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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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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Origo filmklub's Varga Ferenc has conducted a nice long interview with Brian De Palma about his new film Passion, and several other topics. The interview is in Hungarian, and I am having a bit of trouble figuring out what De Palma says about Zero Dark Thirty, so if anyone thinks they know, please let us know. Here is a Google-assisted translation of the interview:

Five years have passed since your last film. Is it frustrating when you go for years, without making a movie?

Not frustrating. Indeed, I did not want to work for a few years. With two school-age daughters it's been good to stay home with them and not have to travel.

Now, you've filmed an English-language remake of a French thriller from three years ago. What do you think justifies a remake of a film?

If the material is interesting enough, to mature in a recycling. Frequently, foreign films are remade in English, as in America, people do not like to read subtitles. This was also the case here. There was a French film, and it was thought that if it was in English many more people will see it. The producer brought the idea to America, but he decided he'd rather do it himself. And I found the story engaging enough to organize the English version.

America is now remaking your adaptation of the 1976 film Carrie. What do you say?

As I said, the raw material is what decides. I think Carrie is an interesting story that can touch anyone from generation to generation.

Curious about the Carrie remake?

Other films deserve better. [Not sure of this question/answer]

In Passion, Rachel McAdams plays a sexually liberated woman, a sex scene, yet covers her body with a comforter. Was that your choice, or did you simply fail to persuade the nudity?

Her nudity was not a problem, in fact, she told me, well, would you like if it seemed as though she’s hiding herself modestly? We filmed the scene so that you see everything, and also so that she was covered. I liked it better the latter way, so that’s what’s in the movie.

When I saw Redacted at the Venice Film Festival, I was taken by something different, and I felt like I was run over by a truck. Did you mean to trigger this effect?

Yes, I deeply wanted to shock the audience.

Were you satisfied with the reception of the film?

Well, it was fiercely hated in America because it criticized the U.S. military, and most people do not like that sort of thing. But I felt like these things to be said, and so I did.

Did you see Zero Dark Thirty?


How did you like it?

[Crazy] [I quit.] [I walked out?] [It’s off its nut?]

You've repeatedly said that you want the movies to play on the big screen. Is it saddening that most people are watching on their computers or on their phones?

I have no control over it. I'll do the film as I'd like to see on the big screen, and if they want to watch it on the iPad, that’s their business. I think the majority of film deserves a large canvas, not the iPhone. They look good, and if someone is in the grip of watching a movie, it remains a major part of the experience. Of course, you can't have everything, I get it. But I represent the school that says the film should be given the honor.

Recently, two films were released that showed Alfred Hitchcock as a monster. Is this trend repugnant?

It's unjust because he is no longer alive, so he can not defend himself. And who said that a major artist has to be like a friendly uncle? It is possible that Hitchcock did some things that were upsetting with some actresses, but the great master of the genre we are talking about does not have to be an angel to everyone.

If you made a movie about him, how would he be portrayed?

I would not do that film. In fact, the Hitchcock movies were offered to me, but I refused.

Can you accept it dispassionately, if a film fails at box office?

It has happened to me so many times that I am not at all interested. The major disruption is only because it will then be harder to get money for the next film.

Occasionally, you've entered a film just for the money?


Francis Ford Coppola said, it is difficult to remain a good artist, once one becomes rich. Do you agree with him?

Tough question. The directors of my generation earned an incredible amount of money, but they did damn good movies. Spielberg, Lucas and Scorsese are incredibly rich, and they did the most influential films of the era.

When you became rich, you felt a change in your work?

Not really, because I never dealt with money. [I don't feel a need for things.] If you are looking for as much money to make a living out of it, and I can keep my family, the rest is useless to me.

A few months ago we made a compilation of the sexiest strip scenes, and the one in Femme Fatale came in third place. Satisfied with that result?

Yes, it is a very sexy dance. Rebecca has an incredible body, and the way she moves ... sexy killer. What were the top two?

The Wrestler and From Dusk Till Dawn.

The Wrestler striptease I would not call sexy.

