Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
Meanwhile, today The Chicago Reader's Drew Hunt posted his top five picks for best De Palma films (part of his "Weekly Top Five" series), and there are at least a couple that you might not expect. Here they are:
1. Blow Out
3. Femme Fatale
5. Snake Eyes
Both articles include great explanations of the critics' choices, so be sure to check those out, too. I have my own top five De Palma films:
1. Blow Out
3. Phantom Of The Paradise
4. Femme Fatale
5. Dressed To Kill
Tell us your top five in the comments below.
- Brand new digital transfer of the film from the original camera negative
- Original uncompressed mono 2.0 PCM audio
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Blood on the Lens: An interview with Cinematographer Richard H. Kline
- Spinning Tales: Fiona Lewis on starring in The Fury
- The Fury Revisited – An interview with Sam Irvin, intern on The Fury, author of the film’s shooting diary and then correspondent for Cinefantastique magazine
- Original archive interviews from the 1978 promotional tour, featuring Brian De Palma, producer Frank Yablans and stars Carrie Snodgress and Amy Irving
- “Double Negative” [20 mins] – A short film tribute to De Palma by Sam Irvin, starring William Finley
- Gallery of behind-the-scenes production images
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw
- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Dumas, author of Un-American Psycho: Brian De Palma and the Political Invisible, as well as a re-print of a contemporary interview with De Palma, illustrated with original stills and posters, and more to be announced!
One of the most interesting parts of the interview comes when Juzwiak delves into the use of the word "camp," which is sometimes used to describe the tone of a De Palma picture:
In some reviews, the word “camp” has been used to describe Passion. I read a really old interview with you, in which Variety's review of Carrie was brought up and that word was also used and you kind of bristled at it. Have your thoughts on this word changed?
I've been through this for so many years, it's hard for me to really pay much attention to it. I have my followers and then I have my detractors. You know, because I have a kind of very distinctive style and a very, cinematic way of approaching things, some people like it and some people don't. And there is not much to convince one side to come over to the other. Sometimes I find that perceptions… we've heard them all before. It sounds like they’re quoting some boiler-plate Brian De Palma, just put you to sleep.
The antagonistic dynamic between women in Passion is something you've long explored on screen. It's interesting that this movie comes at a time when that dynamic is so prevalent on television, specifically on reality TV. What’s the difference between your interest in the topic and what we see on trashy TV?
Women trashing each other reality TV is not something I'm too familiar with, but maybe [Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace] are because they really worked it.
They certainly did. There’s a distinct an element of fun in this movie.
Oh yeah! Absolutely. Demonic fun.
No matter how gruesome or serious your movies are, there is usually that element. That’s intentional, right?
It's the famous De Palma cackle I've been reading about for decades.
What do you think about people laughing at unintentionally funny elements of your work? Is that insulting to you as a director?
Well, you can go over the top. You can push something too far. I do very stylized stuff and sometimes it goes too far. In Body Double when, he's embracing her and I'm doing this delirious 360 degree tracking shot around her as they're kissing, the audience started to laugh. It was just too much. I was pushing it too hard.
Do you regret doing that?
You know, Body Double is the kind of movie that people always talked to me about. It got massacred by the critics when it came out, but I can't tell you how many people come up to me to this day and talk to me about Body Double. So who knows… times change.
I think part of appreciating De Palma is appreciating your willingness to go over the top, or to push it almost to the edge where it might over the top.
You're usually criticized against the fashion of the day. But the fashion of the day changes. And works that live on somehow transcend the fashion of the day. A movie that was so attacked, I don't know why everybody remembers it so well.
END OF EXCERPT
De Palma also discusses how he felt when watching Scarface in a theater a few years ago: "It's interesting, I was listening to an interview with Oliver Stone recently at Karlovy Vary, a festival somewhere in the Czech Republic. They showed Scarface and he was reflecting on not seeing it for many years and he had the same reflection that I did: He was amazed by the performances in Scarface. When they showed it at the 30th anniversary—who remembers, whatever anniversary it was—I hadn't looked at it in a movie theater in a long time, I thought, 'These actors are just unbelievable.' And as you've seen [your movies] through your life you have different feelings about them."
Check out the rest of this terrific interview at Gawker.
As Chris tells it, "Wright then said that in fact his list to Criterion had been alphabetical and he didn't realize that numbers would be assigned. He said that he did love the film though, as well as others of De Palma's: saying he loved Carrie also, but that his favorite was probably Phantom Of The Paradise. He finished by saying that yes sometime he would like to do a 'straight thriller, or horror film'."
'BABY DRIVER' & SOMETHING CLOSE TO SILENT MOVIES
As he was making the rounds three years ago for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (which was partially under the influence of De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise), Wright talked to The Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth about a screenplay he was working on called Baby Driver that had a strong De Palma influence: "Well, it’s something I’ve been meaning to write for ages. I really planned to recharge my batteries and get back into writing. I’m excited about doing something that’s almost purely visual, because I’ve done three films—and even though Scott Pilgrim is very visual, it’s very dialogue heavy as well, which is great. And music heavy. Yeah. I think I’d like to try something—I’m a big Brian De Palma fan, and I’ll sit and look at something like Carrie, and I like the fact that it starts to play out like a silent movie. There’s a point in Carrie in the last half hour where there’s no need for any more dialogue because the plot is in motion. Or something like [Jean-Pierre Melville's] Le Samourai, I look at something like that and think, wow, there’s hardly any dialogue in this film. Something like that can be enjoyed around the world. I’d really like the challenge of doing something where the dialogue is really stripped back and it’s all about the cinema."
