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Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
|Howell on Hurt Locker|
"Testosterone flows non-
stop and so does blood,
but these macho men
are just getting the
job done. In so doing,
they reveal much about
themselves and also
deliver some home truths
about the Iraqi quagmire.
This is no message
movie, yet insights
Bigelow's Hurt Locker
Sarris on Nolan
Uhlich on The Dark Knight
Jeremy Richey on Tykwer's
Spielberg on small projects:
Oliver Stone says the
Dan Fainaru on
Sean Penn as
Oliver Stone on W
Peter Bradshaw Armond White on The late Paul Arthur Phantom Of The Paradise LA Times: Hollywood's Neil Burger's Iraq- Jeffrey Wells on How the Iraq War Armond White on Stop-Loss Zacharek on Stop-Loss U.S. war films more Bush defends Iraq Goodridge on Stop-Loss: War film Stop-Loss Prisoners develop play
Armond White on The late Paul Arthur Phantom Of The Paradise LA Times: Hollywood's Neil Burger's Iraq- Jeffrey Wells on How the Iraq War Armond White on Stop-Loss Zacharek on Stop-Loss U.S. war films more Bush defends Iraq Goodridge on Stop-Loss: War film Stop-Loss Prisoners develop play
The late Paul Arthur
Phantom Of The Paradise
LA Times: Hollywood's
Neil Burger's Iraq-
Jeffrey Wells on
How the Iraq War
Armond White on Stop-Loss
Zacharek on Stop-Loss
U.S. war films more
Bush defends Iraq
Goodridge on Stop-Loss:
War film Stop-Loss
Prisoners develop play
Todd's Movie Blog Jonathan Romney Anthony Quinn Peter Bradshaw James Christopher Nigel Andrews Wally Hammond Alastair McKay Andrew Benbow Steve Vineberg Jeannette Catsoulis Kim Dot Dammit Shawn Levy Roundtable Charles Mudede Kyle Smith Rick Groen Roger Ebert Christopher Orr Mick LaSalle A. O. Scott Tasha Robinson Tom Toro Steven Rea David Lamble Scott Tavener Andrew Sarris Kelly Vance Al Alexander Cindy Fuchs Andy Klein Mark Jenkins Chau Tu Armond White J. Hoberman David Edelstein David Denby Edward Douglas Ryan Gilbey Martyn Bamber Nick James George Packer MTV U.K. Swan Archives The Economist Daniel Kasman A.O. Scott Winslow Leach Tal @ AICN Alison Willmore Emanuel Levy David Jurgen Fauth Steve Persall David Edelstein Adam N. Keith Uhlich Michael Guillen Mike White Owen Gleiberman Courtney Martin Variety reviews SgtStryker Daniel Kurland Jim Emerson Scott Foundas Geoff Pevere Tom Charity Peter Howell Christopher Kelly Joan Dupont Eric Harrison Ryan Stewart Peter Rainer Jen Yamato Jim Ridley Russ Fischer Scott Brown Audrey Hendrickson Adam Nayman Chris Schobert Scott Tobias Jason Gargano Stephen Whitty Stephanie Zacharek Noel Murray Glenn Kenny Ben Kenigsberg Nigel Andrews Jim Hemphill Mohamed Peter Bradshaw Michael Althen Emmanuel Burdeau Richard Corliss Hollywood Variety Chris Willman Aint It Cool Mark Salisbury Jason Solomons Screen Daily Telegraph Nathan Lee Jared Mobarak Russ Fischer Lou Lumenick Dave Calhoun David Ansen
Kim Dot Dammit
A. O. Scott
Tal @ AICN
Aint It Cool
American Thinker Redstate Afghanistan Pundit Review Sister Toldjah newcritics Pat Dollard Digg newcritics Anna Nimouse Joseph Farah Liberally
|Posted August 31 2008|
"CRAZY DENTAL SURGERY"
NO DE PALMA AT MONTREAL FEST
The New York Post's V.A. Musetto finally received a confirmation Sunday morning from the festival press office that Brian De Palma would not be coming to the Montreal World Film Festival to conduct a master class after all. "The reason," writes Musetto, "according to the festival: 'Crazy dental surgery.'" Meanwhile, John Griffin posted yesterday at the Montreal Gazette Ciné Files blog that De Palma's master class "was one of the biggest draws of the line-up" at this year's festival. "But neither date nor venue were ever confirmed," writes Griffin, "and despite various rumours - work, illness - his no-show remains a mystery." Griffin hoped to find out more at a Saturday dinner with the fest's publicity corps.
|Posted August 30 2008|
MUSETTO WAITS FOR DE PALMA
AS HUPPERT RECEIVES SPECIAL AWARD AT MONTREAL FEST
In a blog entry posted this afternoon, New York Post critic V.A. Musetto says that he is still waiting for Brian De Palma to show up at the Montreal World Film Festival, and is beginning to doubt that De Palma will even show up at all (the festival continues through Labor Day Monday). Although Musetto writes that no site has been named for De Palma's master class, the usually reliable Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette has stated that the master class will take place at the Imperial Cinema.
Meanwhile, Isabelle Huppert (pictured above by Sylvain Legaré, courtesy of the Montreal World Film Festival) arrived in Montreal earlier this week, where on Thursday she received a special award for her exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art. Huppert interviewed De Palma in 1994 for Cahiers du Cinéma.
|Posted August 29 2008|
MASTER CLASS THIS WEEKEND
AND CURTIS TALKS DE PALMA
New York Post critic V.A. Musetto blogged yesterday that Brian De Palma was to arrive later that day at the Montreal World Film Festival, where the director will give a master class this weekend (so much for Danielle Cauchard's previous statement that De Palma would be in attendance for the entire festival-- De Palma must have had a slight change of plans). In any case, Musetto states that the press office at the fest "has been deluged with calls" about De Palma, but that if all goes well, the critic will have a chance to sit down with the director.
According to Musetto, Tony Curtis had already left before De Palma arrived, which is a bit of a shame, because De Palma may have been able to correct a bit of misinformation regarding De Palma's upcoming project, The Boston Stranglers. Last month, Curtis was interviewed by Neal Justin at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Justin aksed Curtis whether the films he made in the past could be done today. Curtis replied, "I did a movie called The Boston Strangler. Brian De Palma is going to do a remake. What's he going to do? He's probably going to show the strangling. He's going to show these women being torn apart. He's going to show that in his own poetic way." Well, actually, De Palma is not remaking that film, but he is making a film based on a book by Susan Kelly, whose The Boston Stranglers purports to correct the conclusions depicted in the Curtis film (itself based on a book by Gerold Frank). In fact, Kelly's book discusses the Curtis film (directed by Richard Fleischer), which seems likely to be a part of De Palma's story.
|Posted August 25 2008|
M:I AT MONTREAL FEST
AS DE PALMA PREPARES MASTER CLASS
While there is still no official word on the exact time of Brian De Palma's master class, the Montreal World Film Festival will screen De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible Tuesday night as part of its "Cinema Under The Stars" program. We'll keep an eye out for any other news...
|Posted August 22 2008|
FARRIS SIGNING IN GEORGIA
FINAL BOOK IN FURY SERIES
Since it's a hot weekend to get out and meet people who have worked on various Brian De Palma films, it can't hurt to add one more. John Farris, who adapted the screenplay of his own novel The Fury for De Palma's 1978 film, will sign copies of his new book Avenging Fury tomorrow (Saturday, August 23rd) at the Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur, Georgia, from 12:30pm to 2pm. The new book is the fourth and final volume in the Fury cycle (officially dubbed the "Fury and the Terror" series). Farris will also sign 50 copies of the book for those who cannot attend the signing-- if you would like one of those signed copies, you need to e-mail the store's owner, Doug Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org), as soon as possible. After collaborating on The Fury in 1978, De Palma recruited Farris to help him adapt Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man as a followup project. While the latter was never made, it remains De Palma's dream project to this day.
|Posted August 22 2008|
NANCY ALLEN @ MONSTER-MANIA
AND ANGEL SALAZAR JOINS STEVEN BAUER IN MIAMI
If you're in the Philadelphia area this weekend, you can meet Nancy Allen at the 11th Monster-Mania Con, which runs today through Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Allen, who was once married to Brian De Palma appeared in four of De Palma's films: Carrie, Home Movies, Dressed To Kill, and Blow Out.
