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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
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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

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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

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(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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De Palma a la Mod

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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Scream Factory today released the details about its upcoming Blu-ray edition of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, which will be released August 5th. If you pre-order straight from ShoutFactory ($21.95), they are offering an exclusive 18"x24" poster of the new cover artwork, but only while supplies last. The Scream Factory press release repeats the news that the Swan Archives reported a couple of weeks ago: that there will be two discs included in the package. The first is a Blu-ray of the original movie, along with several new commentaries and new interviews, and the second disc is a DVD packed with special features old and new. Below is the rundown from the press release, but be sure to check the Swan Archives' News Page for a details about where each feature originally appeared.


High-Definition transfer of the film
NEW Audio Commentary with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and the Juicy Fruits (Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor and Harold Oblong aka Peter Eibling)
NEW Audio Commentary with Production Designer Jack Fisk
NEW Interview with director Brian DePalma (36 minutes)
NEW Interview with Paul Williams talking about the music of PHANTOM (30 minutes)
NEW Interview with Make-up Effects wizard Tom Burman discussing the Phantom Helmet


Paradise Regained – documentary on the making of the film featuring director Brian DePalma, Producer Edward R. Pressman, William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and more… (50 minutes)
Interview with Paul Williams moderated by Guillermo Del Toro (72 minutes)
Interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton (10 minutes)
NEW Interview with producer Edward R. Pressman (15 minutes)
NEW Interview with drummer Gary Mallaber (15 minutes)
NEW Alvin’s Art and Technique – a look at the neon poster (15 minutes)
NEW Phantom of the Paradise Biography by Gerrit Graham - 1974 Publicity Sheet written by and read by Graham (8 minutes)
Alternate Takes (40 minutes) Swan Song Outtake Footage (10 minutes)
Radio Spots
TV Spots
Theatrical Trailer
Still Gallery

Meanwhile, Phantom Of The Paradise will be screened from DCP at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles this Saturday at midnight.

This past Sunday, the Billboard Awards show on ABC-TV included a Michael Jackson holograph performing one of the songs included on the new posthumous release, Xscape. Today, Vulture's Geeta Dayal posted an essay that, at one point, linked the ghostly Jackson to the Phantom Of The Paradise. Here's an excerpt from Dayal's post:


Sunday's unsettling hologram performance at the Billboard Awards showed, once and for all, that the thriving Michael Jackson industry doesn’t need Michael Jackson to survive. Jackson is a global corporation, a portfolio of investments — a lucrative moneymaking machine that hums along, with or without a human at the controls.

Xscape — a potpourri of exhumed Jackson demos and discarded tracks, organized by L.A. Reid and fleshed out by top producers including Timbaland and Rihanna hitmakers Stargate — is currently the No. 2 album in the country. While it’s a bit odd to see the King of Pop lagging behind the Black Keys, the current No. 1 act, being second best isn’t too shabby when you’ve been dead for five years. All in all, Xscape — eight “new” songs in total, which go back as far as 1983 — is an admirable effort to make a full meal out of reheated leftovers...

Part of what made Jackson’s holographic performance so bizarre was the song itself: “Slave to the Rhythm,” a song on Xscape that was originally recorded in 1991 during the Dangerous sessions. The song is not half bad, though it’s easy to see why it was kept on the cutting-room floor until 2014. “She’s a slave to the rhythm,” Jackson sings, ostensibly about a woman. “She danced through the night/In fear of her life/She danced to a beat of her own,” Jackson continues urgently, filling in gaps with his requisite “hee-hees” and perfectly placed hiccups. But the song sounds autobiographical — you could think of it as Jackson’s ghost, talking about his own tortured afterlife. Jackson, five years after his death, is a slave to the rhythm — shackled by the corporate interests that refuse to let him rest in peace. He’s the phantom in Brian De Palma’s creepy 1974 classic Phantom of the Paradise — the sad, undead guy in the skintight black leather outfit who forgot that he signed a recording contract in his own blood, who’s now trapped in a recording studio and forced to craft megahits for eternity.

Jackson is an unending source of income, spinning out in all directions until the end of time. Like the Star Wars franchise, there will be sequels — and when the sequels are done, there will be prequels. Hundreds of unused songs — demos, outtakes, and other bits and pieces — are said to be in Jackson’s vaults. As holographic technology inevitably improves, the possibilities for live performances in the future will be endless. But perhaps we should leave Jackson be instead of trying to digitally reanimate him for eternity. In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith, after witnessing a Darth Vader hologram slay a Jedi, “I can’t watch any more.”


