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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cristina "The apple bite of Apple never had a subtext as powerful as in # PASSION. Now opening the mac is synonymous with perversion!"

Carles "The DE PALMA? Where did you see it?"

Cristina "Berger Kino, Frankfurt, along with five other viewers. I AM HAPPY!"

Posted by Geoff at 8:05 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 8:12 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 5, 2013
Most of the summer movie previews have been listing Brian De Palma's Passion as a vague July release, with the exact date to be determined. While sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Coming Soon.net continue to list Passion as a limited release beginning June 7, The Boston Globe's summer movie preview, posted yesterday, has the film slotted squarely for July 3, which is a Wednesday, and is also the day before Independence Day. Passion might be considered counter-programming for that day's big tentpole release, The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp, except it will likely be on far fewer screens, in far fewer theaters. Also opening that day is Despicable Me 2. Opening a mere five days prior to July 3 are two other films expected to do big business: White House Down, with Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, and The Heat, the comedy which pairs Sandra Bullock with Melissa McCarthy. The Globe's line on Passion reads, "Things get hot and heated between ad agency head Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, her protégée (consider that a euphemism)."

Meanwhile, Time Out New York includes Passion on its list of "The 30 coolest things to see this summer." The article was written by David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf, and Keith Uhlich, and we have a feeling that the latter probably wrote the following passage recommending Passion: "Returning to the genre he does best, Brian De Palma concocts a deliciously catty erotic thriller, about an advertising-agency protégé (Noomi Rapace) out for revenge against her manipulative boss (Rachel McAdams). Throat-slitting straight razors and sapphic sex scenes are, of course, included."

Posted by Geoff at 1:59 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, May 5, 2013 2:23 AM CDT
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Saturday, May 4, 2013
A lot of interviews with Brian De Palma have been coming out of Germany, and this one from Frankfurter Allgemeine's Andreas Kilb is one of the best. If you're touchy about spoilers, you may wish to wait and read the rest of this post after you've seen Passion. What I think is most significant in this interview is that when De Palma is asked whther or not Christina's twin sister really exists, De Palma says he has "no idea." It says a lot about the significance of the twin sister, and whether the movie provides all the answers. De Palma is basically saying that the twin sister may exist, and she may not, but either way, it matters so little to the film itself that he doesn't even know the answer. He is a translation from the interview provided by Patrick, with some tweaks here and there from me (thanks, Patrick!).

What made you decide to add Debussy's "Afternoon of a Faun" to a murder story?

I love Debussy. And I'm a fan of this ballet. I wanted to use it for a long time in a movie. In the French model of "Passion", Isabelle goes to the movies and slips through a rear exit. I moved the scene to an evening at the ballet.

So it wasn't really the sexual theme of "Afternoon" that attracted you?

With me you can see the pas de deux with the kiss, and on the other half of the split screen you can see Christine at her home, expecting a lover and getting murdered. At the moment of the kiss, the knife cuts her throat.

Did you discover Berlin as a film location, or did Berlin find you?

We had planned to shoot the interiors of the film in Berlin and the exteriors in London. When I saw the venues in London, I said: Why don't we shoot Berlin as Berlin? There are some great buildings there as in any other European city. At the end we even shot the scenes set in London in Berlin.

With you however, Berlin doesn't come across as a particularly cozy place. It's rather spooky.

Great! That was exactly my intention. When I work in European cities, I often have the feeling that the directors who live there miss out on some of the most amazing sights of their own surroundings. To shoot at the Sony Center is not particularly original, in fact. Nevertheless, in every interview people say : Oh my God, the Sony Center! (Laughs) It seems to be a fantastic location. Why has no one else ever thought of it?

Since "Femme Fatale" your image of women seems to have changed. The heroines are more active, more aggressive, less victimized than in your earlier work.

It is always more interesting to have a woman instead of a man act in front of the camera, one can simply do much more beautiful things with them.

Did you pick your actresses by hair color?

That happened by accident. Rachel has already changed her hair color quite often. She came in as a blonde, Noomi as a brunette, and then Karoline came in - I liked her red hair in Tom Tykwer's "Perfume". That's why she dyed it again in that tone.

Is working with German actors different than with others?

