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Sunday, September 18, 2016
The Platform jury at the Toronto International Film Festival, made up of Brian De Palma, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, and Zhang Ziyi, chose Pablo Larraín's Jackie for its $25,000 prize. The film stars Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy. The festival concluded today with that award and others, including the People's Choice Award, the fest's top honor, which went to Damien Chazelle's La La Land.

According to The Guardian's Nigel M Smith, the Platform jury members jointly stated of Jackie, "Our decision was unanimous. We found one film that combined an extraordinary script with precise direction and unforgettable acting."

At the film's TIFF premiere, Larraín told Vanity Fair's Julie Miller that when producer Darren Aronofsky suggested the project to him, Larraín responded that he would only direct the film if Portman portrayed the title character. "I didn’t see anybody else playing her,” he told Miller. "It was a combination of elegance, sophistication, intelligence, and fragility. Beauty and sadness can be something very powerful in our culture."

Here's a further excerpt from Miller's article:

At the time, Larraín did not really love the script for the project; did not feel a personal connection to Kennedy; had never made a film about a female character; and honestly did not like traditional biopics. But he was certain of one thing he would do if Portman agreed to star.

“I told her, ‘Look, I have not talked to the writer—but if I were to do this movie, I would take out all of the scenes you are not in.’”

The result is a fragmented retelling of the four days following John F. Kennedy’s assassination, told through the feverish prism of post-traumatic stress disorder. Larraín takes the same artistic liberty with Neruda, which doesn’t tell a linear life story so much as it gives viewers an original, entertaining experience that encapsulates the subject’s persona. In Neruda, Larraín does so by using the poet’s love of crime novels to fashion the film into a detective story, starring Gael García Bernal, about an inspector trying to track down his exiled title subject.

“When you make a movie about a poet from the 40s, my biggest fear is to make a boring movie,” Larraín explains. “We create a fiction over a non-fiction. I don’t expect these to be used as educational tools. I remember I was an exchange student in the U.S. for half a year, and I would go to high school and they would show movies about the Civil War, movies about Abraham Lincoln. And all of those movies were terrible. . .We worked hard not to make [these films] entertaining just to be entertaining, but there are a lot of interesting, fun elements there, and they are beautiful and very simple but sophisticated. They are character studies about a very specific time in these people’s lives, and being fascinated by the characters. What I've learned with cinema is you really have to be fascinated by the characters.”

Before making Jackie, though, Larraín—who did not grow up in the U.S.—had to find his personal connection to Kennedy.

As he told Aronofsky, who urged him to make the project, “I don't know why you are calling a Chilean to make a movie about Jackie Kennedy—but that’s your call.” And after his initial meeting with Portman, the filmmaker realized that his personal connection to Kennedy was still missing.

“I went home and I was like, there’s something else in here. I started Googling and on YouTube I found this White House tour from 1961 that I had no idea existed,” explains the director. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. . .She actually raised private money, and what she did was a restoration, going with a team of people all over the U.S. to find furniture that at some point was in the White House but was sold for different reasons. I thought it was just so beautiful the way she did it, and I fell in love with her watching that program—just the way she moved, the fragility, the way she explained things, how educated she was. This idealism that she had. It sounds naive, this Camelot thing to me, but once I got into it I found it very interesting and beautiful and deep even though I’m not American.”


Scarface remake would have been Larraín's "dream project"

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 19, 2016 12:30 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Posted by Geoff at 7:25 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A day before the start of this year's Toronto International Film Festival, The Globe And Mail's John Semley has posted a profile piece on Brian De Palma. Here's an excerpt:
While his birthday often falls in the middle of the festival – he’ll be 76 on Sept. 11 – he brushed off the idea that going to the festival is some kind of present to himself. Like pretty much everyone else at TIFF, De Palma is there for the movies. “I think it’s the best festival,” De Palma says over the phone from his home in East Hampton, “organized in order to see the most new and exciting films from all over the world, in the shortest possible time.”

It’s not uncommon to find De Palma slumped in a seat at the Scotiabank Cineplex, nodding through some Québécois indie-thriller or bolting for exits as soon as things get boring. “If I didn’t think the film was progressing in a way I thought was interesting,” he explains, “I just walk out and go to another one. Some days, I could see five or six films.”

