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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 a la Mod

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In the video above, the Hollywood Reporter's Todd Gilchrist sits down with Wes Anderson, and suggests to the director that his new film, Moonrise Kingdom, seems the most Stanley Kubrick-inspired film he's done, in terms of some of the techniques used. Anderson acknowledges that Kubrick is one of his favorites, but responds that when he is making a movie, he isn't consciously aware of what he is "stealing everything from." He goes on to name other influences: Roman Polanski, John Huston, Martin Scorsese, and Orson Welles. "They're guys whose way with the camera I feel like I’m always taking something from," Anderson says in the video. A bit later, the following exchange takes place...

Todd Gilchrist: You’ve created such a singular and identifiable body of work. Have you ever thought about, or have you ever been offered sort of the opportunity to apply the style that you’ve created for yourself to maybe a more conventional sort of storytelling structure? I mean, look at, you know, Brian De Palma, maybe doing a commercial movie and then doing something that’s very uniquely his. Have you thought about flirting with those kinds of projects?

Wes Anderson: Well, Brian De Palma is a very interesting one. You know, Brian De Palma is one of my favorite directors ever, and such a… the most sophisticated visual style of anybody. And [his] way with a camera. But I think in a way, Brian De Palma is somebody who can take a giant, complicated action sequence, and say, “I know precisely how to execute this,” and he can do it in a way that is completely his, and yet is highly effective as a, you know, suspense and as… [waving his arms] understanding the space and how this action is occurring. And, you know, I’m a completely different kind of moviemaker. The basic crucial talents of that, that Brian De Palma has, are exactly what I lack. Probably.

Posted by Geoff at 12:21 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 12:22 AM CDT
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Sunday, June 10, 2012
Melanie Griffith will receive the CineMerit Award at this year's Munich Film Festival, which runs June 29-July 7. The award honors outstanding personalities in international cinema, according to Variety's Ed Meza. Griffith will appear in person on July 3 to accept the prize, and also attend the world premiere of her new thriller, The Grief Tourist, from British director Siri Krishnamma. That film is about a nightwatchman who, as a hobby, takes week-long vacations to grief tourist locations where serial killers have left their mark. Griffith plays a café waitress named Betsy. The Munich fest will also include a showcase retrospective featuring four of Griffith's films: Jonathan Demme's Something Wild, Mike NicolsWorking Girl (for which Griffith was nominated for a best actress Oscar), Mike FiggisStormy Monday, and Fernando Trueba's Two Much. It was on the set of the latter film that Griffith met her husband, Antonio Banderas, in 1995. Griffith made a big splash in Brian De Palma's Body Double in 1984, but she doesn't make her entrance into that film until almost the halfway mark, which is probably why it is not included in the brief retrospective. She also appeared in De Palma's Bonfire Of The Vanities.

Posted by Geoff at 10:42 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, June 10, 2012 10:46 PM CDT
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Friday, June 8, 2012
The Texas Archive of the Moving Image includes a collection of on-camera interviews conducted by Austin TV personality Carolyn Jackson. Among the videos in this collection are four conversations that appear to have been part of a press junket for The Fury in 1978, featuring director Brian De Palma, producer Frank Yablans, and actresses Amy Irving and Carrie Snodgress. De Palma explains how they shot many of the special effects sequences in the film, and Yablans mentions The Demolished Man. I cannot seem to get these videos embedded here, but go to each of the following links to watch them:

Brian De Palma
Frank Yablans
Amy Irving
Carrie Snodgress

Posted by Geoff at 12:28 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 8, 2012 7:04 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Contributor Magazine's Antonia Nessen has a nice interview with Noomi Rapace, conducted as she was just beginning to film Brian De Palma's Passion. While nothing too much more about Passion is revealed than has been published before, she does go a little deeper into some of the ways in which she invests herself into her characters, Passion included. The article also provides the last name of Rapace's character, and also features some great fashion photographs of the actress, such as the shot to the left. Here is an excerpt which delves into Rapace's research and roles:

The Norwegian thriller Babycall recently premiered in Europe, and was filmed in Oslo two years ago. Without revealing too much of what happens, it’s easy to understand that playing the leading role of the single mother Anna was mentally taxing. I ask Noomi if there’s such a thing as getting too much into character:

”No, but there have been times when I haven’t realised that the role has taken over. My character in Babycall is very fragile and traumatised after a destructive relationship. During my research I met a woman whose close relative had been raped and murdered. She felt physical pain for years afterwards and had a hard time controlling her body. When she was driving for example, her hands would suddenly just lock up. Our bodies seem to handle pain, grief and trauma in ways that can be quite unpredictable.”