No, I wouldn’t say that. The guy who plays the detective. . .

. . . the actor Rainer Bock. . .

. . . this guy can do anything. Incredible. Great character actor. Fantastic. It was wonderful to watch him at work. And then the guy who plays the prosecutor, the German with the English accent!

You mean Benjamin Sadler.

That was so funny. We shot the scene, and they all spoke English. I said, but you are all Germans, why don't you speak in German? They were gobsmacked. They had to literally make an effort to continue in German, because they had rehearsed their roles in English. And we found no proper translation for the sentence, "The butler did it." Instead, he suddenly said: "The gardener did it." Okay, I said, then I guess it was the gardener! Don't you have this butler cliché in Germany?

Absolutely, there is a famous song: "The murderer is always the butler." However, even there in the end it turns out to be the gardener.

Oh, really? (Laughs) Well, that's probably where it all came from then.

What made you interested in the game with lesbian entanglement?

In the French original, this motif of attraction and manipulation was already there. The decisive alteration with me is that I changed the gender of Isabelle's assistant. I now find this figure much more exciting. The fact that Dani loves Isabelle and picks an argument with Christine almost automatically makes her a murder suspect.

For your last shot, are you referring to Chabrol's "Cry of the Owl"?

I've never seen it. The idea for the scene literally came to me at the very last minute. In the script, the story ended with a dream sequence. Having Dani dead on the carpet allowed me to send out a clear message. Chabrol has done the same thing? Then it was probably a good idea.

Does Christine really have a twin sister, or is it an illusion?

I have no idea.

Have you had problems with the budget?

Not a bit. The film was scheduled for 45 days, I shot it in 39. It just rushed through.

Do you sometimes think about releasing DVD director's cuts from your early films?

No, never. I'm actually quite happy with my films. For "Casualties of War" I recut two scenes for the DVD edition. But that's it.

Posted by Geoff at 2:10 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 4, 2013 8:13 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Film & Leven's Gawie Keyser posted a review of Brian De Palma's Passion yesterday, calling the story "flat as a dime, not to mention implausible, poorly developed and sometimes very badly played by actors who seem like amateurs." But then Keyser goes on to suggest that none of that matters:

"But this is film and not a novel or theater, something that De Palma is well aware of and a point on which he insists in interviews. Film is image, as a matter of fact, and there are few directors better than De Palma at understanding that it is the drama of images, rather than the meaning of the words of characters, that has a psychological impact. That’s why Passion is so powerful: the film does not appeal to rational thought processes, but seems to stimulate the emotions that regulate those parts in your brain. It is a film in which texture predominates: images reflected within images or on shiny surfaces such as mirrors and walls and windows in ultra modern office buildings or in anonymous apartments that cause feelings of alienation rather than homeliness. Everything is extremely stylized, so time is distorted and the essence of an action or event is stretched and accentuated, especially in a fabulous sequence where a bloody murder and a ballet performance are simultaneously visible in split screen...

"...De Palma is a romantic filmmaker par excellence, and that he has in common with his Hong Kong colleague Wong Kar-wai. Perhaps the problem lies in something they both contend with when it comes to the reception of their work: the harsh reality of the current zeitgeist offers little room for the beauty of the elongated moment."

Posted by Geoff at 1:23 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:27 AM CDT
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Thanks to Marina for finding some more stills and set photos from Passion, including the one above that shows Brian De Palma and Jose Luis Alcaine on set. There are sets of photos (most we've seen before, but some we have not) at Port, MoziNéző, and on the ADS Facebook page.

Posted by Geoff at 6:06 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 6:07 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 28, 2013
I've found yet another video clip, dubbed in German, from Brian De Palma's Passion. Can't wait to hear the real voices and see the full movie, but until then, here's the link to the new clip, followed by some captures. (And by the way, this site also has videos of each of the four Passion interview subjects, with all the smaller interview clips edited together by individual: De Palma, Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, and Karoline Herfurth.)

Passion clip: Böses Spiel

Posted by Geoff at 10:39 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:50 PM CDT
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(Thanks to Patrick!)