This year, De Palma won’t be afforded the luxury of skedaddling for the lobby if a film doesn’t grab him in its opening reel. For TIFF 2016, he has been tapped to head the Platform jury, which awards $25,000 to the director of a film that, per TIFF’s press release, exhibits “high artistic merit.” Platform, which launched just last year, is billed as a programme that champions “directors’ cinema.” As a filmmaker known for his decadent, borderline-rococo high style – those split screens, the long takes, the resplendent, almost oozy, lensing of violence and obsession – De Palma seems like an ideal fit to lead the jury.

And as someone who’s been coming to TIFF since the early 1980s, back when it was still called “The Festival of Festivals,” De Palma also has an eye for emerging, independent talent. He distinctly remembers being “quite struck” by Run Lola Run when he saw it at TIFF in 1998, before it became a breakout, art-house hit. “I never went to the red carpet screenings unless a friend had a film in it,” he says. “I always went to see the ones that would probably never get distribution – not these big red carpet specials. I’m always more interested in things that are out of left field.”

Because of the sheer labour of watching films, especially with an eye toward judging them, De Palma hasn’t sat on a jury since the mid-1970s. But, he says, he felt a “special obligation” to TIFF after they hosted a massive retrospective of De Palma’s films at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this summer. “It’s always flattering to have a retrospective,” he says. “Most of the high points were included. And some of not-so-high points.” (In the latter camp he lumps two of his comedies: the 1972 Tommy Smothers vehicle Get To Know Your Rabbit, and the 1986 Joe Piscopo/Danny Devito Costa Nostra caper Wise Guys.)

Posted by Geoff at 9:00 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 25, 2016
Brian De Palma will be part of the three-person jury for the Platform section of this year's Toronto International Film Festival. The other two jury members will be director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and actress Zhang Ziyi. Platform, named after the Jia Zhang-ke film from 2000, features "12 films from filmmakers with strong voices and distinct styles," from all over the world, according to the TIFF website. It was started last year for TIFF's 40th birthday, with a jury made up of Claire Denis, Agnieszka Holland and Jia Zhang-ke.

On September 18th, the best Platform selection will be awarded a $25,000 prize by the jury (TIFF 2016 runs Sept. 8-18). Last year's jury chose to give the prize to Alan Zweig's documentary Hurt, out of a line-up that included Ben Wheatley's widely acclaimed High Rise. TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling is quoted at Broadway World: "We are honoured to have De Palma, Haroun, and Zhang on the Platform Jury for the programme's second year. Each one of them brings a breadth of expertise and experience in visionary filmmaking, artistic direction, and unprecedented, bold narratives. We are thankful to our esteemed jury for making the time to be here this September to celebrate our renewed commitment to artistically ambitious filmmaking with Platform."

Cameron Bailey, TIFF's artistic director, is also quoted at Broadway World: "Platform's vision is championing aesthetic magnificence and De Palma, Zhang, and Haroun, have all either created or been a part of films that have inspired, revolutionized, and transformed the filmmaking industry. We are thrilled the jury members will be able to share their wealth of knowledge with this year's Platform filmmakers who are creating groundbreaking narrative forms. We can't wait for the jury to join us in Toronto and be a part of Platform's history."

Below is the list of 12 Platform films the jury will be viewing:

Daguerrotype (Le Secret de la chambre noire)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, France/Japan/Belgium (world premiere)

Ivan Sen, Australia (international premiere)

Heal the Living (Réparer les vivants)
Katell Quillévéré, France/Belgium (North American premiere)

Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (he-mà he-mà)
Khyentse Norbu, Bhutan/Hong Kong (North American premiere)

Fien Troch, Belgium (North American premiere)

Pablo Larraín, United Kingdom (North American premiere)

Lady Macbeth
William Oldroyd, United Kingdom (world premiere)

Layla M.
Mijke de Jong, Netherlands/Belgium/Germany/Jordan (world premiere)

Maliglutit (Searchers)
Zacharias Kunuk, Canada (world premiere)

Barry Jenkins, USA (international premiere)

Bertrand Bonello, France/Germany/Belgium (international premiere)

Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves
(Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau)
Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie, Canada (world premiere)

Posted by Geoff at 10:29 PM CDT
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bruce Kirkland, excerpt from The Toronto Sun
"The most fascinating films that closed the festival

In honour of TIFF’s 40th anniversary, we look back with wonder, and sometimes frustration, with some of the films that were Closing Night Galas. But first some thoughts on festival dynamics. All film events suffer from ‘End of Festival Malaise’. Many entertainment media have already abandoned TIFF this year, as always. That is exactly what happens in other cities including Cannes, the Grand Pere of filmfests.

