invaluable. If I could, today I would make a film with no words."

Passion is like a journey into the grammar of De Palma. Masks, hair platinum blonde and brunette with the couple from hell Rachel McAdams-Noomi Rapace, a shower sequence, twin sisters, a scene shot in split screen - screen divided into "boxes" - long virtuoso shots, surveillance cameras, smartphones used as intrusive objects in a world where privacy has disappeared, an element found in his cinema since the 1960s. So often imitated, even parodied, Brian De Palma reveals to us with Passion that he is the custodian of an art soon to be lost.

Of the new Hollywood generation, where he was together with Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese and Lucas among the most illustrious representatives, De Palma is one that is the most biased. He remains the only one who after a long exile felt that the Hollywood system offered him the greatest artistic comfort. "I don’t miss it anymore. I left after Mission To Mars in 2000. There are more than 400 digital shots in that movie. Then you spend your life in front of a computer. I do not want to do it again, not at my age, not at this point in my career." A certain form of exile is included in the cinema of De Palma. Obsession takes place in Florence, Mission: Impossible in Prague, Femme Fatale in Paris, and Passion in Berlin. "Now, cities are digitalized. The director no longer travels, he uses a hard drive. Suddenly, all places are alike. Yet, if a film does not maintain a strong connection to a place, it becomes impossible to watch. "

While the connection with his peers is important to him, it has slackened over time. George Lucas is isolated in the space opera universe he created. Coppola reigns over his agribusiness empire. When De Palma wants to meet with Scorsese, he must make an appointment with his secretary. He dropped out. Recently, he convinced Steven Spielberg to take the subway. He remains for him the easiest to reach. His new partners are called Wes Anderson, director of The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom, who, like him, lives part of the year in Paris, and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding). "Our generation has made money like never before. We have become too rich." The new fashion in Hollywood, according to him, is no longer collectible houses, sports cars or works of art, but the yachts. The director boarded the biggest of them, "as if they were visiting the court of a king", owned by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. "I've never met a guy so annoying." Suddenly, De Palma left the boat. To return to Paris. Where it is much less boring.


Posted by Geoff at 10:13 PM CST
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Posted by Geoff at 11:43 AM CST
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Saturday, February 9, 2013
DONAGGIO'S 'PASSION' SOUNDTRACK OUT FEB. 19
RELEASES IN FRANCE, USA FROM QUARTET RECORDS


Above are the two covers of Pino Donaggio's soundtrack for Brian De Palma's Passion. Quartet Records has announced on its Facebook page that each one will be available for shipping on February 19 (available for pre-order starting Monday).

Posted by Geoff at 7:56 PM CST
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'SIDE EFFECTS' MAY INCLUDE HITCHCOCK, DE PALMA
ALTHOUGH CREATORS CITE LYNE & KASDAN FILMS AS INITIAL SPARKS
Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects opened yesterday. Reviews have been coming in all week long that call the film Hitchcockian, and in some cases, Brian De Palma's name has been mentioned, as well. While at least a couple of the reviews and articles mention De Palma's Body Double, [possible spoiler here] there is one key scene that reminded me of a key scene in De Palma's Sisters. [End of spoilers] In any case, the less you know about the movie going in, the more you will enjoy it.

