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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
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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
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AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 6:44 PM CDT
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Friday, June 21, 2013
The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney reported late last night that Brian De Palma will be a surprise guest at Saturday night's screening of Passion at the Provincetown International Film Festival. Rooney is reporting this as the U.S. premiere of the film, because the big New York Film Festival screening last year was canceled after an embarrassing glitch left De Palma and a packed house waiting for a film that was never to start. The film did screen at the festival two more times after that, but in smaller theaters. It also played at Provincetown this past Wednesday, the first night of the film fest. What characterizes the screening this Saturday as the U.S. premiere, then, is the fact that De Palma will be there to participate in an audience Q&A following the screening, in a more properly planned evening event (and a nice last-minute surprise for the audience).

Posted by Geoff at 7:13 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 22, 2013 8:31 AM CDT
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
NPR's All Songs Considered this week featured Sami Yenigun asking Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo to talk about the songs that inspired their new album, Random Access Memories (the linked page above includes an audio version, so you can hear the duo talking about these songs). Midway through the program, Yenigun says, "You mentioned Paul Williams as one of the guests you had on the record. Can we hear some of his music?"

Bangalter replies, "Yes. I mean, probably one our favorite songs or moments from Paul's career, which we really admire from beginning to end, is the song called 'The Hell Of It,' which is the ending title [music] of the movie that we love so much called Phantom Of The Paradise, directed by Brian De Palma. It's a 1974 film that had a very major place in our teenage years, [in our] discovery of films and music and what we wanted to do as musicians and as artists."

On the audio version of the program, they then play a portion of "The Hell Of It" from the Phantom Of The Paradise soundtrack.

The Guardian's Dorian Lynskey interviewed the duo prior to the release of Random Access Memories. Lynskey wrote, "Their first loves were Jimi Hendrix, the Velvet Underground and Phantom of the Paradise, the bizarre 1974 musical horror movie that Brian De Palma made with Paul Williams. 'It covered everything we liked when we were teenagers: horror, rock, musicals, glam,' says Thomas, glowing with fandom. 'Listening to Led Zeppelin songs backwards, watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre on VHS and getting KISS and David Bowie albums. It synthesised all of these elements.'"

In a review of the album, Slate's Geeta Dayal delved into the Paul Williams collaboration "Touch," and its relationship to Phantom Of The Paradise:


Here they’ve “sampled” the vintage production of their favorite records, using the same analog equipment, techniques, and musicians. Instead of sampling Chic, they brought in Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers to play guitar on two tracks. Instead of sampling Quincy Jones’ productions for Michael Jackson in the 1980s, they brought in the actual session musicians who played on the albums—including John J.R. Robinson, a drummer on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, and the guitarist Paul Jackson, who played on Thriller. They’ve “sampled” the clothes, too (Daft Punk’s tight sequined jackets resemble Michael Jackson’s) and the fonts (the cursive lettering on the cover of Random Access Memories resembles the cover of Thriller). Daft Punk even “sampled” their favorite movie—the 1974 Brian De Palma schlock classic Phantom of the Paradise—by inviting in Paul Williams, the movie’s composer and lead actor, to sing the album’s epic, melodramatic centerpiece, “Touch.”

Phantom of the Paradise is key to understanding Daft Punk’s aesthetic. In the movie, a nerdy songwriter is reborn as a phantom who attempts to exact revenge on an evil svengali record producer named Swan. In one scene in the movie, Swan traps the phantom—now wearing a tight black leather jacket and a robot helmet—in a sophisticated recording studio walled with racks of analog gear. The phantom, whose vocal cords have been destroyed, speaks through a talk box attached to his chest, sounding remarkably like a vocodered lyric in a Daft Punk song.

It’s easy to see why the rock opera was catnip for Daft Punk, who claim to have watched it more than 20 times—the movie is completely over-the-top, drenched in pathos, and layered with in-jokes and sideways references, much like the band’s music. Daft Punk’s black leather outfits in their 2006 feature film, Electroma, seemed inspired by the phantom. “Electroma is a combination of all the movies we like, paying a big, almost unconscious homage to them,” de Homem-Christo told Stop Smiling in 2008. “There are so many different influences: In the end, it becomes such a melting pot of everything that it resembles something else altogether. We love cinema the same way we do music—we’re from a generation that doesn’t segregate.”

Touch” is the apex of Random Access Memories, the total realization of the album’s ambitious reach. There’s nothing cool about it, and it takes guts to make music like this in 2013 on such a grand scale. It’s Daft Punk’s love letter to Phantom of the Paradise, and it’s schmaltzy and deeply weird. The lyrics are, well, daft (“Touch, sweet touch/ You’ve given me too much to feel”), but the lyrics are beside the point; Williams’ graceful vocal delivery is awe-inspiring. It’s simultaneously melancholy and uplifting; the moment where Williams’ voice trails off and “Get Lucky” begins is a great moment in pop music.