Because of this phenomenon, producers, filmmakers and distributors want their prestige pictures to play in Toronto on the opening weekend. More impact, more media hoopla, better chances of coming out of TIFF with new sales or bigger box office or even an Oscar campaign underway.

“You’re right,” TIFF director Piers Handling says. “Every festival is front-loaded. It’s very difficult not to do that. There is too much pressure, because everyone feels that the press is here for the first week of the festival and they tend to kind of go after the Wednesday. But it still is a public festival — and obviously there is a large Toronto public that continues to go to the films. There are Galas and special events involving major names at the end, including our Closing Night Gala. But it does appear somewhat to be an irreversible trend.”

Handling says that TIFF is handling the situation “as best we can,” including offering a free screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic Vertigo on Sunday, 3:00 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. “It will be extraordinary — with the Bernard Herrmann score played live by the TSO (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) in RTH!”

As for TIFF’s Closing Night Galas, the first Festival of Festivals in 1976 showcased the Soviet film, Queen of the Gypsies (also known as Gypsies are Found in Heaven). Since then, some other fascinating films have taken the slot:

Divine Madness (1980): My first official Toronto Sun interview was Bette Midler for Michael Ritchie’s wildly entertaining musical and comedy doc. Great interview, great doc, great way to end TIFF 1980!
Threshold (1981): Richard Pearce’s medical drama, starring Donald Sutherland as a heart surgeon who pioneers artificial heart transplants, has never been given the accolades it deserves.
Children of a Lesser God (1986): With William Hurt and Marlee Matlin co-starring in Randa Haines’ romantic drama, Mark Medoff’s stage play became a worthy film about a deaf woman intersecting with a speech therapist.
Twist (1992): Celebrated Toronto documentarian Ron Mann still deserves a shout-out for his post-WWII popular dance doc. It focuses on the Twist — and what ‘60s youth can forget Chubby Checker?
Rudy (1993): David Anspaugh’s biopic about the runt of the litter who finally realizes his dream to play a few seconds of U.S. college football is a favourite of sports fans. But most forget it launched at the Toronto filmfest.
That Thing You Do! (1996): Tom Hanks made his feature directorial debut with this hep-cat rock ‘n’ roll drama. It got Toronto dancing in the aisles with Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron, Steve Zahn and Hanks in the ensemble.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997): I teased my filmmaking friend Jean-Jacques Annaud for casting Brad Pitt in the lead role, but this political film about an Austrian’s unlikely friendship with the young Dalai Lama is still visually striking.
Femme Fatale (2002): Brian De Palma, a festival habitue, delighted in screening his lurid crime drama at TIFF. Rebecca Romijn co-starred with Antonio Banderas.
Amazing Grace (2006): Based on reality, Michael Apted’s heart-felt film chronicles the desperate battle to take Britain out of the brutal slave trade late in the 1700s. The hymn’s guilt-ridden, anti-slavery origins story is told here.
Stone of Destiny (2008): Actor-filmmaker Charles Martin Smith delighted in telling this true-life tale about Scottish rogues who steal back the legendary Stone of Scone in the 1950s. But it missed its mark at the box office.
The Young Victoria (2008): Jean-Mac Vallee’s masterful Demolition opened this year’s TIFF. His first English-language success — a biopic of the young Queen Victoria with Emily Blunt — propelled his career into the mainstream.

Posted by Geoff at 7:46 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 20, 2015 7:49 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 6, 2014
Brian De Palma is pictured here with his friend Greta Gerwig, who appears with Al Pacino in Barry Levinson's The Humbling, which had its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival Thursday. The photo is one of several taken by Jemal Countess that appear on the WireImage page of pics from the event. We can bet that Gerwig and De Palma will be in attendance for tonight's world premiere of Noah Baumbach's While We're Young.

Another interesting note: Pacino and De Palma are working on bringing the Joe Paterno story Happy Valley to the screen, and in a message posted on his Twitter page Friday, that film's screenwriter, David McKenna, wrote, "Bill Murray Day here in Toronto." And indeed, Friday September 5th was Bill Murray Day at TIFF, during which it held free screenings of three Bill Murray classics, leading up to last night's world premiere of Murray's new film, Theodore Melfi's St. Vincent. Seriously wowed, Deadline's Pete Hammond says it has the best performance of Murray's career.


