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De Palma a la Mod

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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

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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De Palma a la Mod
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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, June 22, 2016
FILM STAGE'S 'SUMMER OF DE PALMA'
ONGOING ESSAYS SPAN DE PALMA'S CAREER, FEATURE-BY-FEATURE


Make sure you check out The Film Stage's "The Summer of De Palma". The site has been posting insightful essays covering De Palma's features, and will continue to post throughout the next few weeks. Here's an excerpt from Eric Barroso's essay on Murder à la Mod:
One would assume De Palma reins in these aesthetic statements of intent for the bulk of a film concerned with plot, but it’s too giddily drunk on what opportunities genre filmmaking allows for experimentation. What sets Murder apart from say, Scorsese’s debut, Who’s That Knocking At My Door?, is an assurance that comes with De Palma’s handling of both camera and genre, demonstrating how intensely familiar he is with the archetypes at work and how easily, even at this nascent stage, he can pervert them. Much is taken from Psycho, including a subplot involving a stolen envelope of money — but, most interestingly, manipulation of voiceover to both elucidate and obscure character motivations revolving around the film’s central murder. Nonlinear narrative and vantage points are tampered with (although the transitions between these are the movie’s clunkiest moments), providing a ground zero for a significant facet of Quentin Tarantino’s oeuvre.

Changes in film speed and stock are also among Murder à la Mod’s pleasures, indeed pointing to the influence both silent comedies and, more immediately, the French New Wave had on De Palma’s sensibilities; however, late-60s Truffaut, rather than Godard, strikes one as the greater figure looming over the film, with its attention to the rules of suspense. But aforementioned perversions of the precedents set by Hitchcock and others are what make De Palma’s cinema worthwhile. A noteworthy moment: as the camera is stealthily following Karen to the shower, a detour is taken around a corner to reveal an unidentified hand holding out an ominous clock for the audience to see. This digression exposes a key aspect of the way De Palma films thrillers: the camera (and, therefore, audience) is just as complicit in the gory violence enacted upon victims.

Otto is revealed to be the closest thing to an audience surrogate in the film’s climax — which takes place in a projection booth, naturally. He becomes an accidental murderer, through a mishap between a real and trick ice pick — a perfect metaphor for Brian De Palma’s prevailing style if ever there was one — and is genuinely bewildered by what he has done. He then happens upon Karen’s “photobiography,” which contains an image of her corpse, and hauntingly remarks, “A picture. He killed her and he put her in the picture.” In that indelible final moment, the induction of Brian De Palma as a significant cinematic voice is undeniable.


Posted by Geoff at 10:47 AM CDT
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016
TWEETS FROM NEW YORK TONIGHT




Posted by Geoff at 10:59 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 11:04 PM CDT
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EDGAR WRIGHT & GUILLERMO DEL TORO
TWEET THEIR LISTS OF FAVORITE DE PALMA FILMS

Posted by Geoff at 10:16 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016
DE PALMA IN PERSON WED AT METROGRAPH
Q&A FOLLOWING 'HI, MOM!', WILL INTRODUCE 'DRESSED TO KILL'
After Brian De Palma gets off stage Wednesday night at the Film Society Lincoln Center (where he'll be appearing with Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow at 7pm), he'll head over to The Metrograph to attend a Q&A following the 7:15 screening of Hi, Mom!. After that, he'll stick around to introduce the 9:45 screening of Dressed To Kill. Hump day fever in the Big Apple.

Posted by Geoff at 12:34 AM CDT
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Monday, June 6, 2016
FILM COMMENT PODCAST ON DE PALMA
BAUMBACH & PALTROW INTERVIEWED, FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION OF DE PALMA'S FILMS
Film Comment posted a podcast this past Friday in which digital editor Violet Lucca interviews Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow about their new documentary, De Palma. That interview takes up the first 15 minutes of the podcast, after which Lucca sits down with Michael Koresky and Ashley Clark to discuss De Palma's work for about 50 minutes.