Posted by Geoff at 9:51 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 27, 2013
The Weser Kurier's Kerstin Lindemann interviews Brian De Palma about Passion, his career, and computer games. Here is a Google-assisted translation:

Kurier: Mr. De Palma, you recently said that in the last five years it has been difficult for you to make a film. Why is that?

Brian De Palma: I wrote some more political screenplays, but the productions did not get financed. But that's just life in the film industry: You put work into a project that is about to go into production, then it does not work out. Or you get another offer, but maybe you do not want to do it. We work up a new project. So I do not spend the whole day at the beach or on the sofa watching football on TV, but working. This project here I liked, for example.

Kurier: Why?

De Palma: Because "Passion" is a very clever mystery story, where you always keep the audience in doubt as to who is the murderer and who is not. And I set the whole thing in the surrealistic world of advertising, which raises even more questions and fewer genuine answers.

Kurier: Why does Hollywood scarcely make movies like "Passion", aimed at an adult audience?

De Palma: Because many filmmakers, who select the adult themes, are not at all interested in a career in the studio system. The members of the "Sundance generation": their movies cost five to ten million dollars and make 20 million. The development of their projects take years. People in their mid-40s may only have shot four films. At that age, I had already directed 15 films.

Kurier: And with not too bad earnings?

De Palma: I certainly have also earned a lot of money (laughs). But at that time we were all taken up, because we wanted to make a career in the studio system. A few of my friends from back then are now billionaires: George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Francis Coppola, for example, have earned very much. This was something new in the history of directing. Directors were previously employed in the old Hollywood. They made one film after another for a studio, putting out 50, 60 or even 100 movies. Today we create maybe 30 our whole life. I'm not a fan of five-year development cycles for film projects. We are directors. We should be filming, not developing. All the directors I admire have filmed a lot. In fact you get better with every film you make.

Kurier: That sounds a little bitter ...

De Palma: Perhaps it may seem that way because I've spent almost my entire professional life trying to defend my movies. I'm not a particular fan of film critics, because very few seem to see what happens on the screen. This is very inconvenient for my visual style. Even with "Scarface" they savaged me, and years later, the film was considered very good and suddenly became a classic.

Kurier: Are you all in all happy with the course of your career?

De Palma: Yes, I would say so. I'm pretty happy because basically everything I made was what I wanted to shoot at the time. Nevertheless, any exciting career has its ups and downs. Also, I'm glad I'm still able to make films. That fact alone is already a great thing.

Kurier: You have completed a physics degree. How much you are still interested in modern technology?

De Palma: Very much. My brother and I were always completely computer crazy. We used pretty much every computer at home, every one that hit the market. We’d have it tested and tried, how powerful it is. And we played computer games, back in the seventies! At that time, I also played with Steven Spielberg, a game called "Pong", during the filming of "Jaws".

Kurier: And what do you play today with Steven?

De Palma: Steven Spielberg is the master of flight simulation. You put in any flight simulator, and he brings the craft down safely, no matter which aircraft. Breathtaking. But whenever I have a new game, no matter what, he comes over and we try it out.

Kurier: Why don’t you develop one yourself, if you are so excited about it?

De Palma: Are you kidding me? That would be as if I wanted to learn a new language at 73. It would be incredibly time-consuming, to familiarize myself with that. And time, as any 73-year-old will confirm, no longer works for me at my age.

Posted by Geoff at 1:11 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:14 PM CDT
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Friday, April 26, 2013

The image above is one of several included in a new episode of Spiegel TV's Making Of, which features Brian De Palma's Passion, as well as Mama and Scary Movie 5. (Thanks to Marina for letting us know about it!) Passion opened yesterday in the Netherlands, and here is another positive review:

Sylvia van de Poll, Film Abides
"The great camera work, in combination with the lighting effects, make for beautiful images that are a true homage to the film noir form. This comes out clearly when Isabelle begins taking sleeping pills. At all times (even if it is logically impossible) there are dark shadows from wide blinds over the scenes which results in a distorted atmosphere. It is difficult to determine what is real and what is not, especially when Isabelle is several times startled awake from (possibly) a dream."

Passion also opened yesterday in Russia and Hungary, and opened today in Iceland. It will open in Germany on Thursday, May 2nd.

Posted by Geoff at 6:36 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, April 26, 2013 6:37 PM CDT
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