Meanwhile, Peaches' musical, Peaches Does Herself, which was inspired by Phantom Of The Paradise and others, opened in Toronto earlier this month. In an interview with Now Toronto's Norman Wilner, Peaches elaborated on the film's influences:

“The HAU theatre in Berlin asked me to do a production,” Peaches recalls. “And the first thing I said to them was, ‘I’d like to do Jesus Christ Superstar as a one-woman show.’ And they were like, ‘Done. What else? We want a bigger production, we’re gonna get government money,’ blah blah blah. And so I thought of all these ideas – burlesque, Weimar – and then I thought, ‘You know what? I am all that, right now! So I’m just gonna take 20 of my own songs and make a narrative.’”

The one thing she didn’t want to do with the show that became Peaches Does Herself was create a jukebox musical. Peaches hates jukebox musicals.

“They never have anything to do with the band they’re about,” she says, and “also, the asinine dialogue – that’s horrible, I don’t relate.” She gestures to the rest of her crew surrounding her in the diner booth. “That’s the reason why people like us don’t like [those] musicals – it’s never the original artist.

“That’s why I loved Tommy so much as a child,” she says, talking about the Ken Russell movie of the Who’s rock opera. “They’re all in it, and there’s no talking. The entire Acid Queen scene is, like, ingrained in my brain for life. And I also saw Phantom Of The Paradise – the music isn’t actually so great in that, but Brian de Palma did an insane, amazing job. And then Rocky Horror, which has amazing music, amazing production, [an] amazing theme – that’s my holy trilogy, right there.”

But there’s more going on in Peaches Does Herself, thanks to a lifetime of pop culture rattling around in its creator’s brain.

“My mother was really interested in the Busby Berkeley movies and Singin’ In The Rain,” she says, “and all that stuff. I got to pay homage to all those things that I loved, all those other musicals. And we decided to film it.”

Posted by Geoff at 10:38 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 10:58 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brian De Palma's Passion will get the U.S. big-screen treatment this week when it screens twice at the Provincetown International Film Festival in Massachusetts. The festival runs June 19-23. According to the fest's official Film Program, a print provided by eOne will screen at 9:30 pm Wednesday, June 19 (at Art House 2), and also at 10pm Saturday, June 22 (at Town Hall). Also screening at the fest will be Pedro Almodóvar's new film, I'm So Excited, which was shot by José Luis Alcaine, who also shot De Palma's Passion.

In writing about the festival, Edge on the Net's Jake Mulligan states, "There’s no film festival like Provincetown. While other festivals focus on independent films, or genre films, or foreign cinema; The Provincetown International Film Festival casts a wider net. They program their festival based not on arbitrary specifications but based on a mood; each film achieving some semblance of the fierce authorial vision that defines the festival itself."

Mulligan picks ten movies to see at the fest, including Passion, which he says is De Palma's best in more than ten years. "Brian De Palma’s latest film doesn’t open until August," writes Mulligan, "but fans of the Hitchcockian auteur will surely flock to P-Town to see his latest, Passion - it’s his best picture in over ten years. Not since Femme Fatale has the Carrie auteur had this much fun; setting up Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace here as two flirty PR executives engaged in a Parisian battle-of-wits. It’s De Palma, so the sexual tension quickly amplifies into actual sex, and then violence, and then total madness. But the real beauty is in the compositions, in the return of his trademark split-screen, and in his completely visual style of storytelling. Passion doesn’t just show that De Palma is back, it shows that he never went anywhere in the first place."

(Thanks to Patrick for the Passion pic!)

Posted by Geoff at 7:45 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 7:52 PM CDT
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Ed Pressman recently sat down with Huffington Post's Rob Taub to discuss Happy Valley, the Joe Paterno film he is producing for Brian De Palma to direct, with Al Pacino starring. Taub's article originally stated that Frank Langella will portray Jerry Sandusky, who will be a major part of the film. However, by the next day (June 19, 2013), the article had been revised and Langella's name had been removed. A source says that Langella is one of several actors currently under consideration for the part of Sandusky. In any case, Taub writes that Pressman "is a bit cagey" on what exactly the film will cover. "People know the horror of Sandusky's acts," writes Taub, "and are aware of Paterno's complicity, but based on my conversation with Pressman, this film will give audiences a clear understanding of Sandusky's rise to power in the Penn State program and exactly how it brought about Paterno's demise." Pressman is quoted as saying, "It's a complex story." Taub adds that David McKenna has completed a treatment for the film. Here is an excerpt from Taub's article that includes a Paterno anecdote uncovered by McKenna, as well as a quote from Pressman about De Palma:

I have a few friends who were recruited by and played for Paterno, so when Pressman and I sat down recently to discuss the project we swapped JoePa stories. Screenwriter McKenna has compiled many anecdotes and tales about Paterno and one story that struck Pressman was when Paterno took his two daughters to a restaurant where one ordered a la carte while the other chose the buffet. The daughter who ordered a la carte reached over and took a pickle from her sister who had ordered buffet. This made Paterno so furious that he stormed out of the restaurant and had to drive his car around the block in order to calm down.

College coaches -- even the good ones -- have the power of third world despots and come to enjoy the authority and control provided by their positions. Pressman certainly understands this and describes Paterno's story as a "Greek tragedy." His past experience in handling films with scandalous characters has worked out well, as he proved with Reversal of Fortune, where they told Claus Von Bulow's story from the perspective of the victim -- his wife, Sunny. According to Pressman, the Paterno story poses similar challenges, but nothing they can't handle. "It's been many years since I've seen Brian (De Palma) so excited," said Pressman.

Posted by Geoff at 4:17 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:29 PM CDT
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Monday, June 17, 2013

I posted about the video above here at De Palma a la Mod years ago, but it has been bouncing around the internet the past few days, as it seems to have been rediscovered by several outlets, including The Playlist and The Film Stage. The video is an episode of Mark Cousins' BBC series Scene By Scene, in which he interviews Brian De Palma about his life and background before showing him some scenes from his films and discussing them with him.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Outbreak's Greg Srisavasdi, in posting about the upcoming release of De Palma's Passion, added a SoundCloud clip from a radio interview De Palma did at a press junket for Femme Fatale. In the clip, De Palma says: "Well, I'm very influenced by music, so I tend not to listen to it very much at all. Because it too emotionally kind of grabs me. And when I make movies I have to, you know, listen to a lot of orchestral music to figure out what... the composer should write. So I tend to keep away from listening to music. You know, I live in an apartment that has literally nothing much on the walls. I can't be... I'm best in some kind of motel room with nothing around me, because those kinds of things influence what's going on in my head. So I don't tend to expose myself to stimulus like that."

Posted by Geoff at 6:51 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, June 17, 2013 6:52 PM CDT
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 12:06 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, June 16, 2013 2:02 PM CDT
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Saturday, June 15, 2013
WWD's Kristi Garced caught up with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon on the red carpet for last Tuesday night's screening of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, which opened in theaters yesterday. "[The Bling Ring] goes into the archive of great L.A. movies along with Brian De Palma’s Body Double,” Gordon told Garced. “I think that a lot of the [celebrity obsession] drives Los Angeles. The city that people gravitate towards following the setting sun in the west symbolizes death.”

Posted by Geoff at 5:17 PM CDT
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Friday, June 14, 2013
Brian De Palma will be on stage to discuss Passion and take questions from the audience during an hour-long event at 7pm Monday, August 19, at the Film Society Lincoln Center. The event is part of a series called "Summer Talks," an extension of the New York Film Festival Live talks that took place last fall. These events (including the De Palma one) are free and open to the public. The Lincoln Center website states, "Complimentary tickets will be available only at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center box office on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit: One ticket per person." Video of each discussion will also be posted on the website (Filmlinc.com). Passion will open at Film Society on August 30.

"A salacious hit at the 50th New York Film Festival," reads the description at Filmlinc, "Brian De Palma's Passion is a film that is sure to have people talking. De Palma exhibits great panache and a diabolical mastery of frequent, small surprises in his most cinematically ingenious movie since his magical comedy-of-coincidences, Femme Fatale."

The rest of the description is similar to the one posted for the NYFF last year, but it's a fun description, so here it is: "With tongue planted in cheek—or maybe not, it’s up to you to decide—De Palma turns French director Alain Corneau’s 2010 film Love Crime into a droll, erotic tale of female competition. Noomi Rapace more than matches her performance in the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as the assistant to an unscrupulous advertising honcho (Rachel McAdams), who steals her ideas and acts as if it’s all good sport. It’s great fun until De Palma zeros in on the fury in Rapace’s eyes. The De Palma trademarks are all present and deployed with coolly calculated abandon: a brilliant use of split screen, a confusion of identical twins, dreams within dreams, and shoes to die for."

Posted by Geoff at 10:57 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 12:20 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 14, 2013 7:05 AM CDT
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