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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

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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

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Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

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Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
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The former
De Palma a la Mod

Entries by Topic
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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Ambrose Chapel
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Genius of Love
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Hi, Mom!
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Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The latest news of the (said to be) new and improved version of the Carrie musical on Broadway comes from '60s pop icon Lesley Gore of all people. No, she's not appearing in the show (at least, not as it stands now), but her brother, Michael Gore, composed the songs for the 1988 stage version of Carrie, and has now reteamed with his original collaborators (lyricist Dean Pitchford, and librettist Lawrence D. Cohen) to revamp the whole thing. Last November an all-star cast was assembled for an industry reading of the revival. Now, Leslie Gore tells Broadway World's Pat Cerasaro that her brother Michael and Pitchford have rewritten the entire second act and are "heading in for, I think, another reading and then I think they are then going to go into production."

Meanwhile, while getting ready to post an essay about De Palma's film version of Carrie, Wonders In The Dark's Troy became obsessed with the screenshots of Sissy Spacek he was looking through, and decided to forgo the essay in favor of "copious" shots of Spacek in the film. Troy writes that, while looking throught the shots, it became apparent that Carrie White could "only be played by one person, Sissy Spacek. Her face and mannerisms allow her to be the perfect sympathetic monster — beautiful, innocent, fragile, and pitiful, yet still managing to be chillingly believable as she exacts an inferno of bloody terror on her tormentors."

Posted by Geoff at 3:00 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Toronto International Film Festival winds down this weekend, and Brian De Palma was spotted as recently as yesterday, when Guardian critic David Cox tweeted that De Palma was sitting behind him at a screening for Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. Regarding De Palma, Cox tweeted, "Don't think there's time to get him to explain FEMME FATALE." Regarding the film, which is said to have stunning visuals, Cox tweeted that it "was a flamboyant way to bring my festival to a close. It even had fire turtles." On Monday (September 13th), Empire Movies' Liam Cullin tweeted that he saw De Palma waiting in line for a screening of Steven Silver's gonzo journalist film The Bang Bang Club, which Screen Daily's Mark Adams was quite impressed by. Based on true events, The Bang Bang Club follows "a band of freewheeling, hard-partying, daredevil photographers in South Africa of 1994, in the turbulent moments of the final days of apartheid" according to Adams. "The sequences of them photographing the violence around them," writes Adams, "a violence the[y] start to become immune to – is wonderfully staged, and a scene of Ryan stumbling onto a brutal photograph of a killing that will win him a Pulitzer Prize is quite memorable. So too a similar (though very different) scene where Carter travels to the Sudan and take a photo of a starving girl stalked by a menacing vulture, which will eventually win a Pulitzer for him as well."

Meanwhile, De Palma' name keeps popping up in reviews of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. Empire critic Damon Wide on Monday blogged, after seeing Black Swan in Toronto, that "At the moment, the film, for me, is still too fresh to filter, but I suspect that once it has settled, and I've stopped wondering why it reminded me of films as diverse as Brian De Palma's Sisters, P&P's Black Narcissus and John Cassavetes' Opening Night, it will reveal itself as a film of great power and longevity." Jorge Mourinha calls Aronofsy's film a "smart shocker of the sort Brian de Palma knew how to do so well in his prime, with a strong lead and confident handling making the slightly overwrought plot work." Writing from the Venice fest early this month, TIME's Richard Corliss also mentioned De Palma in his Black Swan review:

I've also heard from folks at Venice who think Black Swan is a junky horror show and [Natalie] Portman way too strident. Me, I'm of two minds about a movie that wants to be a nail-ripping thriller and a statement on an artist's unholy communion with her role. It's reminiscent of older, better movies: the late-'40s backstage dramas A Double Life (Ronald Colman plays Othello, becomes fatally jealous of his actress ex-wife) and the classic ballet melodrama The Red Shoes; and of films about tender, troubled psyches in the films — I won't say which ones — of Roman Polanski, Dario Argento, Brian De Palma, David Cronenberg and David Fincher. Black Swan also takes a view of women that might kindly be described as old-fashioned.

And finally, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir sees a De Palma influence in the Guillermo del Toro-produced Julia's Eyes, a horror film directed by Guillem Morales. O'Hehir writes that Julia's Eyes, "which reassembles much of the creative team that made The Orphanage in 2007," is "altogether a chillier, slicker and colder affair, formal and beautiful in composition and shot through with a sadistic eroticism that strongly suggests Brian De Palma." O'Hehir concludes, "I doubt this project occupied much of del Toro's attention, and it's fundamentally an exercise in genre and style -- but what style! The brooding skies and gray-green trees, the closely packed prewar houses, the naked bodies in a locker room full of blind women, the deepening shadows as Julia's sight gives way and evil comes ever closer. Even the deep, dark crimson when we finally see blood. (Despite this movie's moodiness, it's not without its share of gruesome gore.) In the long arc of Guillermo del Toro's career, Julia's Eyes is a minor side project -- but we can only wish that one in 20 American horror films were this well made."

