Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod


De Palma Discussion


Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-De Palma attached
to The Truth and
Other Lies

-De Palma hopes to
shoot Lights Out
in summer 2016

-De Palma doc
in theaters 6/10/16
Poster is here

-Raising Cain Blu-ray
due Sept 12/13, 2016,
extras 'in progress'

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


« June 2016 »
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


De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


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


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

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema


Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor


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


No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

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
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Casualties Of War
Cinema Studies
Columbo - Shooting Script
Daft Punk
Dancing In The Dark
David Koepp
De Niro
De Palma & Donaggio
De Palma (doc)
De Palma Blog-A-Thon
De Palma Discussion
Demolished Man
Dionysus In '69
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Femme Fatale  «
Film Series
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Happy Valley
Hi, Mom!
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Lights Out
Magic Hour
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parties & Premieres
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Responsive Eye
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Sean Penn
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Taxi Driver
Toronto Film Fest
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
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
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Grappling with the question of whether it is sexist or empowering "to portray a woman who is comfortable with her own sexuality, and willing to use it in pursuit of her own ends," The Week's Scott Meslow uses Trudy, a character on Sundance TV's new series Hap & Leonard which he dubs "the platonic ideal of the femme fatale," as a springboard to look at the history and continual reinvention of the femme fatale. From the story of Adam and Eve, to mythology and folklore, Meslow then jumps to noir as the modern-day root of what we know as the femme fatale. Here are the last few paragraphs of the article:
But while there's an undeniable moralism in the roots of these kinds of stories, a closer look reveals something more complicated. Like horror — another boundary-pushing genre that has long offered a paradoxical balance of regressive and progressive — noir films also offered substantial, multifaceted, and groundbreaking roles to actresses at a time when depicting a flushing toilet on a movie screen was considered too risqué. When else could a woman play the villain? When else could a woman be overtly sexual? And when else could sex be depicted as such a blatant tool of power and pleasure, so utterly divorced from childbirth and motherhood?

And as modern storytellers reinterpreted the archetype with an increasingly sympathetic lens, it shifted. By the 1990s — a watershed era for the erotic thriller — femme fatales were routinely the heroes, not the villains, of their own stories. Take Sharon Stone's infamous leg-crosser in 1992's Basic Instinct, or Linda Fiorentino's should've-been-nominated-for-an-Oscar performance in 1994's The Last Seduction, or Kim Basinger's actually-won-her-an-Oscar performance in 1997's L.A. Confidential. By and large, the men in these stories are still hapless dupes — but this time, we're invited to empathize and cheer on the women who are savvy enough to exploit them.

And as the femme fatale archetype shifted toward female empowerment, some women began owning it outright. In 2002, Brian De Palma simply dubbed his Rebecca Romijn-starring erotic thriller Femme Fatale, confident that audiences would understand the shorthand. By 2011, no smaller a cultural figure than Britney Spears was proudly dubbing herself a femme fatale on the cover of her seventh studio album. "Sexy and Strong. Dangerous yet mysterious. Cool yet confident!" she wrote as she revealed the album's title. It may be oddly punctuated and capitalized — but for a definition of the modern femme fatale, it's as good as any.

And that brings us back to Hap & Leonard, with Trudy, its uber-femme fatale, springing the entire story into motion. In both the small-screen adaptation and its original literary source, Trudy initially feels like a throwback to those Double Indemnity days, when a woman could correctly be identified as "trouble" the second she walked up with those legs that end at the throat.

But the first three episodes of Hap & Leonard reveal Trudy to be something a little more complicated. The sex appeal is key to the character. So is the sex. But while [Christina] Hendricks herself describes Trudy as a "classic femme fatale," she dismissed the suggestion that she was merely "window dressing," and later explained that she was drawn to the role for its complexity. "She’s trying to be a better person," Hendricks told Variety. "She’s self-aware. She knows she’s a bit of a mess up. She’s made a lot of mistakes and she’s trying to fix it."

Today, if you cast a wide enough net, you'll find the basic DNA of the femme fatale being conjured up and subverted all the time. Take Gone Girl, an icy thriller that drops a femme fatale into a modern disintegrating marriage. Or Justified, Hap & Leonard's fellow southern noir, which introduced a femme fatale that ended up being the show's ultimate hero. Or last year's Ex Machina, an indie noir sci-fi thriller with a femme fatale that happens to be a robot. That's the beauty of archetypes; as soon as you feel like they're set in stone, someone comes along to reinvent them all over again.

