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Tuesday, December 16, 2014
'LOST HIGHWAY' MEETS 'BODY DOUBLE'
IN NAOMI CAMPBELL FASHION CAMPAIGN FOR AGENT PROVOCATEUR, SHOT BY ELLEN VON UNWERTH


Naomi Campbell (above) stars in Agent Provocateur's new campaign for spring/summer 2015, shot by Ellen von Unwerth. According to Fashion One's Stephanie Park, Agent Provocateur's creative director, Sarah Shotton, "was inspired by girl gangs and 1960s pulp fiction novels. She became fascinated with the idea of the 'perfect crime,' and cast Campbell to get away with it." Several articles, apparently sourcing from the same press release, highlight that the campaign is inspired by David Lynch's Lost Highway and Brian De Palma's Body Double. "Shotton became inspired by the different identities that women are portrayed as possessing," writes Park, "facets that have been described by the brand as 'coy, duplicitous, siren, [and] saint.'” Park quotes Shotton as saying, "Naomi and Ellen were perfect for this as they both have such strong, individual personalities that work well together. We chose Ellen as her aesthetic mirrors the sensual, mysterious undertones of the campaign concept impeccably."

Posted by Geoff at 11:08 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 11:30 PM CST
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Thursday, November 27, 2014
'BODY DOUBLE' IN BROOKLYN TUESDAY
PART OF "SUNSHINE NOIR" FILM SERIES AT BAMcinématek
BAMcinématek in Brooklyn began a "Sunshine Noir" film series last night (Wednesday) with a screening of William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A. Brian De Palma's Body Double is included in the series, and will screen this Tuesday, December 2nd. The series "explores what happens when noir steps out of the shadows and into the neon-lit boulevards of LA," according to the BAM website. "Burrowing beyond the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown, these hard-boiled tales of outsiders and antiheroes expose the seedy underbelly of the City of Angels." There are almost too many great movies in the series to name them all here, but today and tomorrow, Roman Polanski's Chinatown will play, and on December 8 will be Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, Inherent Vice.

In previewing the series, Blouin Art Info's Craig Hubert states, "Noir was born in Southern California." Here is an excerpt in which Hubert discusses several of the films in the series, including Body Double:
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The cynicism of “Chinatown” opened up the floodgates for a new strain of bitter Sunshine Noir. But there were also increasing levels of pollution and the emergence of postmodern architecture in Los Angeles (the glass cylinders of the Bonaventure Hotel were constructed between 1974 and 1976) that made the city feel more inhuman. As we crossed into the 1980s, and the former Governor of California was the President of the United States, Sunshine Noir took the city’s nickname, “The Big Orange,” quite literally. William Friedkin’s “To Live and Die in L.A” (1985), screening on November 26, presents a city cast under an atomic tangerine sky as if illuminated by a Dan Flavin fluorescent glow. Demarcated lines of good and evil were completely eroded, with police officers performing robberies and artists counterfeiting money in their painting studio. Jim McBride’s pop-art remake of Godard’s “Breathless” (1983), screening on December 4, takes place in a candy colored Los Angeles where past and present, the Hollywood myth and the tarnished reality, have collided. Both films end ambiguously, portraying Los Angeles as an inescapable landscape of continual violence.

The first sign that the bitterness of the post-“Chinatown” era of Sunshine Noir was mutating once again was Brian De Palma’s “Body Double” (1984), screening December 2, which used John Lautner’s Chemosphere as the swank bachelor pad of the main character, a struggling b-movie actor, and the site where he witnesses a murder. The new sanitized Los Angeles of glass buildings is just a veneer for the city’s inherent seediness, where blood can still stain your minimalist furniture. Michael Mann’s "Heat” (1995), screening on November 6, is the prime result of this shift. The bloated crime drama fully takes place in this Los Angeles, where crimes of passion have been completely erased by crimes of commerce — everything is a transaction, everything is business. Criminals and cops can sit down for a meeting at a diner and nobody blinks and eye. They are practically interchangeable, and both sides have shootouts in the business district wearing Versace suits. Sunshine Noir takes on a different meaning here. The light of Los Angeles is a false light, illuminated from the inside of sprawling towers. A different, softer glow, but nothing has changed.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” (2014), screening December 8, opens up a new chapter, once again looking to the past. Adapted from the novel by Thomas Pynchon, it presents a vision of Los Angeles that has not stopped believing in its own myths but completely wigged out on an overdose of them. Hippiedom is just another variation of the tangled lie of prosperity, and Pynchon’s world is one of confusion and paranoia. This is Sunshine Noir pushed to absurdist proportions, where the most far-fetched conspiracies suddenly seem possible, and the rotten core of the municipality stretches beyond the city limits. But it’s also the Sunshine Noir that speaks to our present condition. Take a look at the news and you’ll realize it’s closer to the truth than you want to admit.