One of the highlights of the interview is when Baumbach and Paltrow talk about how the most moving part of their film about De Palma is the way he talks about taking up and continuing to develop the cinematic language that Alfred Hitchcock laid out before him. The other discussion afterward includes a nice description of De Palma's work as a deconstruction of film. Some of the highlights include an appraisal of Femme Fatale, Koresky talking about seeing Dressed To Kill when he was ten years old, De Palma as a political filmmaker (discussing Hi, Mom! and Sisters), and the energizing experience of watching De Palma.

Posted by Geoff at 11:45 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 2, 2016
'WEDDING PARTY' & 'HOME MOVIES' ADDED
TO METROGRAPH DE PALMA SERIES IN NEW YORK, PROJECTED FROM VHS
Looking to offer a more thorough Brian De Palma retrospective, The Metrograph in New York has added screenings of De Palma's The Wedding Party (Saturday June 4th) and Home Movies (Sunday June 5th), each to be screened from VHS.

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016
ANDREW GUNN PICKS 10 BEST SCENES OF DE PALMA
POSTED AT TASTE OF CINEMA


At Taste Of Cinema last week, Andrew Gunn posted "The 10 Best Scenes in The Movies of Brian De Palma." Choosing scenes from Mission To Mars (a film which, he suggests, doesn't really kick in until about a third of the way in), Snake Eyes, Carrie, and seven others, Gunn's article begins at number 10 with "The Sundial in Raising Cain." Although he calls it a "schlocky thriller," Gunn has some interesting things to say about the film, which he also refers to as "brilliant"...
Before Nicolas Cage there was John Lithgow, whose own brand of “mega-acting” sets the tonal barometer for this demented, schlocky thriller. Raising Cain is a series of rugs being gleefully pulled out from under your feet by a filmmaker who has just made Bonfire of the Vanities and has nothing to lose. It’s brilliant.

Lithgow has a ball playing a child-kidnapping madman whose evil twin is really a split personality, and whose dead father split personality is really his still-alive actual father, who’s also mad. Meanwhile Lithgow 1.0’s wife (Lolita Davidovich) has an affair with her old flame (Steven Bauer), a hunk in a sleeveless V-neck cardigan, and her vivid dreams-within-dreams give her a slippery grip on this tenth-year-of-a-soap-opera version of reality.

The climactic sequence begins with the line “You’re gonna kill somebody with that sundial!” and is structured according to the Mouse Trap formula (the board game, not the play). Disparate elements are wittily introduced – scalpel, bystanders, pram. Geography is established – motel walkway, elevator, parking lot. Characters’ objectives are set – patricide, rescue, escape. And when the trap is sprung, the perfectly choreographed chaos unfolds in glorious slow motion.

At times Raising Cain plays like a TV movie directed by its own main character(s) but that’s only to trick you into forgetting that it’s directed by Brian De Palma.

This is summarised by a four-minute Steadicam shot in which Frances Sternhagen leads a walk-and-talk through a police station – she keeps taking wrong turns while the cops steer her in the right direction. Throughout the film, De Palma points your expectations, sympathies and fears one way only to head off in another, but despite the madness on display he’s always in complete control.

By the end we’re primed for anything, and the thrill of the climax comes from De Palma’s precise timing and orchestration as he resolves the film’s myriad conflicts in a single scene.

After Casualties of War underperformed (despite critical praise) and Bonfire of the Vanities flopped (having received none), Raising Cain was De Palma’s conscious return to the twisty-turny thrillers that made his name. He did the same thing ten years later, following a lukewarm response to Snake Eyes and the summary dismissal of Mission to Mars.

2002’s Femme Fatale is Raising Cain’s sexier stepsister, sharing a delight in frustrating and subverting audience expectations, and building to a similar Mouse Trap-style showdown.