According to a tweet posted by Ethaniel Vestby, De Palma also attended a Friday morning screening of Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure, which has been well-received by critics. "Östlund masterfully manages the marital tensions that drive the film's plot forward," writes The House Next Door's Tomas Hachard, "while imbuing the scenario with these carefully layered philosophical reflections. He tells us as much visually as through the dialogue and is all the more powerful for that restraint. The static and uncut shot of the avalanche lets Tomas's dash stand out within the larger panic of the situation without grossly accentuating it. Throughout the film, Östlund contrasts wide-angle, magisterial outdoor shots of Tomas and his family skiing—free, as it were, in the grand isolation of nature—with tightly framed shots of the family together inside the hotel, cramped against each other and breaking through the margins of the frame. There's hardly a moment when Östlund's command of tone and pacing, his clarity of expression, isn't on display, all of which makes Force Majeure thrilling, intellectual, and beautiful at once. With time, the film digs ever deeper into the frayed psyches of its characters, and if the finale doesn't leave us mired in a confused battle of humans against their worst instincts, it certainly leaves us wrangling with any illusion that civilized behavior is a natural instinct."


A couple of TIFF reviews so far have briefly mentioned De Palma in interesting ways (or at least, in ways that may be of interest). CraveOnline's Brian Formo says that "Jake Gyllenhaal is creepy, and very funny" in Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler. Formo writes that "while an 'it bleeds it leads' tv news critique has been done numerous times, Gilroy has his sights set on a film that’s more Brian De Palma than Network. As [Gyllenhaal's] Lou works exclusively at night to feed Nina’s late night segments, he becomes a scavenger, searching for bodies and consuming their last breaths with his camera. In a world where people feel like access to everything private will create a better story he begins entering the homes of the victims. He becomes interested in framing shots. It starts with moving family photos on a fridge to being placed in between two bullet holes. It will escalate to creating shootout situations so that he can be there to film the high speed pursuit. And he legitimizes everything because they’re all a means to expand his business model.

"Gyllenhaal lost weight for Nighcrawler. He’s slender as a snake. His eyes are puffy. We never see him eat. Even when he takes Nina out to a Mexican restaurant in an uncomfortable quid pro quos scene (maybe he’s been reading some men’s rights blogs). The reason why he’s closer to De Niro’s Pupkin than Travis Bickle is that, while he is lonely, he’s aware that one has to try to be likable in order to succeed. So he smiles a lot and often at the wrong time. He’s extra-composed and aware when he’s being filmed by a security camera. And he performs for people like he’s always mugging for an uncaring camera.

"What makes Nightcrawler enjoyable is that Gyllenhaal finds humor in his role without ever making fun of his character. It’s actually a very funny performance. Lou can convince people that his methods are sound because he delivers them with a soft voice that can also aggregate various quick-source news articles on the spot for some sort of leverage. And longtime screenwriter, first-time director Gilroy (here armed with Paul Thomas Anderson’s main cinematographer Robert Elswit) films one hell of a meta shootout and police chase. Lou already seemed uncomfortably desensitized to dead bodies. But his interest in finding the right mis en scene for his increasingly staged scenarios that has dead bodies created in front of him is deliciously macabre."


Meanwhile, Twitch's Kurt Halfyard notes the story of Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria includes a play that "bears remarkable similarity to Alain Corneau's final film, Love Crime (which was recently remade by Brian De Palma as Passion.)" Rado points out for us that Sylvie Barthet, who has worked as a producer on several of Assayas' films, was also a producer on De Palma's Passion. Describing the plot of Assayas' latest, Halfyard writes, "In Clouds of Sils Maria, he has Juliette Binoche playing a fictional version of herself named Maria Enders. An actress at a point in her career where she is an international movie [star] who did a stint in Hollywood blockbusters before returning to the European art house and stage. A young director asks her to appear in his revival of the play that made her famous, only this time she will be playing the broken-down wealthy businesswoman part instead of the aggressive and domineering young personal assistant who sexually dominates the stage...

"The middle portion of Clouds of Sils Maria, the best portion of the film, sees Enders living in isolation in the Swiss mountains, negotiating a messy divorce and occasionally going for a hike all the while rehearsing the part with her own personal assistant. Kristen Stewart in tangled hair and random tattoos, exuding the casual confidence and 'above-it-all' attitude that often gets the Twilight-actress excruciated by the media at Awards shows, delivers a convincing, performance as the personal assistant, Valentine.