SCARFACE IN MIAMI TONIGHT
Rodriguez' column today asks, "Where were you on Dec. 9, 1983?" Rodriguez continues:
I was a teenager at the Miracle Twin Theater on Miracle Mile, eluding aggressive ushers rigorously checking IDs and sneaking into the first afternoon screening of Brian De Palma's controversial, R-rated Scarface. Yes, it was a school day. But so much had been written about the film before its release, there was no way I could wait until Saturday or even later that day. Scarface had to be seen immediately.
Read the rest at the Miami Herald. (By the way, there is no longer any mention that Brett Ratner, who snuck onto the Scarface set as a kid and wound up as an extra in the background, will be in attendance at tonight's screening.)
|Posted August 16 2008|
"BE BLACK, BABY"
RAINER DISCUSSES PERFORMANCE ART OF RACE
In an essay for the Los Angeles Times this weekend, Peter Rainer asks, "What is going on in the zeitgeist when an African American is poised to become president and Robert Downey Jr. is in blackface?" Linking Downey's performance in the current Tropic Thunder to a more sophisticated version of free-form sketch comedy routines, Rainer proceeds to discuss a cultural history of blackface and whiteface minstrelsy where he suggests that the "Be Black, Baby" sequence in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! helped to set a vaudvillean racial template that would morph into blaxploitation and rap music. Discussing Downey's riffs on race in the film, Rainer states that they "have an even earlier pedigree"...
Downey's father, Robert Downey Sr., directed 1969's funky, acidulous Putney Swope, about a Black Power takeover of a lily-white Madison Avenue ad agency. A year later, in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom!, black militants stage an off-off-Broadway show called "Be Black Baby," during which, in white face, they force their white patrons to wear blackface and then proceed to terrorize them so they can better "understand" the black experience. The comic kicker comes at the end. Says one brutalized white guy, admiringly, about the evening: "It really makes you stop and think."
These underground movies, mostly forgotten now, nevertheless set the template for the scabrous racial vaudeville that morphed into the blaxploitation cycle right on up through rap. For white audiences, especially guilty liberals, the message in these movies was explicit: "We really are your worst nightmare."
HISTORICALLY, white actors in blackface incarnated the cruelest of racial caricatures. (Even when Fred Astaire in Swing Time wore blackface in tribute to Bill Robinson, it was implicit that Bojangles could never star in such a film.) But one cannot talk about blackfaced white performers without at the same time summoning up the camouflages worn by black actors -- worn, in many cases, to have any career at all. Throughout all too much of Hollywood's sorry history, particularly pre- Sidney Poitier, black performers, with no decent roles available to them, wore minstrel masks too. They acted out the demeaning images whites set for them (and still, like Robinson himself, they frequently managed to be more electric than their often starched-white counterparts). By the time the '60s counterculture came along, attitudes had shifted. Black minstrelsy became a put-on -- a weapon. Be black, baby.
|Posted August 8 2008|
BAUER TO PRESENT SCARFACE
AT FLORIDA 25TH ANNIVERSARY SCREENING
Steven Bauer, who co-starred with Al Pacino in Brian De Palma's Scarface, will attend a 25th anniversary screening of that film on Friday, August 22nd at the Gusman Center's Olympia Theater. Bauer will participate in an audience Q&A following the 8pm screening. According to Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald, Brett Ratner, who was inspired to be a film director when he snuck onto the Scarface set as a child and observed De Palma at work, will also attend the screening.
|Posted August 5 2008|
DE PALMA TO GIVE MASTER CLASS
AT MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL
Aspiring filmmakers are sure to learn some valuable lessons in making movies when Brian De Palma presents a cinema master class at this year's Montreal World Film Festival. The news was announced at a press conference this morning, in which the festival's slate of competition and non-competition films was also laid out. According to CJAD's Shuyee Lee, the festival's general director Danielle Cauchard said that there was no specific date set yet for De Palma's master class. "The date is not fixed yet," said Cauchard. "I tell you why, because he's staying for the whole festival." It is no surprise that De Palma will be around for the entire festival, which runs from August 21 through September 1. De Palma has long been known to attend the big autumn Canadian film festivals, especially the Toronto International Film Festival, where for two years in a row (in 2005 and 2006) he served as a mentor for that fest's Talent Lab, where emerging Canadian talents learn and practice filmmaking techniques from international masters of cinema. According to Brendan Kelly at the Montreal Gazette, De Palma's master class will take place at the Imperial Cinema.
|Posted July 25 2008|
DE PALMA TALKS IRAQ
REDACTED & PRINT THE LEGEND
The August issue of the U.K. magazine The Word includes an interview with Brian De Palma by New York-based arts writer Tom Teodorczuk. The interview, published to coincide with the DVD release of De Palma's Redacted in the U.K., was conducted prior to the announcement last month that De Palma had signed on to direct The Boston Stranglers. The headline reads: "His Iraq movie was 'blatantly dumped', spits Brian De Palma. So now he's making another one."
"TALK ABOUT A LOOSE CANNON"
With the Iraq war, we have destroyed a country. What the hell are we doing there? We've got over two million refugees wandering around in Syria and Oman and it's like, "Oops! Sorry!" The catastrophe we've caused in the world in the last eight years - talk about a loose cannon. The rest of the world must be going, "What are they going to do next?" I think we've overextended. Look at the British empire 100 years ago and how that ended up. There's something wrong with this picture. Should we be making money from oil, defense contractors and creating a tabloid version of the war?
"YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE SHOTS IN YOUR CAREER"
People react to the steam. You're always amazed when people don't look at what is on the screen, but I've noticed that a lot of times in my career. Instead they react to some political view or some notion of political correctness. This is another example of that. With Scarface, 20 per cent of the audience walked out when it was released. Some of the most commercial artists make a tremendous amount of money, everybody loves them and then when they die everybody forgets about them. Some of the most uncommercial artists, everybody's ranting and raving about them during their lifetime and yet often they make the movies that stick. You've got to take shots in your career.
"THEY CAN'T ALL BE HITS"
PRINT THE LEGEND
It has more to do with the embedded reporter stories and how the information is spun and influenced in a way that's completely the opposite of what is actually going on. In terms of how it has been reported, the war is completely spun homogenised propaganda and I feel that the press is just an arm of the administration and the big corporations that are profiting from this war. It will also feature some women soldiers. It's about what they do to people who tell the truth about the war and how they get discredited and destroyed. Like with the Valerie Plame affair. Joe Wilson said he went over there and they weren't buying yellowcake and yet that kept appearing in Bush's speeches the whole time. Then he goes to the New York Times and they destroy him.
