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a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags


The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

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Kubrick on the

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema


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Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
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Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

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This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
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The former
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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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brian De Palma was a surprise guest Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival's Talent Lab, which took place September 9-12. According to Catbird Productions' Twitter page, De Palma, actress Tilda Swinton, and director Scott Hicks all showed up on the last day of the lab, which offers development opportunities to up-and-coming Canadian filmmakers. De Palma has participated in the event a number of times over the years.

According to the Globe And Mail's Johanna Schneller, De Palma liked Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank (pictured above), which won the Jury Prize at Cannes earlier this year. The film stars Katie Jarvis, who had never acted before this, as a foul-mouthed 15-year-old who dances with headphones on and has a crush on her mom's boyfriend. The newcomer is said to have been approached by the casting director on a railway station platform. The trailer can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, the Globe And Mail's Rick Groen reports that Gaspar Noé was excited to hear that De Palma was at the Toronto press screening for his latest film, Enter The Void, which features, we hear, the most extreme use of subjective point-of-view camerawork possible, moving from death to womb. Noé and De Palma shared an interesting link in 2002, when each of the films they released that year (Noé's Irreversible, De Palma's Femme Fatale), which were both made in France, featured Jo Prestia as a menacing rapist (although in De Palma's film, Prestia's character is no less than a tool used by the femme fatale to provoke Antonio Banderas' Nicolas into a rage). Here is what Groen posted on Saturday:

"Did you see Brian De Palma in the audience for my film?" The question bubbles up in a boyishly excited rush, which both charms and surprises me. That's because the questioner is French director Gaspar Noé, the last guy you'd expect to give a tinker's damn about the audience or anybody in it. His approach to filmmaking, in Irreversible and now again in Enter the Void, is, well, combative, assaulting us with triple-barrelled bursts of brutal imagery and fractured time-frames and kaleidoscopic effects. All sighted through his talented eye, the result is riveting to some and revolting to others. People get mesmerized by his movies, people walk out of his movies, and Noé has always seemed delighted with either reaction. Clearly, though, this is an exception: He wants Brian De Palma to have been there, and he really wants Brian De Palma to have stayed.

So Noé continues in the same bubbly rush: "Someone told me he was in the audience yesterday. At the press and industry screening. So I rushed over and looked at the seats but I couldn't see him." A pause, then he repeats: "Did you see Brian De Palma in the audience for my film?"

Okay, I was there, the theatre was maybe half-filled, and, since poor Noé seems on the cusp of imploring, I'd love to give him the right answer. But. "Um, sorry, I did not see Brian De Palma in the audience. But I was looking up, not around, and I've heard that De Palma, even when he doesn't have a film at the fest, has a history of coming to Toronto anyway just to watch lots of movies, so, you know, maybe he was there."

Noé, who spent several years raising the money for Enter the Void and two more years shooting and editing it and who doesn't yet have a North American distributor for his prodigious labour of love, tries to take heart from that "maybe." And who can blame him?

The Film Farm, which announced yesterday that De Palma's Tabloid is currently on the company's production slate, produced Atom Egoyan's Chloe, which had its premiere in Toronto Sunday. The film is a "reinvention" of Anne Fontaine' Nathalie..., with an all new screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, Fur), that is said to have more Hitchcockian overtones than the original film. Amanda Seyfried, who also stars in Jennifer's Body, is said to give a breakout performance in Chloe. She and De Palma were spotted by The Star's Rob & Rita at a Toronto party the other day.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Stephen Rea spotted De Palma "walking from one screening to another, and then later out in Yorkville, sitting on a rock in a pocket park in his trademark safari jacket, adjusting his iPod." Rea added that "De Palma is one of the fest's annual fixtures." The opening of Rea's post offers an interesting contrast of viewpoints:

Never mind health care, here's the real difference between the United States and Canada: Driving into the country from the States side of Niagara Falls, you pull up to the customs officer's booth; he asks you the purpose of your visit, and when you say you're covering the Toronto Film Festival, his next question is, "What's your favorite movie?" And then he tells you his (Raiders of the Lost Ark), and then he wants to know what's up with James Cameron's Avatar because he'd heard that it's going to revolutionize the moviegoing experience.

And then: What are you looking forward to seeing in Toronto? Are there going to be a lot of stars?

Somehow I can't picture the Homeland Security dude on my return through New York asking me if the new Pedro Almodóvar is as good as All About My Mother.

And finally, Bill Chambers of Film Freak Central tweeted yesterday, "I think I just pissed off Brian DePalma." After someone asked him for more details, Chambers wrote, "It might be too abstract to sum up in a tweet. I should add that my DePalma encounters are always fantastically unpleasant."

Posted by Geoff at 6:11 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:20 PM CDT
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Monday, September 14, 2009
A quick post, since I only have a minute-- but here is exciting news via Screen Daily's Denis Seguin, who posted an article today from Toronto about the production slate of Film Farm, the company that produced Brian De Palma's Redacted:

Also on Film Farm’s production slate is Brian De Palma’s Tabloid, a political thriller inspired by political and personal imbroglios of Democratic presidential nominee John Edwards – with a serial killer thrown in. Weiss described the project as exploring De Palma’s core themes: politics, sex and murder.