Posted by Geoff at 5:26 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Beginning today, the Caixa Cultural Curitiba in Brazil presents a 15-film Brian De Palma retrospective, which runs until May 25th, with free admission. The full program can be read online at issuu.com. The program consists of three films per day, with a focus on De Palma's mostly lesser-known films, although Carrie is included, as well. Today the series opens with Bonfire Of The Vanities, Snake Eyes, and Redacted. Each day's final film will be followed by an audience discussion led by a guest critic. The line-up of critics: Ruy Gardnier, Nikola Matevski, Victor Guimarães, Francis Vogner dos Reis and Marcelo Miranda. In addition, there will be a two-day course on May 24-25, titled "The Cinema of Brian De Palma - Belief in the Suspect Image," conducted by critic Paulo Santos Lima.

The retrospective's curator, critic and filmmaker João Toledo, is quoted at Suplemento Cultural: "Brian De Palma flirts with a grandiose and operatic form of cinema, but also with the vulgarity of its falsity, with the levity of its dreams - and his images collide in this middle ground between the tacky , the caricature, the grotesque and the magical, the sublime, the beautiful."

(Thanks to Renato!)

Posted by Geoff at 1:19 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:20 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Jonas Alexander Arnby's When Animals Dream premiered at Cannes yesterday as part of the festival's Critic's Week lineup. Arnby tells Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione that with this film, about a young woman who turns into a werewolf, he and his team "wanted to do a coming-of-age film about a girl who develops from A to B." He further tells Tartaglione that his biggest inspiration for the film was Brian De Palma's Carrie. "It really succeeds in making a realistic approach but still having a universe that seduces you," Arnby said of Carrie.

Here are links to some of the reviews coming out of Cannes:

Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg, Twitch
"This is a tremendous feature debut, haunting and elegaic, while not shying away from violence and sex. There is certainly no subtlety to the film; but then again, werewolves aren't meant to be subtle."

Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
"A teenage girl’s awakening sexuality quite literally brings out the beast in her in When Animals Dream (Nar dyrene drommer), an atmospheric fantasy chiller that marks an accomplished feature debut from director Jonas Alexander Arnby."

Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter
"Jonas Alexander Arnby's debut feature is a confident and good-looking work that owes more to the Nordic Noir gloom of Let The Right One In than to the sanitized fluff of Twilight or the comic-book carnage of the Underworld franchise...Initially too slow to share its obvious secrets, When Animals Dream only clicks into full-blooded horror mode in its final act when hairy, scary Marie embarks on a Carrie-style rampage of revenge against the neighbors who previously made her life hell. Stylish but slight, Arnby's debut feature ultimately sticks within werewolf movie conventions, adding little fresh to the form. That said, it should appeal to more highbrow genre fans who like a bit of European arthouse angst with their throat-ripping gore."

Posted by Geoff at 12:26 AM CDT
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Posted by Geoff at 5:11 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 5:02 PM CDT
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Saturday, May 17, 2014
Variety's Leo Barraclough reports from Cannes today that Brian De Palma is among several filmmakers who will appear as interviewees in the upcoming feature documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, which looks at the book of the same name and is based on the recordings (of Alfred Hitchcock discussing his career with Francois Truffaut) that led to its completion. Kent Jones is directing the movie, which will be released in 2015. It will also include interviews with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, James Gray, Richard Linklater, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Olivier Assayas, and Arnaud Desplechin. Barraclough reports that "the directors will share how the book shaped their careers, transformed cinema and introduced the French New Wave and 'New Hollywood' to the world."

Barraclough adds, "The film will journey through the extensive series of conversations between Hitchcock and Truffaut, illustrating their love for filmmaking and demonstrating their impact on world cinema. Scenes from Hitchcock’s films will be intercut with comment from the filmmakers. Segments from the 1962 original recordings between the two filmmakers will also feature, allowing audiences to hear candid discussions between Hitchcock and Truffaut, and to witness first-hand a quintessential moment in cinematic history."

"For me, in many ways, cinema began with Francois Truffaut’s book about Alfred Hitchcock,” Jones tells Barraclough. “For me, and for many others, the book was more than formative — it was essential and direct.”