THE BLUE AFTERNOON
"IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER WHO THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS"
Bush has got us into a tremendous amount of trouble but it doesn't really matter who the next President is. I'm not part of the liberal establishment that has a political agenda. I don't think the liberal establishment wants to take responsibility for this war. They blame it on Bush but they were complicit in prosecuting it. Do I have strong political views? You bet. I think the best way to express them is in your work and then get the hell off the stage. Then again, you don't make movies like Mission: Impossible because you have strong political statements to say about the CIA.
"WORSE THAN BEING DEAD IS BEING HOT"
I don't know. I'm really at an age where I don't think I have to prove anything to anybody anymore, least of all myself. It's like, "Do you really want to go through all that?" Worse than being dead is being hot. But if you want to continue making movies, you have to make genre pictures every once in a while that make people a lot of money. Since I can get very interested in the visualization of action, I can work in those genres like with The Untouchables or Mission: Impossible. I do it every once in a while. Everybody says, "Oh, you're back", but it's not where my heart lies.
|Posted July 22 2008|
GREETINGS COMPOSER DIES
CHILDREN OF PARADISE MEMBER WAS 65
Artie Traum, who as a member of the trio Children Of Paradise wrote and recorded songs and music for Brian De Palma's Greetings in 1968, died Sunday at his home in Bearsville, New York, following a battle with cancer. He was 65. World Music Central's T. J. Nelson has posted an obituary, which makes mention of the fact that Traum was also "an enthusiastic documentary filmmaker." Another obit by Jeremiah Horrigan at the Times Herald-Record describes Traum as a vital musician "at the down-home, finger-pickin' center of Woodstock's musical family." The music in Greetings is terrific, and really marks the film as a sixties artifact with its Byrds/Monkees-like theme song, and instrumental passages that highlight a freewheeling, anything goes attitude. I especially love the crazy paranoid plucking that percolates the scene where Lloyd meets the conspiracy nut in the bookstore. Great stuff.
|Posted July 20 2008|
MORE RICTUS DISCUSSION
HUGO, LENI, KANE, NOLAN, ELLROY, DE PALMA
Michael Guillen has riffed off a nice summary of the links between The Man Who Laughs, The Dark Knight, and The Black Dahlia in a two-part piece stemming from a recent screening of The Man Who Laughs at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. In part one, Guillen describes in well-researched summary how Conrad Veidt's Gwynplaine inspired the creation of the Joker. Then, in part two, Guillen explores the themes that link The Man Who Laughs with The Black Dahlia and The Dark Knight. Discussing the "problematic erotic triangulation" between Lee, Bucky, and Kay in The Black Dahlia, Guillen writes:
That triangulation is articulated through a scene in De Palma's film where Lee, Bucky and Kay—in what Village Voice critic J. Hoberman terms "an unlikely date"—catch a screening of Leni's The Man Who Laughs. In a September 2006 interview with Daily Breeze reporter Jim Farber, Brian De Palma stated, "If this film works, it's because I stayed scrupulously on the Ellroy road. I didn't try to change things. What I did do was try to find visual equivalents for some of the things he's doing in the book, like introducing a scene from the German Expressionist silent film The Man Who Laughs, rather than having somebody have to explain what that key image is all about. I tried to keep very much to Ellroy's story structure and the way he explains things, which sometimes explains nothing." Expressionistic dualism, anyone? De Palma's strategy in this scene is to observe how The Man Who Laughs reveals the varied interiority of his three main characters. As Armond White delineates for Cineaste, "Bucky is transfixed, Lee is bemused and Kay is frightened—reflecting their individual response to life's horrors." (Cineaste, 12/22/06). Hoberman qualifies Kay's "agonized response to [Gwynplaine]'s scarred face" by reminding that the audience soon discovers she herself has been branded.
THE JOKER IS DRESSED TO KILL
POLAND COMPARES KNIGHT TO THE UNTOUCHABLES
This is not a Batman movie… this is a 2008 version of The Untouchables with The Batman as Elliot Ness, The Joker as Al Capone, much better toys, and, it seems, a topper. Great. But the topper is a bit unwieldy, in that it makes the film too long to sustain by pushing beyond the main story – De Palma and Mamet’s The Untouchables was 119 minutes – and too short to do the second push of Nolan’s thematic idea real justice at 152 minutes. Unlike many long films, the problem with The Dark Knight is that it is too short.
|Posted July 18 2008|
EDGAR WRIGHT TALKS THE FURY
"THE BEST EXPLODING HEAD MOVIE OF ALL TIME!"
|Posted July 17 2008|
WHITE ON KNIGHT
FASHIONABLE MODERN ART
Some early raves have cited The Dark Knight as the film that lifts director Christopher Nolan into the big leagues of the crime film genre. Writing at Horror.com, Staci Layne Wilson began her review with what she confesses is extra "sizzle" designed to draw readers in:
Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Michael Mann's Heat. Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. And now, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight can join the list of one of the most absorbing and intense crime dramas in modern movie milestones.
Scott Mantz at Access Hollywood wrote that "The existential, psychological, intelligent approach of The Dark Knight makes it less of a superhero movie and more of an epic crime drama that puts Nolan in the same league as Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann." Sounds like if crime movies are your thing, these are the directors to look out for.
But while some critics this week have been less enthusiastic (with most of the latter citing a lack of spatial clarity and quick-cut editing as part of the film's problems), Armond White has set himself apart as the man who refuses to laugh in the face of this somber Batman. White's review of The Dark Knight in this week's New York Press, which is generating hate posts at Rotten Tomatoes (and inevitably soon-to-be-published hate mail at the New York Press itself), sees the film as a cold commercial enterprise that corrupts "ideas of escapist entertainment." White compares and contrasts Nolan's film with Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, but he also finds muse to link and compare it to De Palma's The Black Dahlia. White suggests that Burton's romantic affiliation with the lonely characters in the Batman mythos "was richer" than what he calls Nolan's one-note tone of gloom. White writes:
For Nolan, making Batman somber is the same as making it serious... As in Memento, Nolan shows rudimentary craft; his zeitgeist filmmaking—morose, obsessive, fussily executed yet emotionally unsatisfying—will only impress anyone who hasn’t seen De Palma’s genuinely, politically serious crime-fighter movie, The Black Dahlia. Aaron Eckhart’s cop role in The Black Dahlia humanized the complexity of crime and morality. But as Harvey Dent, sorrow transforms him into the vengeful Two-Face, another Armageddon freak in Nolan’s sideshow.
White also references De Palma's film in his description of Heath Ledger's Joker ("sweaty clown’s make-up to cover his Black Dahlia–style facial scar"). As might be expected, some of the posts at Rotten Tomatoes are using the fact that White prefers The Black Dahlia to The Dark Knight as proof that the critic just doesn't get modern art.
|Posted July 15 2008|
CAPONE ON BACK BURNER
BUT BUTLER SEES "CLASSIC" SCRIPT COMING BACK
We had figured that since winter had passed, the Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, would have to wait until at least late this year to begin shooting. However, Gerard Butler tells the U.K.'s Total Film that the project is stalled for now, although he keeps up hope that it will happen sometime in the future. You can read the entire interview at Gerard Butler dot Net. Here is Butler's reply when asked if he is working on the Untouchables "sequel" with Brian De Palma:
Sadly, that is very much on the back burner. It’s actually an incredible script but like many projects you get involved with and then aren’t, I think there was issues with who had the rights to the script and casting and Capone - who was going to do that. So it’s taken its place in one of the dusty cupboards at the moment. But I can totally see that coming back, the script is such a classic, I mean it’s great, but no, it’s not happening tomorrow.
|Posted June 13 2008|
HURD TALKS STRANGLERS
AND DE PALMA NAMES HIS DREAM PROJECT
I've just discovered a French mediacast from this past February in which Brian De Palma is asked a series of fictional questions from various pop-mythological figures such as Oliver Stone ("What is your definition of a political film?"), Alfred Hitchcock ("Why are you so fascinated with my movies?"), and Scarlett Johansson ("When you come to Paris, what’s your guilty pleasure?"), among others. The most intriguing fictional question comes from Bill Gates: "I’m offering you an unlimited budget and total control. What film will you direct with that?" De Palma, pausing to think for a moment, replies, "Well, thank you, Bill. I appreciate the offer. I’ve always wanted to make a movie of a very famous science fiction book called The Demolished Man. It’s been a dream project of mine since I was in high school. And it will need an unlimited budget in order to do it."