In the movie a babycall monitor sets off the nerve-wrenching plot. Anna buys it to make sure nothing her 8-year-old son stays safe at night, only to find out that the babycall picks up another child crying somewhere in the apartment building.

“When we had been filming for maybe three weeks my hips started hurting. I felt like an old Labrador that couldn’t walk. I could hardly get out of bed. The doctors and chiropractors couldn’t say what it was. It didn’t get better until the day after we finished shooting. Then the pain disappeared, it was just gone. When I look back at it, it seems like my subconscious picked up on the woman’s story and then my body somehow induced the state psychosomatically. And it was beyond my control.”

Preparing for both Babycall and now Passion, Noomi has regular conversations with Dr Clara Gumpert, associate professor and Director of the Centre for Psychiatric Research in Stockholm.

“Before Babycall I tried to learn to understand what it’s like to live in a world where you know that you can slip into a psychosis that you will experience as reality. I could be sitting here being psychotic and seeing devils and demons but pretending everything is normal and be able to control them. But as soon as we log off Skype I will say to them ‘Why can’t you leave me alone when I’m sitting here talking to Antonia’.”

In Brian De Palma’s drama thriller Passion, Noomi plays the lead character Isabella James, a young ambitious businesswoman who gets into a close relationship - with several intriguing turns - with her boss and mentor, played by Rachel McAdams. In preparation for the film, Noomi has practiced Bikram yoga pretty much every day, but most of all she tries to map James’ psyche, her psychological landscape:

“Now that I’m immersing myself in a new part, I try to understand each scene based on the character’s motivations and goals. How does her mind work? I have to make sure that the actions of my characters are psychologically convincing. If I don’t it becomes almost physically impossible to proceed.”

Posted by Geoff at 8:54 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Movieline's Stephanie Zacharek finds Ridley Scott's Prometheus a bit too tasteful, overcomplicated, and ultimately lackluster. "You can practically hear Prometheus groaning under the weight of its ambitions," she muses disappointedly, adding, "it’s a far cry from the sound Scott was going for, the music of the celestial spheres." Her review includes some spoilers, but none in the following excerpt, in which she compares Prometheus to Brian De Palma's Mission To Mars...

Scott is trying to make sure Prometheus is about something, and his ideals may have distracted him from the more prosaic task of just getting on with the storytelling. When Brian De Palma presented, with Mission to Mars, a much more passionate, and more narratively sound, version of this sort of interplanetary spiritual idealism, it was treated as a “bad” science fiction movie. Prometheus, on the other hand, is tasteful even in the midst of all its squirm-inducing gross-outs, and that’s a liability: It’s impossible to have tasteful passion.

Meanwhile, De Palma a la Mod reader Sergio posted on another thread: "I just saw Prometheus and it really is a lot like Mission To Mars, and not just because they are both channelling Kubrick's 2001. Most of the action beats and story beats are pretty much the same, as is the subtext of the movie, too, about aliens seeding earth. There's even a 'Face' ..."

Posted by Geoff at 6:39 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 12:21 AM CDT
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Moviefone's Drew Taylor interviewed Noomi Rapace on the junket trail of Prometheus, and, good man that he is, managed to ask her a question about working with Brian De Palma on Passion...

[Moviefone] From one great director to the next, you've just worked with Brian De Palma on "Passion," a remake of last year's French thriller "Love Crime." What was that like?

[Noomi Rapace] Wow, yeah, that was a very different experience. I had never done anything like that. And stepping into his world, we had discussions and conversations about the script and the relationship between my character and Rachel McAdams' character. It was really interesting because it started off and we were on two different islands, me and De Palma, and when I finished, I felt we had moved into the same country and we were sharing the vision and sharing the same dream... I became really influenced and colored by my character, and she has a weird emotional life.

[Moviefone] It seems like you're kind of a lucky charm for these filmmakers returning to their favorite genres, with Ridley going back to sci-fi and De Palma returning to an erotic thriller.

[Rapace] [Laughs] Maybe!

Posted by Geoff at 6:18 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 6:20 PM CDT
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During an interview about Prometheus with Cinema Blend's Sean O'Connell, Noomi Rapace found herself briefly discussing her character in the upcoming Passion. Near the end of the interview, O'Connell asked Rapace about her Prometheus character, Elizabeth Shaw...


[O'Connell] Your character has the very difficult task of bringing religion into the equation. And faith. As an actress, how much of this do you have to believe as an individual to help sell the performance? Can they be wildly different from your own beliefs?