This is undoubtedly the formerly untitled political thriller mentioned by Film Farm at Cannes last year (2008). When I asked De Palma what that film was about, he replied, "Sex and Lies on the Champaign Trail."

Posted by Geoff at 6:18 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:47 AM CDT
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Jennifer's Body, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last night. According to the Los Angeles Times' Mark Olsen, Kusama introduced the film, and named Carrie, Heathers, and A Nightmare On Elm Street as inspirations. She added that Jennifer's Body is intended as a tribute to the "powers of estrogen," according to Olsen. Cody herself counts Suspiria and Carrie as two of her favorite horror films, according to Canwest's Katherine Monk. A blogger who goes by the name tchadmag enjoyed the film, and feels that the fact that it was made by women sets it apart from Carrie and Heathers:

I think Jennifer’s Body is actually an original, funny, and smart horror film, and what it demonstrates most clearly to me is the difference between someone writing a horror film because they genuinely love the genre and its potential or someone writing a horror film because they’re “hot.” In her introductory comments, director Karyn Kusama invoked such films as Carrie and Heathers, and certainly she’s made a movie that exists on a continuum with those films, but with one profound difference, one that is part of what makes Jennifer’s Body so interesting. Those films were made by guys about teenage girls. This is a movie by women, both writing and directing, and anyone who wants to argue that Dan Waters has a better grasp on teenage girls than Cody does, or that Brian De Palma understands the psychology of high school girls better than Kusama… well, I ain’t buying it. There is something to be said about writing to your own experience, and one of the reasons I consider Jennifer’s Body to be a better-than-average example of the genre is because so much care has been paid to making these kids feel authentic.

However, Screen Daily's Tim Grierson feels that Kusama's indifference to the genre led to unsure filmmaking:

Despite its selling points, however, Jennifer’s Body can’t help but feel unsatisfying. Part of the problem comes from the filmmakers’ noticeable superiority to the genre they’re working in. Jennifer’s murderous acts lack tension and are shot rather perfunctorily, as if Kusama is contemptuous of horror movie conventions but is unsure how best to parody them.

John Kenneth Muir continues his weekly look at De Palma's cinema with an essay posted today about Carrie. Meanwhile, inspired by the De Palma Blog-A-Thon at Cinema Viewfinder, Jordan Ruimy at Suspicious Kind named his three favorite De Palma films: Blow Out, Carrie, and Carlito's Way. Of Carrie, Ruimy writes, "There's an abandon in the filmmaking that I don't think De Palma ever achieved again- a fearless, joyous abandon that makes you realize how talented the man truly is."

Posted by Geoff at 11:40 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 10, 2009
Looks like Brian De Palma is attending his favorite film festival again this year in Toronto. This photo of the director was taken in Yorkville, and posted today at The Hollywood Minute. Meanwhile, Johanna Schneller at the Globe And Mail, looks at the reasons various people have for attending the Toronto International Film Festival. For her own self, she writes that she is looking for the type of chance encounter she had at last year's fest when she met De Palma:

And for me? I'm looking, as always, for moments of truth. I'm hoping for a chance encounter that gives me goosebumps, as happened in my final TIFF screening last year, where the gracious man I chatted with turned out to be Brian De Palma. I'm hoping for that rare unguarded flash when an actor says something personal enough to reveal something universal - like the time Dustin Hoffman said of his children leaving home for university, "Nobody tells you about the empty bedrooms," and his eyes filled with tears. (I can't tell you how many people I've mentioned that to when their kids fly off, and it's utterly true.)

I'm hoping for a film that makes my hair stand on end, and for a collection of them that shows us where we are as humans. So far, the ones I've seen are suffused with a sense of loneliness, of people fighting very hard simply to get by. Maybe it's just my state of mind (and credit-card bills).

Posted by Geoff at 6:12 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 10, 2009 6:13 PM CDT
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So many blogs, so little time! Cinema Viewfinder's De Palma Blog-A-Thon is going strong-- it opened with a great look back at The Untouchables from Ratnakar Sadasyula, followed by pieces on Raising Cain (by Kevin J. Olson) and Mission To Mars (by Chris Voss). Now, Glenn Kenny has posted an intriguing piece linking Hi, Mom! to Body Double. My own post will be coming later this week(-end)-- but wait, there's more! At Icebox Movies, Adam Zanzie has posted an essay in which he declares (rightfully so) that Murder a la Mod is "where it all began" for De Palma's thematic and stylistic obsessions. Meanwhile, John Kenneth Muir has been continuing his weekly look at De Palma's cinema. Two weeks ago, he posted an essay about Carlito's Way, and followed that up last week with a look at Mission: Impossible. Lots of reading to do!

Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 11, 2009 7:41 PM CDT
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Monday, September 7, 2009
Romain at The Virtuoso of the 7th Art has posted a poll: vote for your favorite Brian De Palma film, now through October 7th. So far, Phantom Of The Paradise is in the lead with 31% of the votes. This poll may turn out to be somewhat surprising-- so far, The Black Dahlia has one vote, while Blow Out has zero. Also keep an eye out at Cinema Viewfinder for the De Palma Blog-A-Thon that begins today.