De Palma tried to get his screen adaptation of Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man made in 1978, with Frank Yablans as producer, following the pair’s collaboration on The Fury that same year. However, the project proved difficult to get off the ground after the disappointing box office of The Fury.
Throughout the years, various filmmakers have attempted to get a film of The Demolished Man off the ground, but none have yet succeeded. In 1981, Oliver Stone wrote a screenplay based on Bester’s novel that Ted Kotcheff was supposed to direct. More recently, in 2005, Tom Jacobson, who had produced De Palma’s Mission To Mars, tried to produce a version of Bester’s book adapted by Milo Addica, and to be directed by Andrew Dominik. However, that project seems to have fallen through. De Palma has mentioned The Demolished Man every now and then through the years as a project he is still keeping an eye on.
DE PALMA NAMES THREE FAVORITES
GALE ANNE HURD FEATURED IN VARIETY
BIG NAMES BANDIED ABOUT FOR STRANGLERS LEAD
|Posted June 4 2008|
DE PALMA TO FILM BOSTON STRANGLERS
RETEAMS WITH GALE ANNE HURD FOR ADAPTATION
Brian De Palma will reteam with producer Gale Anne Hurd to film The Boston Stranglers, according to Jay A. Fernandez at the Hollywood Reporter. The film is an adaptation of a 1996 nonfiction book (updated in 2002) titled, The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders, written by Susan Kelly. In the book, Kelly claims to debunk the confessions of Albert DeSalvo, who was convicted of strangling 13 women between 1962 and 1964. According to Kelly's book, the Boston murders were the result of several killers, and DeSalvo was a pathological liar who craved celebrity. One striking detail of the murders was that there was never a sign of forced entry into the victims' homes, most of whom were sexually assaulted before being strangled, often with their own nylon stockings (the killings were also referred to as the silk stocking murders).
FLEISCHER'S 1968 FILM A LIKELY PART OF PLOT
The Hollywood Reporter article mentions that "De Palma similarly plumbed real-life-derived atrocities in Casualties of War, Redacted and The Black Dahlia." This film could be interesting as a postmodern pluralized ("Stranglers" instead of "Strangler") revision of Fleischer's picture, which nevertheless takes De Palma back to the decade at the heart of his cinema, the 1960s. The director also must feel at home in reteaming with Hurd. While the two were married, Hurd produced what was surely De Palma's most personal film of the 1990s, Raising Cain (1992), which De Palma wrote and directed. De Palma and Hurd, who also have a daughter together (Lolita De Palma), seem to have remained friends over the past decade and a half, and it will be nice to see them team up again professionally. Hurd will produce through her own Valhalla Motion Pictures (Hulk, Terminator 3, Dick). In a statement quoted at Reuters' Fan Fare blog today, Hurd said that De Palma "has the perfect visual and thematic sensibility" for The Boston Stranglers. Hurd has also produced both Hulk movies, the second of which (The Incredible Hulk) is released June 13th.
CARL FRANKLIN & ALAN ROSEN
|Posted May 22 2008|
TARANTINO TALKS DE PALMA
AT CANNES MASTER CLASS
Quentin Tarantino gave a cinema master class this morning at the 61st Cannes Film Festival, and Karina Longworth was there to provide a live blog full of notes from the lecture. Tarantino mentioned De Palma several times, calling him his "rock star" when Tarantino was younger, and discussing his use of 360-degree pans. He also mentioned that he stole a line from Casualties Of War, a film he used as inspiration for a scene in Reservoir Dogs. Here are some excerpts from Longworth's notes:
Influences starting out: Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, Sergio Leone, Howard Hawks. Brian DePalma was like my rock star. I spent a year and a half going over theTV Guide looking for movies by Hawks. They played 80% of his sound films on LA TV.
They show the first scene from Reservoir Dogs.
3:12: [difference between Reservoir Dogs opening scene, credits, second scene, where Tim Roth is bleeding in the back of the car] You know they had breakfast, you know that something drastic has happened between the two. And now you’re just playing catch-up.
|Posted May 18 2008|
PHANTOM'S PHANTOM UPDATES
BLOGGER POSTS IDEAS FOR MODERN PARADISE
A blogger by the name of Obsidian Blackbird McKnight today posted his ideas for a modern update of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. It seems McKnight began working on a screenplay for the update a month ago, but quit when he found out that a remake was already being written (the original film's producer, Edward R. Pressman, has a remake in the works). Here are some highlights from McKnight's ideas:
-The Sha-Na-Na band is now a pop punk band called We Know Something You Don't. In my mind, they'd be played by three of my favorite SNL people-Jason Sudekis, Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg, being the trio that shows up throughout as different characters.
-Paul Swann is based on Simon Cowell... Besides Swann being based on Simon Cowell, several jabs at "American Idol" are taken, including parodies of William Hung and Sanjaya auditioning for Swann and a mention of Carrie Underwood being someone who's talented.
-Paul and Winslow are Brits living in the US. Why? Well, I have those Mighty Boosh guys in mind writing this. They had known each other from the Royal Academy of Music in London where Winslow was the golden boy and Paul nearly flunked out. Of course, as Winslow gets to Los Angeles, he finds out the roles are reversed.
-Winslow in this version...not a bitch. As in, he takes too much shit. In this version, he doesn't sign. (Again, backstory.) And he has more of a spine. He goes to Death Records to find out why Paul is famous and he finds out...which gets the side of his face torched...
-Phoenix is a cute gothic lolita.
For more of McKnight's ideas, visit his Live Journal blog
|Posted May 16 2008|
TWO NEW PROJECTS!
URDL & WEISS TO PRODUCE DE PALMA'S PRINT THE LEGEND & AN UNTITLED POLITICAL THRILLER
Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss, who produced Brian De Palma's Redacted through their Toronto-based Film Farm production company, have revealed at Cannes that they will produce two more films from De Palma. According to Screen Daily's Denis Seguin, the first project will be Print The Legend. By all description, this sounds like the script De Palma had submitted to Urdl and Weiss last year, when it was tentatively titled Shoot The Messenger. According to Seguin, Print The Legend is "a film that continues in the verite vein of Redacted, exploring the process of 'selling' the Iraq war to the US home-front. It follows a story similar to that of US female soldier Jessica Lynch, whose heroic battlefield exploits were later revealed to be concocted by the US military." The budget will be similar to that of Redacted, between $5 million and $10 million. The second project is described as an untitled political thriller with a $15 million-$20 million budget. Urdl and Weiss, who are in Cannes to present Atom Egoyan's Adoration (which premieres at the fest May 22nd), also announced that they will produce Egoyan's untitled next feature. According to Seguin, they had one other bit of exciting news...
Urdle and Weiss also revealed they have landed a privately-financed development fund, a luxury rarely seen in Canada. While the duo declined to name their benefactors, Urdl said it is a Canadian company with a long history in the film and entertainment business.