Posted by Geoff at 11:24 AM CDT
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Eli Roth revealed to Love Film that he prided himself on watching Brian De Palma's Scarface 56 times on VHS in his youth. He talks about how he would consider the plight of the man "with the big nose" in the club who dances to Frank Sinatra's Strangers In The Night and gets machine-gunned to death. Roth says he and his friends would stop the tape and deconstruct the back-stories of minor characters. "Think about this poor guy," says Roth about the big-nosed dancer. "He went to work that day, he was just doing his job. He was just trying to entertain, and then these guys came in and just machine-gunned him. And like, what's his wife gonna say, like, was this guy married? And then, like he doesn't come home from work that night. I would sit and obsessively think of the back-story for every minor character in the film."

Posted by Geoff at 8:56 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 11, 2010
Brian De Palma turns 70 today, and he appears to be celebrating by attending the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, of which he has been a loyal patron for years. On Thursday, Roger Ebert tweeted that he spotted De Palma at the festival ("Brian de Palma, the only big-time director who often attends film festivals on his own dime," wrote Ebert). Grey Goose's Mohit Rajhans also saw De Palma on Thursday. "The bulk of the buzz so far was centered around the press office yesterday while people gathered the necessary passes," wrote Rajhans. "I spotted Brian De Palma chatting just outside the office with friends – word has it Toronto is one of his favourite cities for movie watching." Today, Fernando F. Croce tweeted that he "saw Brian De Palma just outside yesterday's screening of Black Swan," adding that he "should have wished him happy b-day." (Croce is covering the festival for Slant Magazine.) And finally, Swedish journalist Rebekah Åhlund, while attending the premiere yesterday of Kristian Petri's Bad Faith, spotted De Palma in the lounge, prompting her to recall the days when she used to watch De Palma's Carlito's Way once a month. Steve Gravestock's description of Bad Faith at the TIFF website sounds intriguing:

Monia (Sonja Richter), a rather strange young woman who may be in the midst of a nervous breakdown, walks alone through the streets of a Gothenburg. Walking past a sinister alleyway, she sees a badly injured man struggling to breathe. The man’s been dispatched by the Bayonet Killer, a murderer who’s been plaguing the city for the last couple of months. Monia is immediately plunged into a mystery only she and the strangely solicitous and philosophical Frank (Jonas Karlsson) seem to care about. As Monia stumbles on one killing after another, she confronts a shady hoodlum (Kristoffer Joyner) who, rather suspiciously, seems to be at the scene of every crime.

With Bad Faith, Swedish director Kristian Petri intelligently riffs on the history of the suspense film, deftly combining its highs and lows. On one hand, the film offers up a gloss on giallos – the lurid, visually stylized, Italian-thriller form popularized by Mario Bava and later by Dario Argento. At the same time, Petri and his collaborators make reference to the most cerebral and self-conscious mysteries ever made, from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up to Paul Verhoeven’s international breakthrough, The Fourth Man. Like Verhoeven’s underrated classic, Bad Faith is propelled by the characters’ awareness that they’re caught in a narrative they should recognize but refuse to – a conflict which allows for ample amounts of suspense and for a very sly comedy.

Central to the film’s success is our suspicion that Monia isn’t playing with a full deck. As she grows more and more obsessed with the murders and her daily life crumbles around her (she hides in her apartment for weeks on end), we begin to question her sanity and, by extension, the rules and assumptions of the genre which she inhabits. It’s a genuinely postmodern thriller, a sublimely funny movie that questions its characters mental soundness and our own addiction to narrative.

Posted by Geoff at 11:08 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Movie Geeks United! tribute this week to "The De Palma Thriller" continued last night with a focus on Dressed To Kill, although several films were included in the discussion, including Home Movies (discussed with guest Keith Gordon and touched on with Nancy Allen), Obsession (discussed with guest George Litto), Mission To Mars, and more. The geeks got deep into De Palma discussion within the show's first hour, with Jamey talking about the merits of Mission To Mars, and Chris suggesting that he did not trust his not-so-thrilled assessment of De Palma's The Black Dahlia, because he knows it's De Palma, and he might look at it somewhere down the line and see that it is actually brilliant. The interviews on the show, including John Kenneth Muir, were terrific. Gordon showed a keen knowledge of De Palma's cinema that fit right at home with the geeks, who will feature a separate part of the interview with Gordon about his own directing career on an upcoming episode. Meanwhile, Nancy Allen mentioned that De Palma had her read books by Nancy Friday as preparation for her character, and in particular for her scene at the doctor's office with Michael Cain. A lot of great stuff on last night's show, which you can listen to on the site's archive. Looking forward to the final two shows: tonight, a look at Blow Out, with Allen, Muir, Litto, and Vilmos Zsigmond. Tomorrow night it's Raising Cain, again with Muir and editor Paul Hirsch.