"The rehearsal starts to mimic the content of the play, in subtle ways, only with many more messy complications. Enders is trying to play the older part, but cannot shake her desire and her memories of the younger. There is possible sexual attraction between Binoche and Stewart, but really it is more about the envy of unfettered freedom of youth, as opposed to the obligation and baggage of age.

"An overly simple read of the film would be that the personal assistant is merely a figment of the actress's psyche. Assays peppers the visual language of the film with many hints and visual cues, notably strange cellphone reception on a train in the films opening, and a stylized double-exposed driving sequence when Stewart returns from a sexual tryst with a photographer and vomits on the side of the road. Clouds of Sils Maria would make a curious double-bill with Binoche's other recent breezy self-reflective puzzle, Certified Copy. You can try to parse the details of what is going on in both films, but really you should just sit back and take in the universal human bits that make both films great. The truth however, that cinema is an object, and our own perspective, and viewpoints shape what is perceived to be going on, is the brain of the film, while Juliette Binoche essaying an aging actress grappling with this, is the heart.

"The emotionally vulnerable aging actress is also obsessed with the young Hollywood tabloid train wreck who is cast in the role that made Enders famous. A small role occupied by Chloe-Grace Moretz has some fun with TMZ internet celebrity, old-timer european paparazzo, and pop-blockbuster cinema. There is even a silly, sci-fi action movie created in the film, featuring Moretz's character that is exposition heavy to the point of hilarity."

Posted by Geoff at 2:42 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 8, 2014 4:29 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The National Post's Ishmael N. Daro posted some pictures Thursday from the Al Pacino-focused charity gala Wednesday night. Above, from left to right: TIFF Director Piers Handling, Ivan Reitman, Norman Jewison, Al Pacino, Brian De Palma and Barry Levinson.

Meanwhile, according to Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411, De Palma attended a screening of Levinson's Pacino-starring The Humbling on Thursday. "Famed novelist Philip Roth really owes Oscar winning director Barry Levinson," Friedman states in his recap. "The Rain Man director has made a stellar, quirky, and really hilarious film out of Roth’s novel The Humbling. I think it’s Levinson’s best work in years, hugely accomplished for its mixed tones of utter zaniness and comic beauty.

"Al Pacino is simply outstanding as Simon Axler, a fading self obsessed famous theater actor who does a swan dive off a Broadway stage and announces his retirement. At a country house he falls into a relationship with Pegeen (luminous Greta Gerwig), daughter of his friends (Dianne Wiest and Dan Hedaya). Nina Arianda has a scene stealing recurring role as a super fan Simon meets in a psychiatric hospital.

"The audience last night at the Elgin loved this film. No less a presence than Brian DePalma was in the theater. You know a movie’s good when the introductory speech is short– no horsing around, just 'here’s the movie.' When Levinson and Pacino made quick remarks, I thought, wow, they know what they’ve got and they want us to see it. Not to be missed is a hilarious scene in a veterinarian’s waiting room. It recalls the tone of Levinson’s Wag the Dog."

Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 5, 2014 6:55 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014
THESE AND MORE POSTED AT O.Canada.com - Kenai Andrews blog

Posted by Geoff at 8:08 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 8:10 PM CDT
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Al Pacino is pictured here from the Venice Film Festival this past weekend, where he made a big splash with two world premiere movies. Now tonight (Wednesday), he will be in Toronto, where, according to The Star's Martin Knelman, Pacino will be interviewed on stage by George Stroumboulopoulos in a fundraising event related to the Toronto International Film Festival, which officially kicks off Thursday. In his article, Knelman adds, "Three famous directors who have worked with Pacino will also be present: Barry Levinson, Norman Jewison and Brian De Palma." Pacino and De Palma are revving up to shoot their third film together, the Joe Paterno picture, Happy Valley.