Said Urdl, "This will allow us to jump on projects and pay for them without going through the [public sector investment] application phase."
Added Weiss, "It gives us a lot of leeway we never had. And it's a tremendous endorsement from people who are interested in making their money back."
|Posted April 30 2008|
DIONYSUS' DAY IN THE SUN
SCHECHNER TO ATTEND SCREENING OF DE PALMA DOC
Brian De Palma's documentary capture of Richard Schechner's Dionysus In '69 (shot by De Palma along with Bruce Rubin and Robert Fiore, it was filmed in 1968 and released in 1970) will screen as part of New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center's retrospective, "1968: An International Perspective." Schechner, who went on to appear in the Dionysus-inspired climax of De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise in 1974, is himself expected to attend the screening of Dionysus at the Walter Reade Theater on Saturday May 10th. (Note that while the photo above is in color, the film itself is in black-and-white.)
The Film Society's series, which began yesterday and continues through May 14th, "highlights events like the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic convention protests in Chicago and the Prague spring revolt in the formerly Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia," according to Winter Miller at Variety. The eclectic slate of features, shorts, documentaries and newsreels includes rarely-seen works (including De Palma's film, which will be screened on DVD, although it is still not available on DVD in the U.S.) along with more well-known fare such as Jean-Luc Godard's La Chinoise, Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool (which famously mixes documentary and fiction), and Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. The program director is Richard Peña, who last year was in charge of the New York Film Festival, which screened De Palma's latest film, Redacted. Peña told Variety, "The events of 1968 continue to reverberate in our culture and politics, as the present presidential contest veers at times into a debate over the legacy of the ‘60s." Here is the description of Dionysus In '69 from the Film Society's web site:
Just as he was finishing up Greetings and about to embark on Hi, Mom!, Brian De Palma decided to film a sensational and controversial avant-garde theaterpiece that was the talk of New York: a version of Euripides’ Bacchae conceived and performed by the Performance Group under the direction of Richard Schechner. With its simulated sex and pointed political speeches, the production blurred the lines between performers and audience, opening up the scene space in provocative new ways. De Palma makes extensive use of split screen, creating “frames within frames” that add a new layer of theatricality to the spectacle; it also helps capture the sense of a work that was literally going on in every inch of the space. An important document of a fascinating period of New York (and American) theater, Dionysus in ‘69 is also an unjustly neglected piece of De Palma’s early career that includes several elements he would explore in greater depth in his later films.
|Posted April 24 2008|
THE FURY REIMAGINED
FOX 2000 TO REMAKE DE PALMA CLASSIC
According to Variety, Fox 2000 has set two hot up-and-coming screenwriters to work a "contemporary reimagining" of Brian De Palma's The Fury (De Palma's film was written by John Farris, from the latter's novel of the same name). According to the Variety article by Tatiana Siegel, the new screenwriters, Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, "penned the spec Of Every Wickedness, about America’s first known serial killer, which landed on the industry’s Black List of the hottest unproduced spec scripts and garnered the duo a lot of attention. They nabbed The Fury gig off of that script." No director has been mentioned yet, but I could see Bryan Singer doing it justice.
|Posted April 23 2008|
BUTLER ON CAPONE
STILL WORKING ON FINANCING, FINDING RIGHT CAPONE
Gerard Butler, who will play Jimmy Malone in Brian De Palma's upcoming prequel The Untouchables: Capone Rising, recently talked to the Chicago Sun-Times' Cindy Pearlman about the project. Butler told Pearlman, "It's a classic thriller-drama. Capone is written brilliantly, and it's all about the double-crossing and the heroism that comes out of a dirty cop. There is no absolute good or bad in any person in this movie." Butler also told Pearlman that "They're still working on the financing and finding the right Capone."
MILLER'S SPIRIT TEASER BORROWS UNTOUCHABLES THEME
|Posted April 17 2008|
IRAQ DOC TARGETS REDACTED
IN ATTEMPT TO MATCH BOX OFFICE OF DE PALMA FILM
Above is a trailer for a DVD (Outside The Wire) featuring three short documentaries shot by former Marine JD Johannes while he was embedded with troops in Iraq. According to Karina Longworth at Spout Blog, the "pro-victory, pro-troop" DVD is being promoted in opposition to documentaries such as Body Of War and The Ground Truth. But Longworth takes Johannes to task for targeting Brian De Palma's Redacted as the "Hollywood" film to beat when it comes to the sales goal for his DVD. Longworth writes:
But what is a little illogical to me is that Johannes has chosen Redacted as the target to beat. Redacted, a film widely panned by critics and pundits from all points on the political spectrum. Redacted, whose box office gross was potentially diluted by its day-and-date release on VOD and DVD. Redacted, instead of an actual documentary, such as Iraq in Fragments (also shot independently, by a cameraman/director, on the streets of Iraq) or Taxi to the Dark Side or The War Tapes (which, to my mind, is as honest a documentary about troops on the ground in Iraq as is conceivable, being that it was shot by the troops themselves), all of which grossed many times more than Redacted’s pitiful $65k domestic.
Johannes has given himself a deadline of May 7 2008 to sell 2,900 copies of his DVD (to beat the domestic box office gross of Redacted), and keeps a "Beat Hollywood!!!" graph on the front page of his site to keep track of how close he is to his goal (currently, 34% of the way to beating Redacted's gross). On his blog, Johannes explains his rationale:
My thesis is this: If it can be demonstrated that a pro-troop, pro-victory documentary can succeed in the market place by beating the domestic box office gross of an anti-war film like Redacted the money loving side of Hollywood will back a pro-troop movie.
If 2,900 documentaries sell , Hollywood's spin of "No one wants to see Iraq war movies" will be exposed and blame for the failure of movies like Redacted and Home of the Brave will be recognized: the public doesn't want to see anti-war, anti-troop crap.
Then we can test Allahpundit's theory :
"They keep making 'em even though we keep not watching 'em, which shows you how committed they are to the message and/or fearful of testing that "America's not ready yet" hypothesis with a pro-war flick."
So, what would you like to see happen on May 7th? Hollywood's 'America's not ready yet' spin confirmed or exposed?
Johannes writes that if he does not reach his goal by May 7th, he will go back to Iraq and make another series of documentaries.
|Posted April 9 2008|
DE PALMA TALKS SEX
AS PREMIERE SERIES LOOKS AT SEX ON FILM
Karl Rozemeyer interviewed Brian De Palma recently for Premiere.com's month-long "Sex on Film" series. De Palma falls under the heading, "THE DIRECTORS: THE OLD HAND". The "Sexessentials" are listed as: Blow Out, Obsession, Dressed to Kill, and Femme Fatale, although page one also features a picture of Melanie Griffith in Body Double. De Palma discusses that "so-called magic" that he looks for when casting his femme fatales, the magic being a combination of connection to the camera and emotional power. "We see it in Kim Novak in Vertigo, [Barabara] Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, Rita Hayworth in the right part and you just go: 'Wow!'" De Palma was a little thrown off when asked about his favorite sex scene:
Favorite sex scene in a movie? That's a good question. I think sex scenes are extremely difficult to do. I don't think I have ever really done a straightforward love scene. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious. Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo.
De Palma also mentions the scene between Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Rie Rasmussen in Femme Fatale as a standout sex scene from his own films. When Rozemeyer suggests that "there is no traditional romance in your movies," De Palma counters that "Obsession is very romantic." The series also includes an interview with Paul Verhoeven, "The Dirty Dutchman," among others.