Posted by Geoff at 12:43 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010
With Armond White set to be one of the guests on tonight's Carrie-related episode of the Movie Geeks United! tribute to the De Palma thriller, it seems a good time to note that about a month and a half ago, White was a guest on a /Film Filmcast episode devoted to Christopher Nolan's Inception. /Film's Adam Quigley was incredulous about White's review of Inception in the New York Press, in which the critic stated that "Christopher Nolan doesn’t have a born filmmaker’s natural gift for detail, composition and movement, but on the evidence of his fussily constructed mind-game movies—Following, Memento, Insomnia and the new Inception—he’s definitely a born con artist." On the /Film filmcast, White said that he goes into each Nolan film hoping to be impressed, but that Nolan always disappoints him. Nolan presents a “depressing, repellent nihillism,” according to White, who went on to note that while Nolan is not a "born filmmaker," Brian De Palma most definitely is:

Adam Quigley: Judging from the Inception review you wrote, Armond, you said that Nolan doesn’t have a born filmmaker’s natural gift for detailed composition and movement. But that’s interesting. I mean, that’s how your review starts. That’s interesting to me, though, because are you assuming it’s a born talent, or… it sounds like, as soon as you started this review that you were judging Nolan, you know, Nolan the person, and perhaps not the movie. Did you have that idea of him before you even saw Inception?

Armond White: Well… well, wait a minute—think about what you’re saying. It’s how I started the review. I don’t write my reviews with no thought in my head. That may be the way I started the review, but it’s not the way I approached the review. Consider this: I approached the review after having seen the movie, and after having thought about it. I write my reviews in a way that I hope can be read enjoyably and with some interest. So I’m starting an argument in that way. It doesn’t mean that that’s my first thought. I’m beginning the construction of an argument that way. And I begin the argument after having seen the film, and after having thought about it. So it’s not that I start with a prejudice. I start with a response. And the review is a response. From the very first word of the review, it’s a response, it’s not a prejudice.

And so you want to know about the idea of a born filmmaker?

Adam: Yes.

Armond: I believe there is such a thing. Just as I believe there are people who are born singers. I’m not one of those. But Prince is. Whitney Houston is. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a born singer. Singers can be trained, but some people are born with a gift. And it’s easy to find artists who are born with a gift. Bertolucci is a born filmmaker. I would reckon from the first piece of film by Brian De Palma that was ever exhibited in public, you can see that he’s a born filmmaker—he’s got it. He’s doing things in a distinctive way. It’s a gift. And not everybody’s got the gift.

From there, the discussion delved into a comparison between Nolan and Michael Bay, the latter of which, according to White, also has a natural gift for visual filmmaking.

Also on tonight's Carrie-themed episode of Movie Geeks United! will be Nancy Allen and John Kenneth Muir.

Posted by Geoff at 11:35 AM CDT
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Monday, September 6, 2010

The Movie Geeks United! week-long tribute to Brian De Palma got off to a terrific start Monday night with a show dedicated to Sisters, although films such as Mission: Impossible (delved into with guest John Kenneth Muir) and Phantom Of The Paradise were discussed, as well. Regarding the latter, guest Edward R. Pressman, who produced Sisters and Phantom, mentioned that he has been talking "endlessly" with De Palma and songwriter Paul Williams about getting together a stage version of the film, for which Williams has been writing new songs. Of course, we already knew they all were working on this from previous posts here, but it's good to know the project is still being developed. Kudos to Jamey DuVall and Jerry Dennis for a solid kick-off to a promising week of "The De Palma Thriller." If you can't listen to any of the shows live, never fear-- the shows are all available to listen to in the archive.