Indiewire's Drew Taylor this week posted "10 Psychosexual Thrillers To Get You Ready For Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects," and included Body Double, along with Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction (which he notes was Soderbergh's "principle inspiration" for Side Effects), Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat (which Taylor notes was one of screenwriter Scott Z. Burns' "chief inspirations" for Side Effects), Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In (with which Taylor notes that Almodovar "was able to synthesize" the styles of Hitchcock and De Palma), the Wachowski Brothers' Bound, David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (which, like Side Effects, stars Rooney Mara), and Richard Marquand's Jagged Edge. Here's what Taylor wrote about Body Double:
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"If there's a king of the psychosexual genre, then Brian De Palma should probably be the one to wear the crown. Beginning with his debut feature, Murder A La Mod (1968) and continuing through to Passion (which will be released later this year), De Palma has been working over themes of obsession, violence, and betrayal, in particular during a string of profitable and highly controversial movies in the '70s and '80s. (Detailed lovingly in the recent, pseudo-academic book Un-American Psycho by Chris Dumas.) While Dressed to Kill might be the most psychosexual of his psychosexual heyday, there's something sleazier and steamier about Body Double, his unheralded classic from the period, that was unjustifiably thrown under the bus for perceived misogynistic undertones and what critics viewed as too many lapses in logic in De Palma's dreamlike narrative. (He's admitted some things in the movie just don't work.) But it's for all these reasons, not in spite of them, that Body Double is such a whacked-out delight. Like Dressed to Kill, which liberally cribs from Psycho, Body Double finds De Palma riffing on Hitchcock, in this case Rear Window, with a struggling actor (Craig Wasson) agreeing to housesit for a friend. After her watches a woman get killed (in a sequence that caused the public outcry – she gets speared by a giant phallic drill), he's drawn into the underground world of Los Angeles pornography. (It was originally intended as a micro-budget film with an NC-17 rating.)" [Editor's note: the NC-17 rating did not exist at the time Body Double was released; De Palma had originally talked about making a film that would receive a pure, unadulterated X rating.] "Body Double is goofier than Blow Out, De Palma's masterpiece, but it's still a sparkly crown jewel for the king of the psychosexual thriller.
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Here are some of the reviews with quotes:

Randall King, Winnipeg Free Press
"Soderbergh, working from a script by Scott Z. Burns, delivers a genre mash-up, a murder mystery that strives to address the social ills that attend prescription pharmaceuticals. This has the capacity to be a hot-button movie playing on the all-too-pertinent link between violence and prescription meds. But Soderbergh seems to be gingerly avoiding head-on confrontation. Instead, he bottles a more mundane thriller of the type that might have appealed to Brian De Palma a decade or two earlier."

Jeff Myers, Metro Times
"From Soderbergh’s head-scratching opening homage to Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby to a plot that, at first, seems to be a cautionary legal tale of big pharma abuses, Side Effects unexpectedly develops into a postmodern Hitchcockian thriller —which is actually akin to one of Brian De Palma’s chilly psychological puzzles. That’s an awful lot of cinematic referencing for one movie. But let me put a cherry on top, won’t you? With its eventual double-cross plot turns, paranoid wrong-man drama, and corrupt corporate subtext, Side Effects plays like a particularly nasty episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent had it been directed by Robert Altman."

Josh Board, Fox 5 San Diego
"Now, this is about all I will tell you regarding the plot. Even the trailers, and the stars of the movie on talk shows, have given away too much. I went in knowing nothing about it when I saw it last month. And I loved the way it went from a bit of an ethical dilemma to a psychological thriller. It was Hitchcock-light. More like Brian De Palma."

Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger
"To even begin to describe the plot would be a disservice to anyone who has not yet basked in the film’s psychotic pleasures. Just know that nothing – and I mean, nothing – is what it seems, right up to the superbly composed final shots that come courtesy of Soderbergh, who serves as both editor and cinematographer (under the pseudonym of Peter Andrews) as well as director. It’s easily his finest – and most commercial – effort since Oceans 13. It’s also like nothing he’s ever done before, as he boldly treads into the domain normally reserved for masters of suspense like Hitchcock (think Vertigo) and Brian De Palma (Body Double, anyone?)."

Kurt Loder, Reason.com
"Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects is a grippingly 'Hitchcockian' movie, but not in the manner of, say, Brian De Palma, who blithely appropriated the master’s narrative elements and visual techniques for ’80s films like Dressed to Kill and Body Double. Soderbergh’s picture is something else, a bracingly lurid tale of a man trapped in a thickening web of circumstance—the sort of story that Hitchcock might well have wanted to tell himself. In the late director’s absence, Soderbergh, who over the course of 24 years has demonstrated a rare facility in a wide array of genres, proves to be just the man for the job."

Brian Tallerico, Hollywood Chicago
"Side Effects not only draws on Soderbergh’s career but has conscious echoes of Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, and Alfred Hitchcock as well...

"That first act has echoes of Polanski’s wonderful, urban paranoia films like Repulsion as Soderbergh (under the pseudonym of Peter Andrews) shoots the 'wounded bird' of Mara often from below or above, heightening the claustrophobia of a city in which millions can feel alone despite being in such close proximity. Then the film twists and Soderbergh/Andrews & Burns bring a different, pulpier style that’s more reminiscent of De Palma when he so blatantly mimicked Hitchcock. Technically, it’s a marvelous piece of work as Soderbergh proves defter with his camera with every film."

Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
"Yet, Side Effects seems more intent on toying with its viewers’ expectations than in really crafting its own internal cat-and-mouse game. The actual meat of its full storyline is unexpectedly trashy and tawdry, like some unholy mix of Brian De Palma film and Lifetime Original movie."


Posted by Geoff at 7:40 PM CST
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'THE FURY' LIMITED ED. BLU-RAY COMING MARCH 12
AND 'CARRIE' UK BLU-RAY COMING MARCH 4
Back in Decmber, it was announced that Twilight Time will release a Blu-ray version of Brian De Palma's The Fury on March 12. A week or two ago, the cover art (at left) was revealed. Our old friend Bill Fentum notes in the comments below that the Blu-ray will include an isolated track of John Williams's score, as well as the theatrical trailer. The Fury Blu-ray will be a limited edition, to 3000 copies. The cover art is the original poster art for the film's original release, but with a new, crazy font (I liked the original one better).

Meanwhile, in the U.K., MGM had timed a Blu-ray release of De Palma's Carrie to coincide with the upcoming Kimberly Peirce remake. When the latter film's release was pushed back to October 2013, they almost changed the Blu-ray release date, as well, but now it looks like they will move forward with the original release date of March 4. The U.K. Blu-ray may or may not include a new 5-minute feature titled Bringing Back Carrie.
(Thanks to Chiel!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:38 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 9, 2013 7:47 PM CST
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Posted by Geoff at 7:38 PM CST
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Monday, February 4, 2013
'PASSION' MAKES TWO MORE 2012 TOP 10 LISTS
THE LISTS APPEAR IN CURRENT ISSUE OF 'FILM COMMENT'
Film Comment's January-February 2013 issue is out, and it includes the "20 Best Films of 2012" list, as chosen by "over 100 North American colleagues." As usual, the magazine includes the top 10 lists of several critics from all over the world. Three of those lists include Brian De Palma's Passion. One of those three lists is a reworking of Manuel Yanez-Murillo's list as posted to Twitter in December. Here are the other two:
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Nico Baumbach (New York)
1. The Turin Horse
2. Like Someone In Love
3. Holy Motors
4. This Is Not A Film
5. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
6. Moonrise Kingdom
7. The Kid With A Bike
8. Leviathan
9. Passion
10. Cosmopolis

Chris Chang
(New York)
(Listed alphabetically with no ranking preference)
Amour
Araf: Somewhere In Between
Frances Ha
Hail
Leviathan
Nervous Magic Lantern
performance, 12/12/12, Ken Jacobs/Aki Onda
Night Across The Street
Passion
Patience (After Sebald)
Tabu

Posted by Geoff at 7:40 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 7:41 PM CST
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Saturday, February 2, 2013
VIDEO: DE PALMA TALKS POLITICS, 'ZERO DARK', MORE
10-MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH RUSSIAN JOURNALIST:
ORWELLIAN PARANOIA, TORTURE, OBAMA, GUNS, WOMEN, 'PASSION', 'REDACTED', ETC.



In the video above, Brian De Palma is interviewed by a Russian journalist, RT.com's Valeria Paikova, who asks him plenty of political questions relating to the cinema. Beginning with a quote from Oliver Stone about how the U.S. is living in an Orwellian state, De Palma says that he understands Stone's paranoia, because both men share strong views on America's foreign policy. After some elaboration, De Palma added that since he himself has been making anti-war pictures since the 1960s, he understands "why Oliver thinks we're being followed all the time," because "we probably are." And from here, the interview gets only more and more interesting, as the discussion covers the gun situation in the U.S., the depiction of torture in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (which De Palma found to be realistic), how Obama is trying to change things, etc., etc. The interview actually slows down a little at the end when De Palma is asked for the umpteenth time about the misogyny question, and whether his new Passion, as a film "exclusively about women, for women," is something of an ultimate answer to such criticisms. But it's a terrific interview, nonetheless.

Posted by Geoff at 1:12 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2013 1:16 AM CST
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