The book, of course, made a cameo in De Palma's Greetings (as shown above).

Posted by Geoff at 4:51 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 17, 2014 4:53 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 15, 2014
RogerEbert.com published an excerpt today about Brian De Palma from David Greven's book, Psycho-Sexual. Here's the closing paragraph of the excerpt:

De Palma was one of the first film directors to treat Hitchcock as an established film grammar, a genre unto himself. By treating Hitchcock as a school rather than merely as a predecessor or competitor whose works could provide an example for commercial success, De Palma forced audiences to reconsider and relive the traumas and implications of Hitchcock’s cinema. The “proper” way to use a predecessor is, apparently, to evoke certain effects and instances of technique, but not to dwell on them. Steven Spielberg’s "Jaws" (1975) famously opens with a highly effective and disturbing variation on Psycho’s shower-murder sequence—the skinny-dipping girl’s nighttime swim and murderous attack from the shark—but then proceeds to camouflage all of its borrowings from Hitchcock. If Spielberg makes use of Hitchcock, he does so only sparingly, such as, to give another example, his evocation of the Mount Rushmore sequence in "North by Northwest" in his "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), when the hero and his female ally try to scale Devil’s Mountain surreptitiously. De Palma’s use of Hitchcock certainly isn’t sparing; it’s the whole meal. He recreates Hitchcock’s major effects and then languorously, disturbingly distends them. In so doing, De Palma solicits criticism, but he also forces us to rethink Hitchcock and the work of the cinematic past generally. De Palma’s metatextual meditations are not ends to themselves but, instead, tethered to much larger political and social concerns. And these concerns are with the gendered and sexual logic of patriarchy and what happens to individuals when they attempt to challenge and, much more threateningly, break free of the social order.

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:58 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
In a "Monkey See" essay for NPR, Linda Holmes discusses three pop culture activities she experienced last weekend, including reading Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy, which details the making of Brian De Palma's The Bonfire Of The Vanities. One of the other two activities involved spending about five hours on Saturday at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art with a rented audio guide unit. The third is described by Holmes at the beginning of this excerpt from her essay:

Saturday night at 8:00, I saw a live performance of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker's "staged production in the style of old-time radio." It was packed with comedy podcast royalty and guests, including Paul F. Tompkins, Scott Aukerman, Scott Adsit, Paget Brewster, Wyatt Cenac, Busy Phillips, Zachary Levi, Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm, John Hodgman, Marc Evan Jackson, too many funny people to list if we're being perfectly serious as you can now see, and Dick "Yes, That Dick Cavett" Cavett. They performed radio plays about vampires, Martians, time travel, glamorous married people drinking to excess, robot hands, a succubus, and roving bands of invisible stupid wise men. The audience at Town Hall whooped and roared so unreservedly that a lady sitting near me kept sticking her fingers in her ears, overwhelmed.

In between, and all weekend, I read The Devil's Candy: The Anatomy Of A Hollywood Fiasco, Julie Salamon's 464-page, more than 20-year-old book – dishy, sad, and fascinating – about the making and flopping of Brian De Palma's film The Bonfire Of The Vanities. In the book, a project that begins with the conviction that adapting Tom Wolfe's novel can only result in the rare film both admirable and popular suffers wound upon wound: an unrealistic schedule, unrelenting industry gossip, a cynical casting change, location debacles (one involving a scene that couldn't be shot as planned in the Temple of Dendur), resistance in the Bronx to stereotypical depictions thereof, enormous egos coexisting about as successfully as a family of elephants in a college dorm room, and the fact that from the beginning, Wolfe's acidic outlook seems utterly incompatible with the desire – and, given the money being spent, the imperative – to make a hit.

At the museum, there is an ivory comb from the Egyptian Predynastic Period. Roughly 3200 B.C., they say. They suggest it might have been part of the accoutrements of someone's funeral more than 5000 years ago; more than 20 times the entire history of the country the museum is housed in. More than 115 times as long as I've been alive. The teeth of the comb are broken off; what remains is a little more than two inches tall and a little less than two inches wide, and those four square inches hold more than 20 individual renderings of animals. The carvings have symbolic significance, but they're also carefully and elegantly done, particularly on a piece so small. The comb played a role, perhaps, in an important ritual, but it's also a beautiful object, like many of the drums and bowls and pieces of blown glass.