Posted by Geoff at 8:40 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 10:41 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 5, 2010
At the Venice Film Festival today, Historica Edizioni previewed the inaugural volume in its new series of books on cinema. The book is called The Writing Of The Gaze: The Cinema Of Brian De Palma, and it was unveiled today at the Info Point in front of the Venice Film Festival in the Movie Village. The Writing Of The Gaze is edited by Massimiliano Spanu and Fabio Zanello, who were each scheduled to be on hand at the Info Point today to take part in a video interview for Giuseppe Amodio and Deborah Farina's Italian program Venezia Pulp. Last January, Lankelot's Francesco Giubilei interviewed Zanello, asking him why they chose De Palma as the initial subject for the series, to be followed by a volume on Francis Ford Coppola. Zanello responded:

Yes, the title of this inaugural volume of the Historica Editions planned for April will be "The Writing of the Gaze. The Cinema of Brian De Palma." That one is being taken care of between myself and Professor Massimiliano Spanu at the University of Trieste. Spanu and I have assigned the essays that will make up the volume to a very competent working team: Leonardo Gandini, Massimo Causo, Edvige Liotta, Domenico Monetti, Elisa Grando, M.Deborah Farina, Andrea Fontana, Mario Gerosa, Carlo Griseri, Diego Mondella, Alessandra Montesanto, Davide Taro, Michele Raga, Michele Tosolini, Mario Molinari, Enrico Terrone, Luca Bandirali, Andrea Fontana, Piero Babudro, Fabio Migneco and Corrado Denaro.

The choice fell on Brian De Palma, because, besides being a leading exponent of the new Hollywood, from the outset he has pursued a continuous research and reflection on the image and forms of narrative genres, far from being exhausted themselves. He is a real investigator who has represented and continues to represent a model of artistic coherence, even when dealing with commercial films. Aware that we will not be neither the first nor the last to study the auteur of "Scarface," "Carlito's Way" and "Carrie" Spanu and I think that De Palma as a director is always "forward" and "young." So, because of this, there will never be enough written about him in subsequent years, I'm sure.

I moreover confess that I’d like to stir the consciences of those who have not distributed into the country a masterpiece like "Redacted" that, after winning the Venice Film Festival, was visible only on satellite TV. We'll see!

Asked why they chose Coppola for the second volume, Zanello replied:

Some of the adjectives that I spent on De Palma may also be applied to Francis Ford Coppola. As a notation I would add: bold and reckless. Only he could sign a formal masterpiece of elegance such as "Dracula", after the many film versions of the myth, and producers who taunted him for his idea to bring Bram Stoker’s creature to the screen, before the proliferation of vampire movies in recent years. Other movies like "The Conversation" and "One from the Heart" have foreshadowed issues such as wire tapping and high definition. Today everybody worships these films as they rightly deserve, yet at the time they were notorious flops at the box office. Coppola, therefore, provides another congenital ground on which to develop a 360-degree analysis.

Carlo Griseri posted on his blog today that he had the "privilege/burden" of writing the essay on Mission: Impossible, an image from which graces the sublime cover to The Writing Of The Gaze. Griseri's essay attempts to "rehabilitate" De Palma's film which, according to Griseri, is unanimously considered one of De Palma's minor works, and is "discreetly snubbed by purists and critics." All this despite French critic Luc Lagier's book-length study on De Palma's Mission: Impossible.

Posted by Geoff at 11:47 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan opens the Venice Film Festival tonight, but a critics preview this morning has created a buzz. Variety's Peter DeBruge is quite taken with the film, calling it "a wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer's all-consuming ambition" that he feels resembles something closer to Aronofsky's Pi than to Powell & Pressburger's The Red Shoes (the latter being the one most reviews are comparing Black Swan with, along with Aronofsky's The Wrestler). DeBruge also compares the lure of the film to the cinema of Brian De Palma, but finds it closer in execution to David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski:

Already the film has acquired a certain lesbian allure, courtesy of a trailer that somewhat unfairly teases a scandalous [Natalie] Portman-[Mila] Kunis love scene. This footage will no doubt help to entice ballet-averse auds, though "Black Swan" is anything but a Brian De Palma-style erotic escapade (superficial echoes of "Sisters" and "Femme Fatale" notwithstanding).

Aronofsky seems to be operating more in the vein of early Roman Polanski or David Cronenberg at his most operatic. Though the director never immerses us as deeply inside Portman's head as he did Mickey Rourke's in "The Wrestler," the latter third of "Black Swan" depicts a highly subjective view of events that calls to mind the psychological disintegration of both "Repulsion" and "Rosemary's Baby."

MUBI is running a roundup of the reviews as they are posted.

Posted by Geoff at 12:33 PM CDT
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Ennio Morricone was awarded the 2010 Polar Music Prize (also referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Music") by the King of Sweden in a ceremony Monday at the Skandia Theater in Stockholm. The award is traditionally given to a composer and a pop musician every year, and this year's pop honor went to Bjork. According to Lupin The 4th, the evening concluded with a screening of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, the film for which Morricone was nominated for an Oscar for composing the score. Morricone has also scored De Palma's Casualties Of War and Mission To Mars.

Posted by Geoff at 1:19 PM CDT
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