Pacino stars in Levinson's new movie, The Humbling, which will have its North American premiere at TIFF Thursday night. Based on a Philip Roth novel that Pacino had acquired the rights to, the film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last weekend, where it moved LA Weekly's Stephanie Zacharek to compare it to one of Pacino's De Palma performances. "The Humbling," writes Zacharek, "...is a bracing and fascinating piece of work, a movie made by an old man, about an old man, starring an old man, from source material written by an old man. Those factors aren’t a liability – they’re what give The Humbling its bittersweet vitality. Pacino is marvelous here – he writes in big, loud loops, as usual, and just when you want to suggest that maybe, just for a bit, he might try to use his Indoor Voice, he pulls himself back to reveal the gruff, subterranean grandeur that made him a great actor in the first place. [Greta] Gerwig is the weak link here: She doesn’t have the aura of hauteur you need to play the womanly schemer – there’s nothing remotely mysterious about her. But Pacino makes us believe that there is: When he looks at her, he’s an anguished lion with a thorn in his paw – his eyes hold the weary truth that if love will kill you, not loving at all will kill you quicker. Pacino is so good at being lovesick that, even if his performance in Carlito’s Way is the zenith he’ll never top, it’s still a deep, shivery pleasure to watch him play a man consumed with love. If we ever get too old for that, it’s the end of movies as we know them."

Zacharek liked (loved) The Humbling much more than she did Pacino's other Venice world premiere, David Gordon Green's Manglehorn. However, some critics seemed to have the reverse opinion about each of these. In his review of Manglehorn, The Guardian's Xan Brooks writes, "Pacino's Manglehorn is a subtle master class in neutral shading, with none of the garish flashes that sometimes bedevil his work. The actor's natural tendency is to hit for the fences and crank up the volume, often magnificently (Dog Day Afternoon), occasionally not (The Scent of a Woman). But Manglehorn provides him with a grand late renaissance, a fresh string to his bow. It takes the splenetic livewire of American film and installs him as condemned human property, boarded up and fenced off. The irony is that, by playing this wreck, Pacino looks as vital and exciting as he did in his pomp."

[Note: In July of last year, De Palma appeared on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, where he talked about Passion, played around with the idea of texting during dates, discussed the lack of a current counterculture in film, Robert De Niro, and quotes from Scarface.]

Posted by Geoff at 5:12 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2014 7:16 AM CDT
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Sunday, October 9, 2011
No, That's not Brian De Palma pictured at left, but Ralph Fiennes, who, as Malene Arpe notes, "kinda looks like Brian De Palma." Fiennes was at the Toronto International Film Festival with his directorial debut, Coriolanus, which sets the play by William Shakespeare in contemporary Europe.

We don't know whether or not De Palma had a chance to catch that film while he was at the festival, but, thanks to various tweets and other posts online, we're aware of about a handful of screenings the director was spotted at last month. According to indieWIRE's Meredith Brody, De Palma attended a screening of Bruno Dumont’s Outside Satan on the first day of the festival (September 8th). Brody writes that the film, which she likes, is classic Dumont: "simple rural people in pastoral landscapes, interesting compositions, brutal sex, brutal violence, brutal religion." At the screening, Brody met up with Atom Egoyan and his wife, Arsinée Khanjian, and they all ran into De Palma outside the theater. Brody told De Palma that she was looking forward to seeing A Separation, but De Palma had to be at the Talent Lab later that night at the time of that screening.

Later into the festival, De Palma was spotted with his friend, filmmaker Noah Baumbach (who interviewed De Palma for Criterion’s recent Blow Out package) at a screening of Whit Stillman’s Damsels In Distress. On another day, De Palma was spotted at a screening of ”an Egyptian doc” that was most likely Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad and the Politician, a three part documentary that looks at the recent uprising in Egypt from the points of view of three Cairo-based filmmakers.

In his entry on Fandor’s TIFF wrap-up, Slant’s Simon Abrams wrote about seeing De Palma twice:

Seeing Brian De Palma (twice!) at the festival was frankly more thrilling than several of the films I saw at the festival. Seeing him seated just across the aisle from me at Dark Horse, Todd Solondz’s newest and maybe best film, was a delight. Mostly because I identify with Solondz’s latest to a freakish degree and think its a potent and deeply unnerving film. But also because I could look straight ahead and freak out one way and then look to my right and freak out another. Diversity rules.

De Palma was later spotted at a screening of Terence DaviesThe Deep Blue Sea. John R. Kennedy noted that “Fans outside Intercontinental on Front don't recognize iconic director Brian De Palma as he strolls past them.” Jesse Hawkin said it made his day when he got to “directly assist Brian De Palma.” Hawkin added, “Resisted the urge to thank him for all his great films.” And finally, the win for best tweet from the festival goes to Erik Childress, who wrote, “Earlier today saw Brian DePalma enter men's washroom and then exit immediately. Assume he saw no lesbians making out & just left.”

Posted by Geoff at 10:05 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:00 PM CDT
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