Posted by Geoff at 2:44 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 7, 2009 2:48 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 6, 2009
According to this Associated Press article from Canada's CBC, Steven Green told the judge at his trial in Kentucky that he was merely following orders from other soldiers when the group of them, disguised as insugents, attacked a family at their rural home outside Mahmoudiya, Iraq, in 2006. When asked how he felt about the others being out of prison one day, Green said that would be "all right" with him. "They planned it," said Green. "All I ever did was what they told me to do." Here is an excerpt from the article:

"You can act like I'm a sociopath. You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever," Green said. "If I had not joined the army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."

At a hearing in May, Green repeatedly apologized to the al-Janabi family, saying he knew little about Iraqis and that he realizes now his actions then were wrong.

Green described the attacks as "evil" and said when he dies "there will be justice and whatever I deserve, I'll get."

During Green's trial, defence attorneys never contested Green's role in the attacks. Instead, they focused on saving his life by bringing forward witnesses who testified that the U.S. military failed Green on multiple fronts — by allowing a troubled teen into the service, not recognizing and helping a soldier struggling emotionally and providing inadequate leadership.

During the sentencing hearing, defence attorney Patrick Bouldin said Green tried to take responsibility for his role in the attacks, twice offering to plead guilty and serve life in prison.

Assistant US attorney Marisa Ford said one offer came on the eve of jury selection, the other two weeks into jury selection.

Posted by Geoff at 12:18 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 5, 2009
BBC News reports that Steven Green has been given five life sentences, with no possibility of parole, for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, and the murder of her family. The incident was the basis for Brian De Palma's 2007 film, Redacted.

Nick Lacey posted an excerpt the other day from his recently published second edition of Image and Representation, which looks at key concepts in media language. The excerpt he posted, called "Representing the war in Iraq," looks at several of the films made in recent years about the conflict that began in 2003. Lacey provides a brief but interesting analysis of Redacted, although he seems to say that the photograph that ends the film is an actual photograph (which therefore leads him to call the film "exploitative"), although the final photograph (shown here) was actually a staged photo. Here is Lacy's passage about Redacted:

Redacted, the most unconventional of the ‘Iraq films’, also uses new media technologies to represent the rape of a 15-year-old girl and the murder of herself, and her family, by US marines. The film starts with a disclaimer that the film is ‘a fiction inspired by true events’. The writer-director, Brian De Palma, uses a mix of texts to show what (might have) happened: a ‘home video’ made by one of the marines; a pastiche of a French (intellectual) documentary about Iraq; CCTV cameras; Internet postings; a video made on a mobile phone; photojournalism. Although it may seem that it is a realist text, the multimedia mixing instead draws attention to the artifice of what is shown. This may suggest that such horrendous events cannot be convincingly rendered by realism. Indeed De Palma also deploys melodrama; the one good guy, who tries to publicise what’s happened, is called Lawyer McCoy. This melodrama extends to the use of an aria from Puccini’s opera Tosca, the protagonist of which murders the man who is trying to rape her. This, highly passionate, aria could be seen as an ironic comment upon the Iraqi teenager’s inability to kill her rapists. However, the last image of the film is an actual photograph of the dead girl which needs no melodramatic heightening to appall its audience and so, ultimately, De Palma’s film comes across as exploitative.

Posted by Geoff at 12:14 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 5, 2009 3:58 PM CDT
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Tom Sutpen has been posting a "Frames Within The Frames" series about once a month at his blog, If Charlie Parker Was A Gunslinger, There'd Be A Whole Lot Of Dead Copycats. This month's edition is dedicated to the films of Brian De Palma, and features some amazing shots from the director's films, including the above image from Blow Out.

Posted by Geoff at 12:33 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Michael Phillips, the new co-host (with A.O. Scott) of At The Movies, posted on his Chicago Tribune blog a couple of weeks ago about going to see Carrie in 1976:

Best scream therapy? Seeing Jaws in the summer of 1975 and Carrie in the fall of 1976, when my high school-addled hormones were screaming every second of every day to begin with. Late show, Capitol Theatre, West Racine, Wis.: Some friends and I are on the sidewalk, in line for Carrie. The 7:30 show’s about to break when, from inside the theater, we hear this freakish roar, hundreds of people shrieking in terror and then laughing at their own screaming, and then the doors open and everybody comes out and some of them are still screaming, because the ending of Carrie—the gravesite visit finale, with the little flute melody playing on the soundtrack as Amy Irving leans down with the flowers—is the “gotcha!” ending to beat, still.

Well. By the time we got into the 9:30 show and began watching Brian De Palma’s maliciously manipulative classic (I love it still) we’d forgotten all about whatever was coming at the end. Until the end came. And the screams were louder than they were the summer before, when Jaws played for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Steve Wiener also commented on Phillips blog, saying, "I saw Carrie first run in a large Hollywood theater and vividly remember lifting up out of my seat simultaneously with hundreds of others besides and in front of me at the finale."

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2009 12:05 AM CDT
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