Tarantino said that as directors get older, they get burned out, and usually the last four films are the weakest. What do you think about this revelation, are the recent films just as percussive as the older ones?

I know what he's talking about, because I've studied a lot of directors' careers. The best films they usually did in their forties and fifties, and then in their sixties and seventies saw a marked decrease in quality. And if you look at the most important directors of Hollywood's golden age, this is true. Towards the end John Ford, Billy Wilder or Hitchcock films were inferior in their careers.

But there are exceptions?

Of course there are. It's a tough profession, that is physically demanding, a lot of things can go the wrong way. If you have a few good movies you can put on the table before your forties and fifties come around, you can call yourself lucky.

Do you think of what you will leave behind?

No, because I have no control. Whether they will remember me or not, it depends on so many things.

We've been talking about the Untouchables prequel. Now that the HBO series Boardwalk Empire has largely processed the early stage of Al Capone's career, does it makes sense to even do that movie?

No, but it is not primarily due to the series. The Untouchables prequel was was doomed, after former management developed it at Paramount Studios, and a new management team refused to do this film, which was begun by its predecessor. For this reason, it will probably never be made.

Have you otherwise looked at Boardwalk Empire?

I watched the first part, which Scorsese directed, and then a couple which included Al Capone. But there the legend of Al Capone was processed, as it has been in countless films and television series. Interesting touch to put the story in Atlantic City, but Italian gangsters during the Prohibition ... this has been done a thousand times.

How do you know whether there is enough to make something a worthwhile movie?

When it takes hold of my imagination, and the whole thing almost self develops in my head. I can see the pictures and figure out which actors would be able to play the roles.

I know you go to the movies a lot, and see a lot of movies. Have you seen a Hungarian movie that you liked?

Hungarian film ... hmmm. I see a lot at film festivals, that often never even cross the border. Remind me, please, my memory, which Hungarian movies should I have seen lately!

Last year, Passion played simultaneously at the New York film Film Festival with Pálfi György's Final Cut: Hölgyeim és uraim. Did you see it by any chance?

I do not recall. What's it about?

Tells a simple love story, but from a great montage of all 500 famous classic films put together. You can use one of the films in it for at least five more.

Sounds very interesting, but unfortunately I have not seen. Will it be presented in America?

It's only projected at festivals because the many film clips make it a nightmare for copyright purposes.

Too bad.

If you have a brilliant idea for a commercial, it's usually pretty funny. Passion in turn has a really excellent idea for advertising. How did you think of this?

This advertisement does exist, I found on the internet.

And sought out the rights?

No, just used it.

And they will not demand money for it?

They haven’t so far.

The cult movie Scarface was greatly enjoyed by rappers and gangsters, but it's as if these people did not catch the irony of things, and Tony Montana is seen as a role model. Do you not find this scary?

It's really amazing to me that the Scarface cult is alive after all these years. And for those who understand my films, this is another thing that can not be controlled. I'm not really going to smash my head over things that I have no control over.

And are you accustomed to think you are responsible to the public as a filmmaker?

If you mean to imply that there are many violent movies, then I have to say I absolutely do not believe that violent movies beget real violence. I think the opposite is true. If you look at violent movies, you reduce the tension. I do not think, for example, after watching the Untouchables anyone felt like grabbing a baseball bat and crushing someone's head.

Your next film of Joe Paterno will star Al Pacino. In this a topic you find interesting?

This case is a real drama, which, incidentally, raises lots of interesting questions. For example, this could be an excuse to talk about the story of America's favorite sport of football, and also that in principle, although this is a sport that is associated with all kinds of positive attributes in our heads, it has become extremely corrupted by the whole fact that there's an incredible amount of money involved. I find it a very interesting process, as business destroys things that were previously clear and innocent.

Which movies on filmmaking do you think are the best?

Sunset Boulevard and The Bad and the Beautiful.

And those that show how things are going these days?

Living In Oblivion. It's a delightful film, that accurately and credibly demonstrates how to do a low-budget movie. In addition, it’s very funny.

Is there a movie, for which you feel, that you absolutely must make?

Not anymore. The fact that I'm alive and I can still work is sort of a minor miracle at this point.