ANGIE DICKINSON BONUS
|Posted March 27 2008|
SCHRADER ON MOVIE GEEKS
TRIBUTE LAST NIGHT, INTV SUNDAY
Movie Geeks United did a tribute show to Paul Schrader last night-- you can listen to the show at this link. The program featured interviews and discussions with several Schrader collaborators, including actors Thomas G. Waites, William Forsythe, Dana Delany and Jeff Goldblum. The Movie Geeks will top it off this Sunday night when Schrader himself pops in for an interview about his work. Schrader collaborated with Brian De Palma on 1976's Obsession before going on to write several films for Martin Scorsese (it was De Palma who suggested that Scorsese take a look at Schrader's script for Taxi Driver), and then directing his own films. Schrader began his career as a film critic, and wrote a rave review of De Palma's Sisters in 1973.
|Posted March 26 2008|
IRAQ STILL INTERESTS FILMMAKERS
GANG-RAPE & KRAKAUER'S HERO AMONG NEW PROJECTS
Filmmakers continue to show interest in stories surrounding the current war in Iraq. According to Michael Fleming at Variety, Patricia K. Meyer (writer and director of The List) will write a screenplay based on the life of Jamie Leigh Jones, the Houston, Texas woman who claims she was drugged, gang-raped, and then held prisoner by coworkers of Halliburton/KBR while working at a camp in the Baghdad Green Zone. Although the incident happened almost three years ago, Jones claims that the U.S. government is colluding with the company to cover up the incident, according to an ABC News report last December. The rights to Jones' life story have been acquired by Paul Pompian Prods. and Silver Hills Pictures.
Meanwhile, Variety's Fleming also reports that studios are "showing keen interest" in Jon Krakauer's upcoming book about Pat Tillman, the NFL star who quit to enlist in the army and fought in Afghanistan. After Tillman was killed in an ambush, the U.S. government turned him into a legend for its own patriotic propaganda. However, his family later discovered that the government covered up the true details of his death. Krakauer's Into The Wild was made into a phenomenal film by Sean Penn last year. The title of his Tillman book is The Hero, and will be published in October.
Brian De Palma's Redacted dealt with the real-life rape and murder of an Iraqi girl by U.S. troops. De Palma has been talking about some ideas for a potential new film about Iraq, with a key theme being the creation of false heroes by the U.S. propaganda machine. The Tillman story might actually be a good fit for De Palma, given his current concerns.
One other project of interest: The Long Road Home, a book by ABC News' Martha Raddatz that details an ambush of an Army platoon by insurgents in a Baghdad neighborhood in 2004. Eight soldiers were killed and more than 70 were wounded. Phoenix Pictures is developing a film based on that book. Fleming talked to Phoenix's Mike Medavoy about the timing of such projects while wars are still being fought:
As a studio exec, Medavoy has supervised war pics such as 1978's Coming Home, 1986's Platoon and 1979's Apocalypse Now. Medavoy said it is difficult to tell when enough time has passed to make a subject palatable to film audiences -- he passed on All the President's Men because he thought Watergate was too recently in the headlines -- but he is prepared for a long development road on The Long Road Home because he believes in the subject matter.
"Clearly, the time is not now," Medavoy said. "But you don't shy away from a great story, either. Read this book and see if you don't cry. You see the futility of the whole enterprise, but you are engaged on human and not geopolitical terms. My sense is it's better to be patient, get it right and make sure that enough time has elapsed so that people will be receptive."
|Posted March 24 2008|
SCHOLAR REVIEWS EYAL PERETZ BOOK
At Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, you can read a review of Eyal Peretz' recent De Palma study, Becoming Visionary: Brian De Palma’s Cinematic Education of the Senses, reviewed by Syracuse University's Gregg Lambert. Here is an excerpt from Lambert's review:
Following Nietzsche, the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze redefined the Platonic sense of education according to the more disciplinary sense of paidea, or a "violent retraining of the senses." When we consider the great cinematic pedagogues, Eisenstein comes to mind as one who considered the modern technological art of cinema as a disciplinary tool for retraining the senses in a larger curriculum of public education. By comparison, it is odd to think of a director like De Palma in this regard. However, Chapter One of Peretz's book chooses to frame the discussion of De Palma's cinema by focusing upon the opening shot of Carrie, which takes place in a schoolyard showing a group of high school girls playing volleyball during gym. The scene of education is already there in De Palma's meditation on the question of cinema, particularly physical education in which the body is organized and disciplined by being codified through a game of volleyball; although, De Palma will quickly oppose this coordinated image of the body to another image of the body that is determined by the horror of sexuality and is graphically represented by Carrie's bleeding and enigmatic wound. Peretz sees the game itself as an allegory of the cinematic image itself, or what Deleuze called the "movement image," in which the movement of bodies between states of motion and rest is codified by the convention of the horror genre.
Click here to read the entire review.
|Posted March 19 2008|
"If you've come to see Scarface or The Untouchables, you're going to be sorely disappointed...
Brian De Palma introduces Redacted at Guadalajara March 9 2008
However, if you happened to see Casualties Of War, you would have some idea about what this picture is about. This is a serious picture about a very serious subject. I had the opportunity to make this movie because a small company offered me five million dollars to make a movie about anything I wanted. I chose a subject, our involvement in Iraq, a subject that no one in America wants to see. We are fighting a terrible war, and I hope it will be brought to an end quickly. And this picture deals with a group of soldiers who are driven crazy by this war. And I hope it brings some kind of understanding in the madness in which they are living in. It is a difficult picture, and some people say an unwatchable picture. So fasten your seatbelts—you’re in for a funky ride."
|Posted March 14 2008|
DE PALMA IN MEXICO
AND REDACTED IN BRITAIN, ITALY
Brian De Palma presented his latest film, Redacted, at the 23rd Guadalajara International Film Festival this past Sunday (March 9) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The director was accompanied by the film's producers, Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss. The following day at the festival, De Palma was a guest on the panel Visionary Campus Guadalajara, where one of the main topics revolved around the interplay between fiction and documentary.
DE PALMA DISCUSSES MEXICAN CULTURE, CRITICIZES HOLLYWOOD
REDACTED OPENS IN BRITAIN
But, when I ask him if he thinks the US government habitually manipulate news of its foreign policy adventures, De Palma, picking up on my English accent, snaps: "Well, you Brits were with us all the way! What was going on in your country?" "Well," I say mildly, "I marched against the war. Tony Blair's popularity took a nosedive. And…" "But the press were co-opted!" he interrupts with a roar. "How did we do that? We made them rich! They didn't want to lose their talk shows!"
Later, after this astonishing non sequitur, I eavesdrop as a Norwegian reporter makes a perfectly sensible observation to De Palma: "People say the Vietnam war was lost because of the pictures, the media coverage…" "The Bush administration could use you!" De Palma yells, wrongly anticipating the point of the question. "So do you think we should keep the media away from what [the US military] is doing? You obviously don't want them covering the war!"
DE PALMA: CRITICS MISUNDERSTOOD THE FORM OF REDACTED
Redacted seems like the beginning of a new De Palma period, if not of a new De Palma. I mention the astonishment felt by Venice festival-goers when they saw The Black Dahlia one year - which seemed the exhausted last gasp of De Palma's exploration of the classic Hollywood thriller - and Redacted the next, which might have come from a different director or one unrecognisably rejuvenated.
"What amazed me in many of the reviews," he says, "was that they completely misunderstood the form of Redacted. If it doesn't fit into a genre they're familiar with, they reject it out of hand as 'amateurish' or 'slipshod'. They bring all kinds of critical preconceptions that completely miss the point."