The piece was, then, meant to be an offering of the artist's skills, to convey a meaning, to evoke an emotion, and to bring pleasure. So was The Bonfire Of The Vanities. So was The Thrilling Adventure Hour.

Those aren't the only purposes to which these other works are being put: the film was also engineered to make money, of course, perhaps cripplingly so. The live show, while far less damned by its relationship to commerce, is part of the performers' livelihoods particularly in the broad sense, since many of them remain people whose projects might well be described using, at some point, the word "cult." It supports you, the cult, but only sometimes does it keep you in food and shelter. And it demands to be fed in return, of course.

The Bonfire Of The Vanities didn't just aspire to keep people in food and shelter; it aspired to keep people in mansions and private planes. What it doesn't have that The Thrilling Adventure Hour has is an animating love of the material. Everyone involved seemed to have assumed Wolfe's book was capital-G Great, whether or not they had read it, but they began excising its controversial elements – which in this case meant its essential elements – almost immediately. There was so much money, there were so many trailers, there was so much fake rain, there were so many gowns and extras ... but the way Salamon tells the tale, few of them were – maybe nobody was – there for love.


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:07 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Le Grand Action in Paris is featuring a Vilmos Zsigmond retrospective this month ("Vilmos Zsigmond passe à l'action") that began May 10 and 11 with the two films he shot for Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate. In all, eleven of the cinematographer's films will be screened: the two Ciminos, both films he made with Richard Donner (Maverick and Assassins), the four that he's made with Brian De Palma (Obsession, Blow Out, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, and The Black Dahlia), and the three that he's made with Woody Allen (Melinda & Melinda, Cassandra's Dream, and You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger).

Zsigmond will be on hand to present select screenings, including the May 17th screening of Blow Out, in which he will discuss his work with De Palma. In addition, there will be a master class with Zsigmond on May 18th, and Zsigmond will be given carte blanche to discuss and screen four film selections: Federico Fellini's La Strada, Luchino Visconti's Death In Venice, Carol Reed's The Third Man, and Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D.

Posted by Geoff at 6:28 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:29 PM CDT
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Monday, May 12, 2014
Adrian Martin has written a "World Wide Angle" piece for Film Krant that takes off from the blind spots that are inevitable in "Greatest Films" lists. "Whenever my eye falls upon yet another 'Greatest Films of All Time' list," Martin begins, "I think about the filmmakers — undoubtedly fine and significant filmmakers — who, on most occasions, do not come within a million miles of being deified by such exercises in canon-making. They get chopped off the list very early in the cull. Brian De Palma, Mario Bava, John Carpenter, Dario Argento, William Friedkin, even Sergio Leone: just a few of the directors (all of us can name many more) who have given us works that we enjoy, teach, analyse, write about and cherish."

After briefly going through some of the regulars that usually show up on such lists, Martin brings it back to De Palma:
When it comes to the significance of a director like him in world cinema, there is another way of looking at the question. In short, some filmmakers are important not so much for the richness of their art (as judged by conventional terms), but the role they play, the significance they have, in a film spectator's life.

What really matters is your encounter, at some key moment of your developmental biography, with the work of a particular director. So there is a De Palma Age (for example) in the autobiographies of many of us — just as there is, for instance, a David Bowie Age or a Sylvia Plath Age or a Philip K. Dick Age.

Several generations of cinephiles and aspiring filmmakers have received a thrilling, formative sense of what cinema can be from the bracing experience of seeing, for the first time, Carrie (1976), Dressed to Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981), Carlito's Way (1993) and Femme Fatale (2002). It does not matter whether you were 15 years old in 1976 or 20 years old today, whether it's a Cinémathèque screen or a laptop: that formative thrill is the same.

Discovering a De Palma movie for the first time, soaking up its elaborate formal conceits, is to have one's eyes opened by boundlessly inventive tricks with time, space, narrative and perspective. Cinema is more than De Palma, but anyone can start to discover cinema through De Palma, as many of us have. And that is no bad thing.

It also does not matter if, later in life, we convince ourselves that we may have grown beyond what could be described, in retrospect, as an adolescent passion: it has lodged in there, inside of us, helped to form our sensibilities. And De Palma is one of the great sensibility-shapers of modern cinema.


(Thanks to Yusef!)

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 11:43 PM CDT
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