How many films are you planning to do?

I have no idea. As long as the idea is good, I will do it.

Do you find it difficult to raise money for films in America?

It depends on what kind of movie we are talking about. A lot of horror themes are easy to get money for, the question is whether you want to devote a couple of years of your life to it. I often find myself looking at things that are eerily similar to one of my earlier films.

Seen any good movies lately?

Django Unchained was pretty good, and I really liked Silver Linings Playbook.

Posted by Geoff at 8:29 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013 12:20 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
From the description at Hell Is For Hyphen-ates: "Film critic and commentator Jeremy Smith (Mr Beaks on Ain’t It Cool News) joins the Hyphenates to debate the films of April 2013, discuss the all-too-brief career of filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky, and explore the expansive and surprising filmography of director Brian De Palma."

Posted by Geoff at 7:00 PM CDT
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Film & Leven's Gawie Keyser posted a review of Brian De Palma's Passion yesterday, calling the story "flat as a dime, not to mention implausible, poorly developed and sometimes very badly played by actors who seem like amateurs." But then Keyser goes on to suggest that none of that matters:

"But this is film and not a novel or theater, something that De Palma is well aware of and a point on which he insists in interviews. Film is image, as a matter of fact, and there are few directors better than De Palma at understanding that it is the drama of images, rather than the meaning of the words of characters, that has a psychological impact. That’s why Passion is so powerful: the film does not appeal to rational thought processes, but seems to stimulate the emotions that regulate those parts in your brain. It is a film in which texture predominates: images reflected within images or on shiny surfaces such as mirrors and walls and windows in ultra modern office buildings or in anonymous apartments that cause feelings of alienation rather than homeliness. Everything is extremely stylized, so time is distorted and the essence of an action or event is stretched and accentuated, especially in a fabulous sequence where a bloody murder and a ballet performance are simultaneously visible in split screen...

"...De Palma is a romantic filmmaker par excellence, and that he has in common with his Hong Kong colleague Wong Kar-wai. Perhaps the problem lies in something they both contend with when it comes to the reception of their work: the harsh reality of the current zeitgeist offers little room for the beauty of the elongated moment."

Posted by Geoff at 1:23 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:27 AM CDT
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Thanks to Marina for finding some more stills and set photos from Passion, including the one above that shows Brian De Palma and Jose Luis Alcaine on set. There are sets of photos (most we've seen before, but some we have not) at Port, MoziNéző, and on the ADS Facebook page.

Posted by Geoff at 6:06 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 6:07 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The British Arrow Video will release a Blu-Ray edition of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill July 29th. According to posts at Horror Digital, the set appears to include almost everything from both the American Blu-Ray and the French Blu-Ray editions, aside from the American edition's "Dressed to Kill: An Appreciation by Keith Gordon" (6:06) and the photo gallery, and the French edition's preface by Samuel Blumenfeld. What's new is the cover ("reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanel Marsh," according to the special features list) and a collector's booklet "featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Maitland McDonagh, illustrated with original archive stills and promotional material."

McDonagh is the author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento. In her Terror Trap reflection on seeing Argento's Deep Red for the first time in New York, McDonagh mentions that one 42nd Street theater paired up De Palma's Dressed To Kill with "the totally sleazy Humanoids from the Deep."

Posted by Geoff at 11:33 PM CDT
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I've found yet another video clip, dubbed in German, from Brian De Palma's Passion. Can't wait to hear the real voices and see the full movie, but until then, here's the link to the new clip, followed by some captures. (And by the way, this site also has videos of each of the four Passion interview subjects, with all the smaller interview clips edited together by individual: De Palma, Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, and Karoline Herfurth.)

Passion clip: Böses Spiel

Posted by Geoff at 10:39 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:50 PM CDT
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(Thanks to Patrick!)

Posted by Geoff at 9:51 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 27, 2013
The Weser Kurier's Kerstin Lindemann interviews Brian De Palma about Passion, his career, and computer games. Here is a Google-assisted translation:

Kurier: Mr. De Palma, you recently said that in the last five years it has been difficult for you to make a film. Why is that?