Posted by Geoff at 9:01 PM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
The Metrograph is a new movie theater in New York that, in its mission statement, looks to be "the ultimate place for movie enthusiasts." This weekend, from March 4-8, the Metrograph will begin showing movies with the series, "Surrender To The Screen." Included in the Susan Sontag-inspired series is Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale (at 4:30 pm Saturday and 10 pm Sunday), to be screened from a 35mm print. "Brian De Palma uses everything in his bag of cinematic tricks for this sumptuously shot, mind-bogglingly entertaining meta-movie masterwork," reads the Metrograph description. "Beginning with an elaborate jewel heist set at the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Palais on opening night, Femme Fatale—starring Rebecca Romijn as a bad girl hurtling toward redemption and Antonio Banderas as the photographer who gets roped into her schemes—is constructed of one amazing set piece after another. It’s a movie high off the pleasures of movies."

Amidst the above series at the Metrograph this weekend, Saturday night brings an event titled "Noah Baumbach's Dream Double Feature," which consists of George Miller's Babe: Pig In The City, followed by Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Baumbach will be there to introduce each film. "When Jake [Perlin] asked me if there was a double feature I’d like to present at his new theater," Baumbach states in the event's description, "I said, ‘That’s easy, Eyes Wide Shut and Babe: Pig in the City.' When Jake asked me if I would write something about them, I thought, I can’t believe you’re going to make me defend this decision. But here’s a try. Both movies take place in strange alternate cities. Part storybook, part nightmare. I’ve never been to these places, but I know what they are. One has a disturbing and harrowing chase scene that concludes with a pig rescuing a deranged, drowning dog hanging upside down by a chain. The other has a disturbing and harrowing pot-induced marital argument in a bedroom. All I know is, I get a similar hit off these two movies. They’re so otherworldly that I sometimes doubt my memory of them. They feel like dreams I had as a kid, or movies I once pretended to have seen."

(Thanks to Hugh!)

Posted by Geoff at 10:00 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 10:05 PM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, July 19, 2014

Writing for Complex, Nick Schager uses this weekend's release of Jake Kasdan's Sex Tape to ask, "Where did Hollywood's sexiness go?" Schager begins by suggesting that in the current Hollywood cinema, sex is either funny, scary, or "uncomfortable and upsetting (at least when it’s not embarrassing and ridiculous)."

"Over the past decade," Schager states, "sex has remained an ideal subject for ribald comedies and brainy, tortured character pieces. But when it comes to actually being sexy, in a mature and serious way? Or even a tawdry, titillating, vulgar-but-hot way? Hollywood is no longer interested.

"This wasn’t the case very long ago. As recently as 2002’s Unfaithful, mainstream American movies were perfectly comfortable tackling stories built around steamy scenarios. However, since that Diane Lane-Richard Gere marital thriller (marked by sizzling extramarital encounters between Lane and co-star Olivier Martinez), the pickings in this arena have been woefully slim. There was the rough-and-tumble tussling of Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello in A History of Violence (2005). And the psychosexual tango of Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke in Taking Lives (2004). And just about everything in Brian De Palma’s undervalued 2002 masterwork Femme Fatale (which should have forever established Rebecca Romijn’s superstardom). And, um, well...that’s about it."

Schager points out that this could all change with "one out-of-left-field eroticized hit—perhaps, for instance, next year’s hotly anticipated adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey."

Meanwhile, Edge On The Net's Jake Mulligan mentions De Palma in his review of Sex Tape, which he points out was co-written by Nicholas Stoller, who also wrote and directed this year's Neighbors, "a somewhat similar movie, with completely identical jokes." Much of Mulligan's review highlights how the two movies are similar. "Director Jake Kasdan tries to do something with the material," Mulligan writes, "whipping... his camera back and forth across dinner tables with emphatic abandon like he's Brian De Palma. But you can't put spicy cinematography on a leftover script and then pretend we're being served a fresh meal." Mulligan also points out some of the product placement featured in the film, which, according to him, includes Scarface.