[Noomi Rapace] I think so. I did a movie with Brian De Palma called Passion, and my character’s spirit is so completely disturbed. She has a very weird inner landscape. Her thoughts are pretty far away from my thoughts. Elizabeth Shaw is more close to me. It’s easier for me to step into her shoes. But I always say that I have to find a way to always use myself and translate things from my own life. For example, to find the religious side of her, I really had to travel back to my own childhood to remember what I thought and how I saw things. And I believed in angels. I was always pretty sure that we have two different kinds of angels – dark angels and good angels. So a lot of time, as I tried to find Elizabeth, it was almost like I traveled back into myself. You have to use yourself. Or, that’s what I need to do. I don’t want to pretend. I don’t want to fake it. I want to live it.


Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott, is said to have themes akin to De Palma's Mission To Mars. It opens Friday in North America. Rapace will be a guest tonight on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman.

Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:07 AM CDT
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

One key interview figure missing in Playboy's "Making of Scarface" article last December was Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Elvira in the 1983 Brian De Palma film. The June 2012 issue of Empire features an interview with Pfeiffer that fills in that gap quite nicely. In contrast to the odd bit in the Playboy article in which an unnamed source claims that De Palma "manipulated her brutally" during filming, Pfeiffer says herself in the Empire interview that De Palma "was really lovely." The interview covers Pfeiffer's entire career, and after discussing the actress' early role in Grease 2, the interviewer segues into Scarface...

Empire: [Grease 2] almost stopped you getting the part in Scarface. Brian De Palma was reluctant to see you because of that film, right?

Pfeiffer: He was. I knew that. The casting director, Alixe Gordin, if it weren't for her, Brian wouldn't have seen me.

Empire: How did you win him over?

Pfeiffer: It was just one of those days where I happened to give a good reading and I think he was so shocked because I don't think he expected anything good to come out of my mouth. So Brian was on my side, but Al (Pacino) was a little tougher.

Empire: So how did you get Al on side?

Pfeiffer: I think it was my screen test. It was a tremendously long audition process. It went on for months. I had to keep coming back and back and back. The more I came back the worse I got because I was so nervous and I was inexperienced. Fear is the most destructive thing for an actor. So I don't blame Al for being unimpressed with me, because I kept getting worse every time I came in. Finally I think Brian had to say, "It's not going to work," because I was just bad. But he was really lovely and I was sort of relieved because they were putting me out of my misery and I just couldn't go through it anymore. So I went about my merry way and then got a call: they wanted to screen test me. And I was like, "Oh no." I was so convinced I didn't have a shot at it that I just let go and I relaxed and showed up and it went really well -- much to everyone's surprise -- and I could tell it went well. Also I made Al Pacino bleed. I cut his hand smashing [a plate].

Empire: That's a way to make sure you're remembered.

Pfeiffer: Exactly. Although, of course, it wasn't deliberate.

Posted by Geoff at 10:15 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, June 3, 2012 10:18 PM CDT
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Friday, June 1, 2012

ARTFORUM's summer issue includes a conversation between Brian De Palma and Taryn Simon, the photographer who created the staged photo, seen above, that comprises the final, devastating image of De Palma's Redacted. Zahra Zubaidi, the Iraqi actress in the photo, has had to seek political asylum in the United States, because her family accused her of participating in pornography (she portrays Farah, the girl who gets raped in the movie), and she was receiving death threats as a result. In the article, Simon and De Palma discuss this photo at length. De Palma tells Simon that "Zahra’s story is fascinating because she comes to audition in a movie. She plays the character of a girl who is raped and killed and set on fire, which sort of dramatizes the whole involvement of America in Iraq, and the penalty she has to pay for it is she is a pariah in the Muslim world. They want her dead because of the fact that she portrayed this character." Simon has presented the photograph at the Venice Biennale, and included three progressive annotations as its context was altered. Each of these annotations is presented in full in the ARTFORUM article. Simon explains it this way to De Palma:

The photograph began as a fictionalized rendering of a real event. The resulting image of Zahra, an Iraqi actress, playing the role of this young girl led to the second annotation associated with the image. That text highlights the response to Zahra’s portrayal—the death threats from family members; the criticism from friends and neighbors, who considered her participation in the film to be pornography. The photograph was completely recontextualized by these accusations. It became evidence of a new reality—a reality in which Zahra had to pursue political asylum in the United States. In the third and final annotation, written in 2011, I cite her legal defense, which used the international exhibition of this photograph at the Venice Biennale as a factor contributing to her endangerment. The photograph and its exhibition were used to reveal a continued threat and, at the same time, to support Zahra’s case for political asylum, which was granted in 2011. She couldn’t go home because of the images. You could see an image’s very real influence on an individual life from start to finish: from a casting call with you in Jordan to ending up in the United States and receiving political asylum.