Brian De Palma: I wrote some more political screenplays, but the productions did not get financed. But that's just life in the film industry: You put work into a project that is about to go into production, then it does not work out. Or you get another offer, but maybe you do not want to do it. We work up a new project. So I do not spend the whole day at the beach or on the sofa watching football on TV, but working. This project here I liked, for example.

Kurier: Why?

De Palma: Because "Passion" is a very clever mystery story, where you always keep the audience in doubt as to who is the murderer and who is not. And I set the whole thing in the surrealistic world of advertising, which raises even more questions and fewer genuine answers.

Kurier: Why does Hollywood scarcely make movies like "Passion", aimed at an adult audience?

De Palma: Because many filmmakers, who select the adult themes, are not at all interested in a career in the studio system. The members of the "Sundance generation": their movies cost five to ten million dollars and make 20 million. The development of their projects take years. People in their mid-40s may only have shot four films. At that age, I had already directed 15 films.

Kurier: And with not too bad earnings?

De Palma: I certainly have also earned a lot of money (laughs). But at that time we were all taken up, because we wanted to make a career in the studio system. A few of my friends from back then are now billionaires: George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Francis Coppola, for example, have earned very much. This was something new in the history of directing. Directors were previously employed in the old Hollywood. They made one film after another for a studio, putting out 50, 60 or even 100 movies. Today we create maybe 30 our whole life. I'm not a fan of five-year development cycles for film projects. We are directors. We should be filming, not developing. All the directors I admire have filmed a lot. In fact you get better with every film you make.

Kurier: That sounds a little bitter ...

De Palma: Perhaps it may seem that way because I've spent almost my entire professional life trying to defend my movies. I'm not a particular fan of film critics, because very few seem to see what happens on the screen. This is very inconvenient for my visual style. Even with "Scarface" they savaged me, and years later, the film was considered very good and suddenly became a classic.

Kurier: Are you all in all happy with the course of your career?

De Palma: Yes, I would say so. I'm pretty happy because basically everything I made was what I wanted to shoot at the time. Nevertheless, any exciting career has its ups and downs. Also, I'm glad I'm still able to make films. That fact alone is already a great thing.

Kurier: You have completed a physics degree. How much you are still interested in modern technology?

De Palma: Very much. My brother and I were always completely computer crazy. We used pretty much every computer at home, every one that hit the market. We’d have it tested and tried, how powerful it is. And we played computer games, back in the seventies! At that time, I also played with Steven Spielberg, a game called "Pong", during the filming of "Jaws".

Kurier: And what do you play today with Steven?

De Palma: Steven Spielberg is the master of flight simulation. You put in any flight simulator, and he brings the craft down safely, no matter which aircraft. Breathtaking. But whenever I have a new game, no matter what, he comes over and we try it out.

Kurier: Why don’t you develop one yourself, if you are so excited about it?

De Palma: Are you kidding me? That would be as if I wanted to learn a new language at 73. It would be incredibly time-consuming, to familiarize myself with that. And time, as any 73-year-old will confirm, no longer works for me at my age.

Posted by Geoff at 1:11 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:14 PM CDT
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Friday, April 26, 2013

The image above is one of several included in a new episode of Spiegel TV's Making Of, which features Brian De Palma's Passion, as well as Mama and Scary Movie 5. (Thanks to Marina for letting us know about it!) Passion opened yesterday in the Netherlands, and here is another positive review:

Sylvia van de Poll, Film Abides
"The great camera work, in combination with the lighting effects, make for beautiful images that are a true homage to the film noir form. This comes out clearly when Isabelle begins taking sleeping pills. At all times (even if it is logically impossible) there are dark shadows from wide blinds over the scenes which results in a distorted atmosphere. It is difficult to determine what is real and what is not, especially when Isabelle is several times startled awake from (possibly) a dream."

Passion also opened yesterday in Russia and Hungary, and opened today in Iceland. It will open in Germany on Thursday, May 2nd.

Posted by Geoff at 6:36 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, April 26, 2013 6:37 PM CDT
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