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Pacino wows
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The Humbling
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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
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Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
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Happy Valley

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De Palma interviewed
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Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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italkyoubored

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So Why This Movie?

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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.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
ZACHAREK TALKS DE PALMA ON CINEPHILIACS
SAYS HE DOESN'T GET ENOUGH CREDIT FOR EMOTIONAL DEPTH OF HIS FILMS
Stephanie Zacharek is the guest on the latest episode of Peter Labuza's podcast, The Cinephiliacs. Toward the end of their discussion, Labuza asks Zacharek to talk a little bit about why she loves the films of Brian De Palma:
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Labuza: Speaking of illusionists, Brian De Palma-- You’re a really big fan of him. Some might say that’s because you’re a Paulinista, to use your phrase. What makes Brian De Palma one of the great film artists for you? Because I certainly know I’ve been a big fan of his work, but what sort of, you know, trickery, brings you under his spell every time?

Zacharek: Well, I think a certain taste for kind of sick stuff. [They both laugh] But beyond that, I really love… I love this classical structure of his films, and the attention to… like so much attention to detail, which I really appreciate. And I love… there’s just a lot of passion in them. You know, particularly, I’m thinking of… I guess my two favorite films of his are probably Blow Out and Carlito’s Way. It’s really hard for me to choose between those two. And now also Casualties Of War. But to me there’s a lot of emotional depth in those movies that I don’t think people really give him credit for. You know, people are always talking about how kind of twisted he is, and what a trickster he is, and all that. And all the visual stuff, which of course, is all there, and I love all that stuff. It’s really fun. There’s also… sometimes I find his movies actually kind of painful to watch. There’s just like a lot of raw feeling in them, that is almost, like, hiding behind the technique. I don’t really know how else to explain it.

Labuza: Yeah. No, I think I see. I mean, I always think of, one of his most belabored movies, but Mission To Mars has that moment where Tim Robbins, sort of floating, he’s about to take off his helmet. And that scene always kills me. I don’t know why.

Zacharek: Oh, boy oh boy. I mean, well, the recurring theme in his movies is the man who is unable to save the woman, like John Travolta not being able to save Nancy Allen in Blow Out. And Michael J. Fox, you know, not being able to save that poor girl who is raped by his comrades. But here you have an instance of the woman not being able to save the man. As a woman, that’s kind of intense. I mean, I’m sure it’s intense if you’re a guy, too, but it’s just interesting to see the tables turned.

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Posted by Geoff at 11:53 PM CDT
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
AN ACIDEMIC LOOK AT DE PALMA & ARGENTO
BLOGGER: BORN SIX DAYS APART, THEY SHARE A "BIZARRE PSYCHIC TWIN CONNECTION"
Acidemic's Erich Kuersten takes a deep stab into the cinema of Brian De Palma and Dario Argento, dispensing early with the obvious Hitchcock comparisons (although Hitchcock does figure into the discussion) to focus on the pair's "bizarre psychic twin connection, a shared reptile dysfunction that springs from Catholicism, ancient Rome, and [a] kind of scopophilia-driven sexual obsession." Kuersten adds, "And I didn't even know this when I started this post, but they were born the same month (September) of the same world war-ridden year (1940), six days apart. They are both Virgo, sign of the virgin, sign of obsession, poring over film strips and sound boards with the repressed energy of a thousand unreached orgasms!"

Illustrated with a fascinating array of juxtaposed images from the films of both directors (as well as some other filmmakers thrown into the mix), Kuersten explores shared themes and motifs such as blindness, avenging angels, mirrors and doubles, dreams, photography, metatextuality, art, and more. A terrifically eye-opening and entertaining read, the post comes a year after Kuersten's post about Scarface, Suspiria and Carrie.

Posted by Geoff at 12:51 AM CDT
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Monday, June 30, 2014
LAURENCE KNAPP ON FINCHER & DE PALMA
'DAVID FINCHER: INTERVIEWS' IS PUBLISHED THIS AUGUST


Laurence F. Knapp, editor of Brian De Palma: Interviews, has edited a similar volume of David Fincher interviews, which will be published in August. Fincher Fanatic interviewed Knapp about the book and his views on Fincher, some of which are spoken in the video embedded above. Near the end of the interview, Fincher Fanatic asks Knapp if he, as a professor, has ever taught a class on Fincher, and if so, what would be discussed. Here is Knapp's reply:

"As mentioned, I have taught a Generation X class before. I welcome the opportunity to teach a Fincher/Tarantino seminar in the near future, or perhaps a Fincher/De Palma class. I’ve always felt that Fincher is as misanthropic and as formally schematic as De Palma, but because of Fincher’s upbringing (the Bay Area instead of Philadelphia) or generation (Gen X’ers are too jaded, melancholy, and overwhelmed by capitalism to openly resist the dominant order), Fincher does not share De Palma’s countercultural need to expose the cinematic artifice and contest and parody the prevailing ideology of postwar America. Fight Club is as contemptuous as Greetings, Phantom of the Paradise, or Body Double, but Fincher, like many Gen X’ers, doesn’t have it in him to risk a Blow Out, Casualties of War, or Redacted, or even an over-the-top film like Dressed to Kill, Scarface, or Femme Fatale. De Palma would never end Fight Club with two lovers holding hands. He would just blow up downtown Los Angeles and have Brad Pitt expose his penis and wave to the camera like Robert De Niro in Hi Mom!. Fight Club, in true Fincher fashion, prescribes my generation not to surrender to cynicism but to grow up, accept your significant other, and get married. That’s all the sanctuary you will get in this world. Worked for me."


Posted by Geoff at 1:23 AM CDT
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Saturday, June 21, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 11:55 AM CDT
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Friday, June 20, 2014
YOU SAY THAT
BUT IT'S REALLY NOT TRUE AT ALL
Two days ago, in an article about his disappointment with Brian De Palma's films post Blow Out, Movie Morlocks' Greg Ferrara wrote, "the Odessa steps/Railway station scene in The Untouchables is less a nod to Eisenstein than a 'look, here’s the Potemkin sequence with different actors' setup." Well, no, that's not true at all-- it actually is more of "a nod to Eisenstein," but uses the idea of the baby carriage, and specifically its shots of the wheels hitting each step on the way down, to add suspense and tension to the already suspenseful shoot-out happening on the train station steps. De Palma's contrast here of the innocent (the baby) and the dangerous men all around is part of a theme that runs through the entire film.

All anyone has to do is watch Eisenstein's Odessa Steps sequence side-by-side with De Palma's to see that aside from a lot of steps, a baby in a pram, and people falling violently, what De Palma has constructed in The Untouchables in terms of set-up, staging, story, cinematography, suspense, slow motion, sound, humor, etc. is far different from what is on the screen in Eisenstein's construction. YouTube it for yourself.

Posted by Geoff at 1:58 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 21, 2014 11:41 AM CDT
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Thursday, June 19, 2014
EMBRACE THE STRUGGLE

Posted by Geoff at 7:15 AM CDT
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 2:55 AM CDT
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Sunday, June 15, 2014
VIDEO PAYS TRIBUTE TO DE PALMA'S CINEMA
HELLO WIZARD VID USES SONGS 'RELAX', 'SEXE', AND 'SIN CITY'

Posted by Geoff at 11:44 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 5:04 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY ON '[DE PALMA'S] VISION'
BY CRISTINA ALVAREZ LOPEZ & ADRIAN MARTIN, NOW ON MUBI


MUBI Notebook has published the latest audiovisual essay from Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin, "[De Palma’s] Vision." In the written introduction to the audiovisual essay, the authors explain, "There is a story of how Brian De Palma works with his film editors: he looks at what they have already done in assembling a scene, and then instructs them on how to improve it, to his precise specifications, by tapping out a particular beat: ‘1 … 2 … 3 … cut there!’ His work on cinematic form is rhythmic, musical—and always keyed to emotional, physical patterns of tension and relaxation. So he counts out the beats to draw all the elements of image and sound, gesture and architecture together, in a masterful choreography/orchestration of elements.

"In approaching an audiovisual analysis of De Palma’s films (which we dearly love, and find inexhaustible as objects of study), we too faced the task of not merely enumerating the abundant motifs and structures in his work, but also bringing them together and drawing out their unfolding logic—unfolding both within each film, and across his whole career."

Álvarez López and Martin then describe how various accounts of De Palma's cinema build from lists of recurring themes and motifs in his work. They note that in his essay for the Criterion edition of Sisters, Bruce Kawin "sought a logic to cohere and unify the various motifs in De Palma’s films, as do we. If we take a cluster of these motifs relating to the idea of vision, then we quickly realise that they allow De Palma to create compositional effects and narrative extravagances of every kind. But this director’s obsession for the visual does not cover only the style and narratives of his films; it is also, frequently, the true, deep theme of his cinema. The very act of looking and its consequences; the relationship between the subject who looks and the object of their gaze; the way of processing, decoding and interpreting what we see; the value of absolute truth that we tend to give the information that reaches us through the organ of sight ... All these issues are central to his films."

The essay, then, explores the question of "how, according to what concrete forms, does vision become such a central concern for De Palma?"


Posted by Geoff at 3:50 AM CDT
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Sunday, May 18, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 5:02 PM CDT
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