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Posted by Geoff at 1:00 AM CST
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
'BODY DOUBLE' IN LONDON TUESDAY NIGHT
CONCLUDES SERIES "AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 FILMS" FROM LITTLE WHITE LIES
Brian De Palma's Body Double, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will screen Tuesday, September 16th, at the W Hotel London in Leicester Square, as the final film of Little White Lies' "Around The World In Eight Films" series. According to the web site, Body Double was chosen to represent the USA because: "Melanie Griffiths' porn star character is called Holly Body," and "the molten sexual charge and vicarious bodily pleasures are but window dressing for a film that's Hitchcockian thriller on one level and — on a more elevated one — a playful metatextual exploration on the seedy side of cinema." Guests arriving at 6:30 pm will receive a complimentary themed cocktail and a box of popcorn. The film will begin at 7pm.

Other films in the series included John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday (England), Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (France), Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Eclisse (Italy), Jan Švankmajer's Alice (Czech Republic), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Black Narcissus (representing India), Akira Kurosawa's Ran (Japan), and David Michôd's Animal Kingdom (Australia).

Posted by Geoff at 12:23 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:34 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 3, 2014



ADRIAN MARTIN & CRISTINA ALVAREZ LOPEZ TO PREMIERE AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY ON DE PALMA

Posted by Geoff at 8:53 PM CDT
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Thursday, February 20, 2014
CINE-FILE ON 'BODY DOUBLE'
"RELAX" SEQUENCE IS "DE PALMA'S 'BROADWAY CITY BALLET,' IF YOU WILL"


Body Double was screened at Chicago's Doc Films Brian De Palma Retrospective last night. In preparation, last Friday's Cine-File posted a recommendation of interest by Jamie Stroble. "No points for catching the Hitchcock nods," Stroble figures. "De Palma's allusions to (or outright theft of) works like Rear Window and Vertigo are so overt as to signal jumping off points rather than ends in themselves. In a surreal segue toward the end of the film, a lip-synching Holly Johnson of the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood leads Scully, suddenly decked out in thick-rimmed glasses and argyle, onto a porno set to the tune of 'Relax.' The sequence functions as a movie-within-a-movie; it's De Palma's 'Broadway Melody Ballet,' if you will, except Gene Kelly didn't find Cyd Charisse behind a door labeled 'SLUTS.' The 'Relax' scene marks a tonal crossroads in Body Double. Soon after, the proceedings begin to accelerate at an almost nightmarish rate and the tightly plotted thriller De Palma fashioned in the film's first half starts to unravel as the limits of internal plausibility are pushed to the extreme. If you're on De Palma's wavelength though it's a worthy tradeoff, as tension gives way to near mania. When the film was released, Roger Ebert characterized Body Double as having De Palma's 'most airtight plot' yet--an assertion it's hard to imagine Ebert leveling without cracking a slight smile. The virtue and, dare I say, greatness of Body Double come not from bulletproof narrative or even rudimentary character development, but instead from a messier place. De Palma synthesizes a multitude of disparate references into a scathing critique of nice-guy chauvinism, critical Puritanism, and countless other -isms, all under the guise mindless genre fare."

Posted by Geoff at 9:54 PM CST
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Monday, December 30, 2013
AVRECH TALKS 'BODY DOUBLE'

AFTER READING WAR SCRIPT, DE PALMA THOUGHT AVRECH HAD RIGHT SENSIBILITY FOR WHAT BECAME 'BODY DOUBLE'

OpEdNews' Joan Brunwasser last week posted an interview with Robert Avrech, screenwriter of Brian De Palma's Body Double. Avrech discussed working with De Palma, and the screenplay he wrote about the Yom Kippur War that led to De Palma hiring him for Body Double.

"I was in Israel in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War," Avrech tells Brunwasser, "and I wrote a pretty powerful script about three women whose husbands were on the front lines. The script cut back and forth between fairly brutal scenes of war, and the more mundane, but tortured lives of the waiting wives. The structure was complex, but it read effortlessly, and the characters were quite vivid. I knew that this script was special. It was just a gut feeling that finally I had written something that was professional and entertaining.

"After I returned to America, I sent the script to every agent in NY, Naturally, my queries were completely ignored. But then, a year later, I got a call from director Brian De Palma, who had read my script--his agent thought it was really good and dropped it on Brian's desk. Brian told me he greatly admired my script. He asked me to come to his office for a meeting. He had no interest in making my script into a movie, but he had an idea for a thriller and wanted me to write it. He thought I had the right sensibility to author the movie he had in mind. Both Brian and I greatly admire Alfred Hitchcock so we were pretty much on the same page aesthetically. That's how I came to write Body Double, a superb thriller that immediately thrust me into the Hollywood limelight."
 
"ALL GREAT STORIES ARE LOVE STORIES" 
Brunwasser asks Avrech whether it is difficult to craft a screenplay based on someone else's idea, and if, being a "young pup," he was intimidated upon meeting with De Palma. Avrech responds, "I have written original scripts (A Stranger Among Us), scripts based on novels (The Devil's Arithmetic), scripts based on non-fiction best sellers (Into Thin Air).