No, no, I protest (thinking De Palma has missed the point himself). I mean, people thought this was a good departure. Instead of De Palma movies in which the aesthetic determines or directs the content, here was one in which the content - the human content - seems to have burst through the form. But an unrecanting formalist won't have even this. "What fascinated me was that here was a new set of styles that provided a new way of telling a story I'd told before [in Casualties of War ]. I also tried to make you aware, as a viewer, that the images you're seeing and the way they're constructed can be presented to create any point of view. You think this is real because of the form it's in, and of course it's all fictionalised. So maybe you should think twice when watching a report by an embedded journalist who's running around convincing you everything is real, authentic and spontaneous."
DE PALMA WAS SURPRISED NOBODY WANTED TO SEE FILMS ABOUT IRAQ
Have there been fewer pictures from this war than previous wars? "Oh, of course. Of course." How come, when everyone is out there making their own home movies? "They never make their way into the mainstream media because the mainstream media is a big corporation now, and they've got stockholders, and they don't like to put unpleasant pictures up on the air because you can't sell advertising and you're showing a depressing view of the war." In Vietnam, he says, at least sufficient images found their way home to enable people to make an informed decision on the war. But that was the lesson the US government learned from Vietnam - if you're going to fight an unpopular war, make sure photographs of scorched girls running for their lives don't reach the public.
Did he anticipate such hostility to the film? "I knew if I was critical of the soldiers I would get a very strong reaction, because the way the soldiers have been portrayed in the mainstream media has always been as valiant warriors making the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and liberty of America." He talks about his other controversial movies - Dressed To Kill, the erotic thriller Body Double and the über-violent Scarface for starters - and says he's used to the pickets and incendiary headlines. Then he stops. Actually, he says, they weren't quite the same. "What I didn't think is that nobody would want to see Redacted. Even the good reviews said, 'Well, this is very difficult to watch.' So that was surprising - that they just don't want to see any movies about Iraq."
He says the mistake that his detractors make is to see this film as simply an attack on the US military. It's an easy mistake to make - their behaviour is unforgivable. Yes, says, De Palma, but that's not the point. "When you have a terrible crime, you want to know how these boys were brought to do this, and that's what the movie shows."
DE PALMA PROTESTS CRITICISMS THAT HIS SOLDIER CHARACTERS LACK HUMANITY
Q: Some of the soldiers are very negative characters, with not much humanity in them, don’t you think?
A: I protest! I protest! If you do read about it, we’re recruiting people that are sub-standard, because we can’t get anybody to join the army. So they’re taking people they would not normally take. People with emotional problems, people that have criminal records. Who would want to go to Iraq now? Who wants to sign up for this tour, unless you’re extremely desperate and they offer you a lot of money? So we’re getting the bottom of the gumbo barrel. And, yeah, nobody really starts to change. You try to show these circumstances that makes these soldiers become the unpleasant characters they emerge as: the endless repetition, the hostile environment, you can’t trust anybody. Then one of your buddies gets blown up next to you. It’s all there. It’s the same thing in Casualties of War. They had a beloved Sarge, who was trying to help the kids out and they’re set up for an ambush. That’s when the Sean Penn character just goes south. He’s like the most responsible guy, had been there longest, then suddenly he just gets this look – ‘I hate all these people and I’m going to get my pound of flesh.’ That’s what happens to Flake. The other guys are trying to hold onto some sense of morality.
Forsythe later asks De Palma about the film's relationship to truth. De Palma replies:
What I’m trying to do is to make the viewer aware of the techniques that are used to present supposedly the truth to them. They sit there and watch their television screens, and see these embedded reporters and infomercials from Iraq, and how well things are going in Iraq, and they think that’s the truth. In anything on television, somebody is selling something – whether it’s a product, whether it’s a policy. You look on television, this is a commercial medium and everything is for sale. Once you understand that, then you can understand the medium a little better. The web is not so corrupted because there is not that much money involved. Believe me, when the money gets in there, it will probably go the way of television. We’re living in an era where everybody is performing all the time, and posting their performances on the web. Plus there’s reality television, where you’re supposed to believe all this stuff is real, and of course it’s made up.
At the end of the article, Forsythe asks De Palma if the scorpion sequence was a nod to Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. De Palma replies:
I had to find boring activities. The fact is there are a lot of big insects over there and there are a lot of ants. So, yes, it goes back to The Wild Bunch. But we had other insects – a camel spider and a centipede that were overtaken by the ants. Unfortunately, the downside of digital, unlike film, is that it can be erased and be gone forever. And the first shot of the ants overtaking the camel spider was erased. So I had to send Eric out to shoot it again, but it was so cold that the ants were lethargic and the centipede was sleeping…so we had to settle on the scorpion. It was a whole day of prodding insects!"
NO THEATRICAL RELEASE FOR ITALY
|Posted March 10 2008|
BUCK TALKS SISTERS
AS REMAKE GETS U.S. DVD RELEASE
Doug Buck's remake of Brian De Palma's Sisters is finally released Tuesday (March 11) in the U.S., although it does not have the cover image pictured at left. On the U.S. DVD cover, Stephen Rea is pictured in between larger images of Chloe Sevigny and Lou Doillon. Fangoria interviewed Buck and Sevigny on the set of the film a couple of years ago, and has published the interviews in the most recent issue of the magazine (#271, on stands now). In the article, Buck mentions that he had become friends with Gaspar Noé, the infamous French director who has mentioned the influence of De Palma in interviews. According to Buck, Noé had been in talks with Edward Pressman about possibly directing the Sisters remake. Buck eventually pursued the project himself, and Pressman asked him if he saw the remake as more Hitchcock or Polanski (De Palma's original film is inspired by both filmmakers). When Buck replied that his vision was more "Polanski," Pressman told him he liked that idea, and gave him the job. Although Roger Avary had written a draft of a screenplay, Buck decided he wanted to start fresh with his professor and frequent writing partner John Freitas, and so the two wrote a new screenplay. Sevigny tells Fangoria that when she watched Doug Buck's short films, they haunted her to the point where she really wanted to make a horror film with someone who can bring that intensity to the screen. The remake credits read: "Based upon a screenplay by Brian De Palma and Louisa Rose, from an original story by Brian De Palma."
|Posted March 7 2008|
LAGIER UPDATES BOOK
LES MILLE YEUX DE BRIAN DE PALMA
Five years ago, Dark Star published a beautiful book by Luc Lagier titled Les Mille Yeux de Brian De Palma, which translates into "The Thousand Eyes of Brian De Palma." The oversized book opened with an interview with De Palma about his work in the 1960s, and then followed with Lagier's analyses of most of De Palma's key works. The book was generously illustrated with anamorphic captures from De Palma's films, as well as those of films that influenced De Palma. Now, Cahiers du cinéma has published an updated version of Lagier's book. The cover for the new edition is a picture of De Palma in front of an American flag that was taken around the time of Carlito's Way (the Dark Star edition featured an eye-popping cover of images from De Palma's films in a grid of little boxes that visually suggested shifting perspectives). An ad for the book in the latest issue of Cahiers features the tagline: "It's the story of a man who saw Hollywood in color and America in black." Romain Desbiens has reviewed the new edition over at Virtuoso of the 7th Art, and says that the new format makes the book a more comfortable read. According to Desbiens, Lagier has taken the opportunity to expand some of his analyses of the films, while also shortening at least one section considered too long in the prior edition. Lagier has also added sections on The Black Dahlia and Redacted, the two films De Palma has released since the book's first edition. Les Mille Yeux de Brian De Palma can be ordered through Amazon.fr
|Posted February 28 2008|
REDACTED IN FRANCE
DE PALMA TALKS BUSH & IDEAS FOR 2nd IRAQ FILM
Brian De Palma’s Redacted was released in France last week, and Romain Desbiens at Virtuoso Of The 7th Art has some photos of the ads that are currently all over the streets of Paris. According to Variety, the film has been well-received in France, where it was acclaimed “a tour de force” by Les Inrockuptibles (and by clicking on that link, you can watch a video interview with De Palma from last September’s Deauville fest). Philippe Azoury at Libération calls it a film “of an infinite theoretical power,” while Le Monde’s Jean-François Rauger is enthused by the film’s experimental play with images, stating that the film “brilliantly” shows the spectator that they are a prisoner of their own reflexes.