(Thanks to Chris!)
This is a question I've been answering for 40 years. I learned a lot from Hitchcock thrillers. He created a grammar of cinema that many of us use, but I have my own way of seeing things.
I seemed to detect references to movies such as Vertigo. Am I wrong?
Do you know how long filmmakers have been filming spiral staircases? This began in silent films, it is the best way to capture someone walking up stairs. Hitchcock used this trick in Vertigo but before that it had been used dozens of times.
One realizes that dreams have a key role in your films ...
The majority of my thoughts occur during dreaming. Our subconscious is always working ...
In Passion there is a smartphone that takes account of the action. Are you a technology fan?
When I was in high school, I built computers, so we already see that my love of technology comes back. Today we walk with iPhones and film everything. Even my kids force me to take pictures of people with whom I speak [pauses to take a picture of the interviewer]. It’s for them to see what their father is doing.
To what extent do you think that technological tools can influence the movies?
When I started we had to raise a lot of money to make a movie. My first feature film cost $100,000, which we got from a rich girl. My second film cost $50,000. It is clear that both were flops. For the third film we raised $20,000. And it was a success. Today people complain about not having money to make films, but anyone can make them. It's all digital, and they can be edited on a computer. And if you cannot get a cast and write a script, it is best to do something else. Today there are no longer those excuses.
Feel part of a generation of filmmakers who changed cinema?
Yes, I am part of a group of filmmakers who arrived when the Hollywood system was ending. We were a little crazy and created sort of strange films like Easy Rider, but they made a lot of money. Suddenly we were considered the leaders of the city.
You began by making a very experimental film. Would you like to have followed this route?
In the beginning we experience everything to realize what we can do. I made a series of documentaries and experimental films, and won several awards. But only with my third film, which was Greetings, did I begin to enter the Hollywood scheme. I made several independent films that nobody remembers. Carrie was my tenth film.
Is it true or is it a myth that you wrote the first lines of the script of Star Wars?
No, I did not write these lines. George Lucas had an intro that was too complicated and I just told him, 'George, I don’t understand anything of what's written here'. So me and a screenwriter simplified the text. I have been accused of being the sarcastic type that made fun of 'The Force' ... It is true that I was always the official 'clown' of that group, but I'm also a good friend of George’s, and was there to help. My biggest contribution was untangling the mess at the beginning.
But it is true that you discovered Robert De Niro. How did that happen?
He came to see me because of an ad I had placed in a magazine to find a person who could project the movies. And he turned out to audition for a film I was doing in a garage. He was just amazing and I hired him. After two films he did some plays with me.
Do you keep in contact?
Not really. I saw him recently at a dinner that George [Lucas] gave. He appeared with his wife.
You have won several awards, but have never been nominated for an Oscar. Is that important to you?
In America the awards are only television shows in which the stars on the red carpet parade. They end up selling clothing and jewelry.
Were you able to anticipate the success of any of your films?
Only with The Untouchables.
Carrie. It was a cheap horror movie that was released on Halloween. Stephen King was not even known. The book did not sell very well and only during the production of Carrie did it become a best seller. But nobody knew who Stephen King was.
Scarface  was another of your great successes. Were you expecting that?
No. When it was shown in Hollywood, people left the room. I thought it would be a massacre. It wasn’t until it reached audiences that I realized it was something that had never been seen before.
Are there any films of yours that are considered special?
Mostly the controversial films. There is much talk of The Godfather, but Coppola had a traumatic experience. He was supposed to be fired almost daily. Dressed to Kill was ravaged by the women’s liberation movement ...
Is it important to shock the audience?
It is important to catch them off guard. It's like taking the rabbit out of the hat and putting it back in the hat when they are not looking.
It's on television that we see some of the finest moments of current fiction. How do you see this?
Television is a medium dominated by producers and screenwriters. [The directors are the types that take the cables the way] ... Look at The Sopranos or Mad Men: they are almost like War and Peace. The characters are developed over years! That is unprecedented.
Davis also talked about the film to Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette. "“Oh my God, the masterpiece of 2013, in my opinion... It’s riveting, it’s funny, it’s brilliant filmmaking. Imagine an Israeli version of the Coen brothers, mixed with early Brian De Palma, and Park Chan-wook. Also imagine Les Sept jours du talion re-imagined as the most sinister black comedy, but at the same time wickedly entertaining and funny. It’s just the perfect movie.”
'DISCOPATH' RECALLS ITALIAN GIALLO, JOHN CARPENTER, & BRIAN DE PALMA
Making its world premiere at the Fantasia fest on August 3rd will be Discopath, the feature debut of Renaud Gauthier, who sold his own home to finance the film, according to Marc Lamothe on the Fantasia web site. Gauthier served as director, screenwriter, art director, and music composer on Discopath, about a man who goes into a homicidal trance whenever he hears disco music. "Nostalgia is already [Gauthier's] stock in trade, his knack for evoking the smiles and styles of the ’70s, so it’s no surprise that his first feature is soaked in disco culture," Lamothe states in the notes. "But beyond the art direction, the mise en scene connects to the era by recalling the golden age of Italian giallo and lessons of masters like John Carpenter and Brian De Palma."