"Writing a screenplay based on an idea by someone else, if the idea is solid, is just another corridor in the (futile) search to craft a flawless, air-tight narrative. What happens with me, and I suspect, all professional screenwriters, is a process of  of internalization: The story becomes you. 

"Brian De Palma came to me with a very general idea for Body Double. I immediately responded to its Hitchcockian theme of an innocent man drawn into a murder by a beautiful woman (Deborah Shelton), who then sets out to solve the mystery with the aid of a beautiful blonde (Melanie Griffith). Both Brian and I were, and are, huge fans of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Together we screened Rear Window and Vertigo, and discussed the narrative strategies Hitch used in both films. So in a sense, I was working off of De Palma's ideas of Hitchcock's ideas."

Continuing with Brunwasser, Avrech notes, "One must also keep in mind that movies are a collaborative endeavor. The Hollywood screenwriter works alone only when he's at the keyboard. In truth, a professional screenwriter is always working with a studio/network, a line of producers, a director, and of course, when the film goes into production, his words then become the property of the actors. Obviously, the army of technicians who go into the making a multi-million dollar Hollywood production are vital: the cinematographer, the set designer, the costume designer, the prop people, etc.

"Another issue when working from someone else's idea is there are only 36 plots in the universe of narratives. Thus, every story is a reworking of an old myth or legend that we have seen and heard countless times. The trick is to reinvent these 36 stories in a manner that makes them feel new and original. So, in a very real sense, a screenwriter is always working from a classic idea. And in the end, it's really just one idea: because all great stories are... love stories.

"I was hugely intimidated by Brian De Palma... for about ten minutes. And then, as with all Hollywood celebrities with whom I have worked, he became just another homo sapiens, with all the virtues and flaws one finds in our species."


Posted by Geoff at 11:38 AM CST
Updated: Monday, December 30, 2013 11:47 AM CST
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
'BODY DOUBLE' ARCHICINE ILLUSTRATION
SERIES BY FEDERICO BABINA REPRESENTS CINEMA'S ICONIC WORKS OF ARCHITECTURE

Posted by Geoff at 11:13 PM CST
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Monday, July 15, 2013
1987 VIDEO: DEBORAH SHELTON ON 'BODY DOUBLE'
COMPARES DE PALMA'S INTENSE, "PIERCING EYES" TO VINCENT PRICE


The YouTube video above includes an interview with Deborah Shelton from 1987 [Thanks to Alex for finding it!]. At about the 5:40 mark, the interviewer asks her about Body Double. Here is a transcript:

Interviewer: In 1984, you ended up in the Brian De Palma movie, Body Double. How did that happen?

Deborah: Same way—I went on an interview and they were looking for a blonde. [Laughing] There’s something about... Yeah, I have a blonde personality. And I met him, and he was very quiet. And the executive producer was talking to me all the time, and the casting person. And Brian just sat there and was like [lifts her chin up to mimic De Palma, slowly nodding as if quietly watching and contemplating what he was seeing]. And sometimes he looked away, and he didn’t… I thought, “Oh, get me out of here. This is a lost cause.” And when I left there I stopped off at the bathroom on the way out of the building. And when I finally got out of the building, the lady who was the casting director was running around hysterically outside searching for me. And she said, “Where were you?” Then I told her I’d just stopped off. And she said, “Brian wants to see you tomorrow at his office, and he wants to work with you.”

And he worked with me, with the screenplay… oh, I can’t think, with Liv UllmannScenes From A Marriage, on a scene where she had just learned her husband was fooling around for a long time, and that her best friends had known it. She was very angry and frustrated. And another scene from Body Heat… where the two meet on a bridge. And so, he told me he wanted the sensuality of Body Heat, and the frustration and panic, and those kind of feelings from Scenes From A Marriage. So we worked on those two scenes, and those are the ones I did with my screen test. Because my part didn’t really have so much dialogue. And I got it.

And how was he as a director? I mean, on the set…

Wonderful.

Really?

He’s very intense. He almost has an unnerving way about him. And you know Vincent Price? The actor? He has a way of looking, the piercing eyes, that just kind of go into your backbone, and take feelings out of you. And I think that’s the way Brian is.


Posted by Geoff at 11:01 PM CDT
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Saturday, June 15, 2013
SONIC YOUTH'S KIM GORDON ON 'BODY DOUBLE'
SAYS 'BLING RING' JOINS IT IN THE ARCHIVE OF GREAT L.A. MOVIES
WWD's Kristi Garced caught up with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon on the red carpet for last Tuesday night's screening of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, which opened in theaters yesterday. "[The Bling Ring] goes into the archive of great L.A. movies along with Brian De Palma’s Body Double,” Gordon told Garced. “I think that a lot of the [celebrity obsession] drives Los Angeles. The city that people gravitate towards following the setting sun in the west symbolizes death.”


Posted by Geoff at 5:17 PM CDT
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