Posted by Geoff at 5:23 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
As we've noted several times over the past few months, Doc Films in Chicago has been hosting a Brian De Palma retrospective, running every Wednesday since January 8. The retrospective ends tomorrow (Wednesday) night with two screenings of Femme Fatale. Programmer Dan Wang writes of the film at the Doc Films website: "Beginning with a rapturous set piece at the Cannes Film Festival, and ending with a statement not only of cinematic aesthetics but also of ethics, Femme Fatale is De Palma's most ambitious, vexing, and confounding work. It is also beautiful, drawing from a more vibrant and painterly palette than earlier films. Starring Rebecca Romijn as a jewel thief and Antonio Banderas as an opportunistic photographer, this film calls to be seen and seen again."

And while we're at it, this is a great time to revisit Jonathan Rosenbaum's capsule review of the film for the Chicago Reader:

"Try to imagine a synthesis of every previous Brian De Palma film; you'll come up with something not very different from his first made-in-France movie (2002), a personal project for which he takes sole script credit. I enjoyed every minute of it, maybe because De Palma took such obvious pleasure in putting it all together. If you decide at the outset that this needn't have any recognizable relationship to the world we live in, you might even find it a delight."

Posted by Geoff at 8:37 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:38 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 5:23 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 7, 2013 5:23 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, December 7, 2012
Sorry about catching word of this too late (the screening is happening as I write this), but I had to note that Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale is screening tonight at New York's Museum Of The Moving Image, as part of the series "The Cinema and its Doubles." I especially like the quote at the Moving Image site from Jonathan Rosenbaum, which I don't recall ever reading before. According to the site, Rosenbaum called Femme Fatale "a synthesis of every previous Brian De Palma film... I enjoyed every minute of it, maybe because De Palma took such obvious pleasure in putting it together."

Posted by Geoff at 8:40 PM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, August 6, 2012
Armond White, writing about the current Claude Sautet retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, says that "a stunning montage" in Sautet's Les Choses de la Vie (The Things Of Life) "no doubt inspired Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale climax." Sautet's film, released in 1970, established his international reputation. White states that it is "a more operatic version of the usual Sautet melodrama." According to White, "The montage details life in shocking, lyrical increments. Jean Boffety’s cinematography captures natural light and existential tragedy in captivating, musical counterpoint. Sautet may be practiced in face-to-face contretemps but the car crash sequence–a Nouvelle Vague salute to the crisis/memories/fate flashbacks of Hollywood’s classic Slattery’s Hurricane–is one of cinema’s most exquisite examples of melding kinetics to philosophy."

The Saute retrospective, running through August 16, is named after The Things Of Life, and includes that film along with 12 other Sautet features.

Posted by Geoff at 1:11 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 6, 2012 1:12 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Armond White states that with The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar has made a horror film that "is the most self-conscious, intellectually ambitious film yet from a director who has previously used self-consciousness in the form of camp irony." White mentions Luis Buñuel and Brian De Palma as partial influences:

I’ve avoided plot details because Skin would not synopsize well. But it’s full of feeling—a genuine art experience, even when Almodóvar fights his own conceits. Villainy and martyrdom overlap, as do dream and terror. That’s why the film embraces Buñuel’s acerbity yet neglects his humor, evokes the narrative flow of De Palma’s Femme Fatale then shrinks from the omniscience that De Palma synthesized out of Hitchcock, Michael Powell and Warhol.

Others have noted a De Palma influence on The Skin I Live In. DVD Talk's Jason Bailey concludes that a De Palma comparison doesn't hold water, yet his argument suggests structural links to De Palma's Femme Fatale:

The Skin I Live In has been diagnosed in countless reviews as the Spanish filmmaker's homage to Hitchcock, and on the surface, that's true enough; you can hear it in Alberto Iglesias's gloriously, almost deliriously over-the-top score, and you can see it in the dirty kick of certain scenes that alternately call to mind Hitch and his cinematic pupil, Brian De Palma.

But the picture is just too damn strange for those comparisons to hold water; Almodovar lets his narrative get out of his control in a way that those filmmakers seldom did. He takes an interesting structural strategy, basically starting out in the middle of the story, then taking the second act to catch us up (at one point, from two different points of view). It's a risky storytelling gamble, and one that doesn't always pay off--he certainly keeps you guessing, but we get the unnerving feeling, at times, of merely having our chains pulled.

The A.V. Club's Noel Murray and Scott Tobias suggest a cross between Cronenberg and De Palma, while a discussion last May at Plunderphonics brought in comparisons to De Palma's Femme Fatale and Body Double.

Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:02 AM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, May 15, 2011
It was ten years ago that Brian De Palma filmed a portion of Femme Fatale in Cannes, immediately following the close of the Cannes Film Festival with a recreation of a film premiere, during which an elaborate heist is performed. Yesterday, Randomaniac posted a piece in which he calls Femme Fatale "De Palma's signature film." Randomaniac continues, "In no other movie does he have such free reign over his scenario. His script reaches far beyond absurdity into realms of the subconscious where the borders between dream and truth become insignificant, and his rapturous, James Bondish fetish for technogadgetry make the film one of the more surreal expressions of fantasy in cinema." The post is accompanied by several wonderfully large frames from the opening section of the film.

It was Melanie Griffith who encouraged her husband, Antonio Banderas, to work with De Palma on Femme Fatale, and now the happy couple are in Cannes, celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary (they are pictured here from last Wednesday in Cannes). "They said when we got married we wouldn’t last three months," Banderas joked to Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman. "But we knew they were wrong." Friedman reveals that Banderas is "getting ready to produce a series pilot for Melanie called Neurasthenia.”

Meanwhile,it was announced last week that Banderas' production company, Green Moon, is teaming up with Femme Fatale producer Tarak Ben Ammar's Quinta Communications, along with Vertice 360 to produce Banderas' next two films. Banderas will produce and star in the alliance's first film, Automata, a futuristic story that will shoot in in Tunisia and Egypt at the end of this year, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Then in 2012, Banderas will produce, direct, and act in Solo, playing a recently returned soldier suffering post-traumatic syndrome. Solo is based on an original story by Band Of Brothers' Erik Jendresen.

Aside from all of that, Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar's highly anticipated horror film, The Skin I Live In, which has its world premiere at Cannes this Thursday.

Posted by Geoff at 5:15 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:16 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, April 2, 2010
Jonathan Rosenbaum has reposted his 2002 review of Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale. After reading Rosenbaum's review of Snake Eyes in 1998, in which he seemed to feel De Palma had, in his eyes, finally come into his own as a filmmaker whose vision was wholly his own, I remember reading this review of Femme Fatale and really thinking that Rosenbaum was in the midst of some kind of reconsideration of De Palma's work (in the review, he cites Pauline Kael's ebracing "of what she called De Palma’s trashiness" as getting in the way of Rosenbaum's ability to appreciate De Palma "for what he is instead of disliking him for what he isn’t"). We'll see if anything like that ever comes along in his future writing, but back in 2002, Rosenbaum called Femme Fatale "a grand synthesis" of De Palma's oeuvre. "As I watched it the first time two months ago," Rosenbaum states in the review, "I found myself capitulating to its inspired formalist madness — something I’ve resisted in [De Palma's] films for the past 30-odd years." Here are some of the very interesting things Rosenbaum had to say about Femme Fatale (which he labeled a three-star must-see):

However ludicrous the opening heist sequence of Femme Fatale might seem, it proposes a kind of willful symmetry. The movie’s climactic slow-motion catastrophe — which we actually see assembled and disassembled like a jigsaw puzzle in two separate versions — is an equally implausible form of symmetry that’s governed by chance and fate. Both sequences are of course conceived and constructed by De Palma, and the metaphysical distinctions between how and why they unfold add up to a philosophical position, if not a moral or ethical one.

The first time Laure sees Lily playing Russian roulette in a Paris flat, there’s a leaking aquarium in a corner of the room. Since we see the leak before any bullet is fired, we may be puzzled by this detail — which arguably gets explained, after a fashion, when we return to the same scene much later in the film. I was surprised to be reminded of the unexplained rainfall glimpsed inside a house in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, but it occurred to me later that this parallel might not be as implausible as I supposed — and not just because De Palma is a compulsive moviegoer who sees a lot more than Hollywood product. (He has often noted that he’s virtually the only mainstream filmmaker who regularly attends foreign film festivals as a spectator.)

Tarkovsky — a formalist who’s often been misidentified as a humanist, perhaps because of his mysticism — sometimes showed a similar indifference to his characters, such as the family of the hero who burns his house down in the final sequence of his last film, The Sacrifice. Formalism and an absence of humanism don’t necessarily entail a lack of artistic seriousness. Indeed, looking for symmetry and coherence in a universe that seems to consist only of chaotic fragments from other movies — a very contemporary and very real dilemma — might constitute a genuine quest for transcendence.

Posted by Geoff at 10:08 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older