The conversation begins with Simon asking De Palma if he thought his aesthetic was conscious or unconscious as he shot his early documentary The Responsive Eye. This leads De Palma into an illuminating discussion of his process, as well as his recent work on Passion...

BDP: Look, the hard thing—I’m sure you’ve experienced this, too—is that once you have a project, you think about how you’re going to photograph the scene until you actually do it. I have always felt that the camera view is just as important as what’s in front of the camera. Consequently, I’m obsessed with how I’m shooting the scene. When you’re making a movie, you think about it all the time—you’re dreaming about it, you wake up with ideas in the middle of the night—until you actually go there and shoot it. You have these ideas that are banging around in your head, but once you objectify them and lock them into a photograph or cinema sequence, then they get away from you. They’re objectified; they no longer haunt you.

TS: The haunting can be torturous. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the making of my work. It’s a labor. Do you find pleasure in getting to that point of objectification?

BDP: You know, there is no rest. That’s the problem. I haven’t directed a movie in several years, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like. Now I’m doing a remake, a film based on Crime d’amour [2010], which was directed by the late Alain Corneau and written with Natalie Carter and starred Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. It’s about two executives fighting for power. One humiliates the other, and one kills the other. It’s basically a murder mystery. In the new version, the two leads are Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. They are extremely formidable characters. It’s all about the women—the guy is just manipulated by them, like a trained animal.

So I have basically been in this hotel room in Berlin since, I don’t know, January 6, working on this shoot. I don’t go anywhere except when I go to the set or when I have to look at a location or work with an actor.

I’m a very solitary figure on set—I just walk in. I don’t want to say hello and kiss everybody. I’m completely uninterested in that because—I’m sure you have the same feeling—when you go to shoot a movie, you’ve assembled hundreds of people waiting for you to tell them what to do. For the first time, you’ve got the actors. You have the location. You have the cinematographer. You have the weather, the light, the emotional stance of the various people around you, and it’s catching lightning in a bottle. You’re there to maximize the moment on film. And you’d better be very alert and watching everything constantly, because once you shoot it, it’s gone forever. If you make a mistake or haven’t thought everything through correctly, you will look at that mistake for the rest of your life.

TS: Yes—there’s enormous pressure on the day of shooting. And photography’s history is bound to the mistake, to the accident. But I’ve never been one to embrace surprise. I think the invisible lead-up to the point of actually taking a photograph is, in many ways, my medium. Years of research, accessing, organizing, and writing are behind the construction of a single piece. But no matter how prepared and calculated the details of the shoot days are, its imagined form always seems to crumble and mutate.

BDP: I guess a lot of people shoot alternatives. I never do that. I spend months planning it all out, and then we actually edit as we shoot. I know exactly where the camera should be and how all the film fits together.

TS: Yeah, me too.

BDP: But if something happens on the set that’s different, I immediately accommodate it. You don’t want to go in with such a rigid idea that this is the way it should be. You have to see what is there. These are living creatures in front of you.

TS: But accommodation can be dangerous. It’s important to remind yourself of what you want and not get lost in the noise of it all. Sadly, one has to do a lot of interacting, which I find distracting. I avoid lunch and conversation as much as possible. There is no time or space for anything other than the work. But there’s a perceived cruelty in that focus.

BDP: I’m exactly the same way. I never talk to my driver while going to work. I never eat lunch with anybody.

All of the above are discussed in this fascinating conversation, which is best read from start to finish-- click here to read the whole thing.

Posted by Geoff at 9:40 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Brian De Palma's The Bonfire Of The Vanities will screen at 6:30pm Thursday June 28th, as part of the film series, "All the News That's Fit to Screen." The series, which celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, will be presented every Thursday from tonight through June 28 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Journalist Julie Salamon, author of the book The Devil's Candy, which details the behind-the-scenes happenings during the making of Bonfire, will participate in a Q&A after the screening. The series kicked off tonight with Billy Ray's Shattered Glass. The other films are George Stevens' Woman Of The Year (June 7), Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success (June 14), and Marina Goldovskaya's A Bitter Taste of Freedom (June 21).

Posted by Geoff at 8:13 PM CDT
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