MORE THAN JUST IMAGES COMPILED FROM INTERNET
MORE DETAILS ABOUT POTENTIAL 2ND IRAQ FILM
De Palma also told Belpeche that as a citizen paying the taxes that financed the conflict in Iraq, he seeks a way to get at the truth of what is happening there. Saying that American citizens have been manipulated by lies, De Palma said that “to intervene in Iraq was a mistake. It has caused chaos. I don’t want any more Bush at the White House.” When asked how he would vote in the upcoming presidential election, De Palma replied, “For a Democrat, of course. We will come out of this quagmire.” De Palma said he did not have a favorite candidate yet, but would choose one somewhere down the road. When the discussion turned to the low turnout of the recent wave of Iraq films in American cinemas, De Palma said, “Are you surprised? They prefer to forget and go see Transformers! Redacted will be better received in Europe, but I’m preaching to the converted. (Laughter.) In the United States, they accuse me of not being a patriot.” When Belpeche mentioned that Oliver Stone is making a film about George W. Bush, De Palma replied, “A caustic portrait. It’s about time that someone is interested in the most dangerous man in the world.”
WHAT ARE WE DOING THERE?
But the first question you ask when you’re talking about a war like this one is always the same: what are we doing there? [spoken very slowly] It’s a question I asked myself when I was being drafted to go up to Viet Nam. It’s the same question I ask about Iraq: what are we doing there? [spoken even more slowly]
When Burdeau then asked De Palma what his answer is, De Palma replied:
There are many complicated answers, but of course, none of them make any sense. You know… You can read all the books you want, listen to learned professors give you all kinds of reasons to explain our being over there. But at the end of the day, there’s absolutely no reason that could explain our being there. It’s only the failure of an absurd policy. As happens all too frequently, the ball starts rolling and you can’t keep it from going down the hill.
YOU’RE AWARE IT’S ALL MADE UP BUT YOU’LL BELIEVE IT ANYWAY
That’s absurd. I mean… That’s absurd. Have the people who say that taken a single glance at the videos soldiers post online? All the soldiers have cameras, they shoot diaries. The fact that some journalists think the actors are overacting only proves one thing: they have no experience with the documents that inspired the film. The soldiers clown around, they make faces. It’s all out there! It just takes a single click to access these images! I didn’t make up a single thing! I simply tried to equal what I found!
AN EXTREMELY GOOD IDEA
DE PALMA ON “TORTURE PORN” THRILLERS
Nelson: But maybe that’s the only means by which we can process these agonizing feelings. Screen violence has gone to unprecedented new extremes at a time when we seem more squeamish than ever about actual violence.
De Palma: Yes, you’re quite right about that. But in terms of these torture porn films, you look at them and you think, “Who the hell wants to watch people being tortured?”
Nelson: Anyone who wants to deal with repressed feelings about the war, perhaps?
De Palma: I don’t know the answer to that yet. When you see behavior that is so repugnant to you, it’s hard to understand. I mean, I make movies about people who do unspeakable things to each other, and the reason is that I’m trying to make the audience understand what got those people to that place. These torture movies are just pure sadomasochism. Normally, if you want to make a movie, you’ve got to find the subject within yourself in order to put it on the screen, in order for somebody in the audience to understand it. You have to have some affinity for what you’re dramatizing. But Hostel is something I don’t quite understand.
|Posted February 19 2008|
AND SOME DVD RELEASES TODAY
Brian De Palma's latest film Redacted is released on DVD today in North America. Also released on DVD today is American Gangster, a film that De Palma considered directing back in 2003, when it was still called Tru Blu. Ridley Scott picked up the project years later, and now Universal has included it in a box set, also released today, called Gangsters - The Ultimate Film Collection, which is a fancy way of saying the four best gangster movies that the studio happens to own the rights to. In any case, two of the four films included in the set were directed by De Palma: Scarface and Carlito's Way. The fourth movie is Martin Scorsese's Casino. The set includes bonus discs for each film with the same extras as the most recent single-movie releases. Not a bad deal if you don't own any of these discs yet.
DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE IN BARCELONA
|Posted February 11 2008|
REDACTED AT DUBLIN
FILM FEST RUNS FEB. 15-24
We already knew that Brian De Palma's Redacted would be at the Glasgow Film Festival this month (that fest runs February 14-24), but now we have learned that the film will also screen at this year's Dublin International Film Festival, which runs February 15-24. De Palma, who attended the premiere of Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light at the Berlin International Film Festival last week, appears to be fest-hopping this month, and may show up at Glasgow and Dublin.
|Posted February 7 2008|
ROMAIN INTERVIEWS DE PALMA
IN PARIS THIS PAST WEEKEND
Romain Desbiens interviewed Brian De Palma in Paris this past weekend about his latest film, Redacted. In the interview, De Palma also briefly discussed the recent films that have been made about Howard Hughes, and the current projects he has in the works. You can read the interview now at Romain's site, Virtuoso of the 7th Art. By the way, Redacted will open in France on February 20th, in Russia on February 21st, in Belgium on February 27th, and in the U.K. on March 21st.
|Posted February 6 2008|
REDACTED IN CAHIERS
AND DE PALMA EXPECTED AT SCORSESE PREMIERE IN BERLIN
Brian De Palma's Redacted is the "Event of the Month" in the February 2008 edition of Cahiers du cinéma (thanks to Jon Rubin at the 24liesasecond forum for the heads up). The print edition features an interview with De Palma, and several critical articles about the film. Right now online you can read a critique by Stéphane Delorme (a piercing analysis titled "Farce Attack"), which states that Redacted is a "heavy blow," and that its principal weapon is the joke. Delorme writes, "Impossible not to think of the formula of Marx: the history is repeated, the first time in tragedy, the second in joke. For De Palma, Iraq is the bad remake of Vietnam even more than that of the war of the Gulf." Delorme suggests that the joke suppresses the film's pathos like a dam up to the end, the dam finally breaking under the sound of Puccini's Tosca and becoming a heavy blow that is like "Hi, Mom! multiplied by Blow Out." Regarding Redacted's final image, Delorme concludes that "De Palma had missed it with the corpse cut into two by the Black Dahlia, he remakes it with an almost identical one, and here it 'succeeds'. It is an image redacted, re-examined and not corrected. A true image."
Also in the online edition, you can read a critique by Emmanuel Burdeau, who posits that with Redacted, De Palma has finally found "images zero," pure images which, as "made by anybody and everyone, seen by anybody and everyone," strike like lightning. For Burdeau, the film marks a change in cinema: "Its pact, from now on, is that of a documentary restitution; fiction undoubtedly, but not lie." Also in the online edition is the lead-off editorial by Jean-Michel Frodon, who states that the reason Redacted is their "Event of the Month" is because it calls into question the nature of images today.
DE PALMA TO ATTEND BERLIN, MAYBE GLASGOW
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