Posted by Geoff at 12:48 AM CDT
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Friday, May 27, 2016
FRIDAY TWEET - 'YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG'

Posted by Geoff at 8:13 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 26, 2016
JIM HEMPHILL ON BRIAN DE PALMA
"IT'S HARD TO THINK OF A DIRECTOR WHOSE WORK YIELDS MORE REWARDS ON REPEAT VIEWINGS"
Screenwriter/director Jim Hemphill has posted an article in anticipation of the American Cinematheque series on Brian De Palma, which begins next week. "It takes a lot of confidence to begin a movie with a clip from perhaps the most famous film noir of all time," begins Hemphill in the article, "as Brian De Palma does in the first scene of his 2002 erotic thriller Femme Fatale. That film’s opening scene, which unfolds via a virtuoso long take in which we're introduced to the lead character and major themes of the film without a cut, begins with an image from Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity on a television and ends with a hotel room curtain being pulled aside to reveal the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Inviting comparison with Wilder and referencing the most prestigious film festival on earth makes a bold statement right off the bat, but De Palma doesn’t merely invite the comparisons he’s making – he earns them, and then goes beyond Wilder’s influence to create a film that is both a superb example of the film noir form and a commentary on it, as well as an evolutionary step forward in terms of the tradition’s approach to women. While it would be a stretch to call Femme Fatale a feminist manifesto, in its own sly way it answers the charges of misogyny often leveled against film noir by setting in motion a gleefully complicated puzzle of a plot in which one commanding man after another finds his sense of order disrupted by the female jewel thief at the movie’s center. It’s not just that Laure (Rebecca Romjin) undermines the guys and their world; De Palma himself subverts a century of established cinematic 'rules' to place the audience in the position of the bewildered men stripped of their power – and he does it with so much pizzazz that we’re grateful to have the rug pulled out from under us."

Below is the closeing paragraph from Hemphill's article, and you can read the whole thing at American Cinematheque.
De Palma’s career is all the more remarkable for his ability to adapt to changing circumstances – both his own and those of the film industry at large. Regardless of the size of his canvas, the potency of his vision is undiluted, whether he’s working in the low-budget experimental realm (as in Redacted or early apprentice efforts like Murder a la Mod and Dionysus in ’69) or on the kinds of big-budget tent-poles that stifle less robust personalities. When De Palma takes a studio assignment on a film like The Untouchables or Mission: Impossible, he fuses his own preoccupations with the demands of the material in a way that serves both; his stylistic and thematic obsessions expand to broader dimensions thanks to their expression in a new form, and the films’ escapist set-pieces are more entertaining and charged with energy because of the artistic drives motivating them. There’s never any sense of De Palma following the old “one for me, one for them” (them being the studio) formula in his career – they’re all for him, and they’re all for us. It’s hard to think of a director whose work yields more rewards on repeat viewings, or whose dense visual representations and allusions gain more from being experienced on the big screen –making the Cinematheque’s retrospective one of the essential repertory events of 2016 thus far.

Posted by Geoff at 7:54 AM CDT
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Friday, May 13, 2016
CZECH MAG 'FILM A DOBA' - FOCUS ON DE PALMA
CURRENT ISSUE FEATURES ESSAYS ON DE PALMA & HIS WORK, NEW INTERVIEW WITH DONAGGIO


Brian De Palma is the focus of the new issue of the quarterly magazine Film a doba, which has a still from De Palma's Sisters on its cover. The issue includes a new interview with Pino Donaggio by Jan Švábenický, as well as several essays: "Double View Brian De Palma" by Rudolf Schimera, "The Sixties - the Emergence of Poetics" by Jan Křipač, "Hitchcock à la De Palma" by Milan Hain, "Not a Gangster Like Gangster. Scarface vs Carlito's Way" by Jana Bébarová, "Snake Eyes on the edge of eccentricity: analytical notes on the poetry of Brian De Palma" by Radomír D. Kokeš, and "Hidden intensity. John Lithgow in Brian De Palma" by Michal Kří̀.

Posted by Geoff at 2:24 AM CDT
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