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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
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

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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The Virtuoso
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No Harm In Charm

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De Palma a la Mod
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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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Tuesday, September 8, 2015
'DRESSED TO KILL' - NANCY ALLEN INTV & MORE
CRITERION EDITION IS RELEASED TODAY; 'DE PALMA' DOC IN VENICE TOMORROW


Above is a snapshot from this week's paper edition of Entertainment Weekly (September 11 2015 issue). Criterion today released Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill, with some nice special features (as widely discussed over the past few weeks), and tomorrow is the world premiere of Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's documentary, De Palma, at the Venice Film Festival. De Palma will also be honored in a special event prior to tomorrow's screening in Venice. But today, it's (almost) all about Dressed To Kill. Here are two very nice links from today, with more to come as I have time in the next couple of days:

Wall Street Journal Blog - Nancy Allen interviewed by Michael Calia

"I think what I gleaned from that was it’s one thing when you shoot a movie on a soundstage. It’s very controlled and easy. You have to — and I don’t know if you’ve been on a soundstage before — but there’s just no energy there, and so you’re constantly having to create and recreate some sort of energy to make something come to life. New York is a rather energetic city, so there’s immediately that hum that’s under everything you do that really energizes, particularly when you’re running around and it’s a thriller. The city already has that kind of energy: fast-paced, on the go, running around. It really helped to energize the work, I think, and the intensity of what we were doing."

Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA

"At the apex of Dressed to Kill is a transsexual serial killer, a dubiously designed villain whose provocative shock value has been drained, replaced by the judgmental disdain inherent in modern conversations concerning politically correct depictions of the Trans community.

"There’s no escaping the archaic depiction of the psychotic Bobbi, even though De Palma clearly took pains to avoid the virulence of homophobia, with macho cop Dennis Franz reduced to the epithet of ‘weirdo’ in his tacky verbalizations. Much like the closing psychologist’s commentary explaining Norman Bates’ mental afflictions in Psycho, we are treated to a similar sequence here as Nancy Allen lays down Transsexuality 101 for Keith Gordon at a fancy restaurant while old biddies listen on in horror directly behind them. But De Palma’s film isn’t aiming for cheap thrills, and Dressed to Kill is actually a much more significantly complex film than the particular Hitchcock title providing nuggets of inspiration.

"De Palma’s tale is an allegory concerning the reconciliation of sexuality with social expectation in a masculine, patriarchal system (reinforced by favored De Palma visual motifs like mirrors, and frequent use of doubling subjects). Clearly, the Bobbi/Dr. Elliott figure is a tortured soul, presented in a rudimentary portrait of battling gender roles a la multiple personality disorder (Bobbi’s voice mail messages eerily resemble those of Dee Wallace’s werewolf stalker in 1981’s The Howling, a similarity of genre tropes equating the notion of gender identity with the ‘trans-species’ underpinning of lycanthropy). But he’s stuck between two much more interesting characters, typified on opposing ends of the feminine spectrum—the mother and the whore.

"Dickinson’s privileged Manhattan housewife, decked out in a puff of blonde hair and completely white wardrobe, is shown pleasuring herself in the shower as her husband ignores her, idly glancing at her in the mirror as he shaves. The neglect of her sexual fulfillment gives way to a fantasy rape sequence, while shortly afterwards we see her husband hunched over her as she overreacts to his inattentive thrusts. Then, there’s Allen’s streetwise prostitute, Liz, arguably the most well-adjusted and well-developed characterization here. Having ownership over her body, clearly using it as a site of commerce on her own terms, she’s comparatively the only sex-positive component. De Palma book-ends the film with Liz’s shower sequence and it suggests something much more insidious. The traumatic experiences of the narrative have tainted her, and her shower sequence ends with the threat of violence previously absent from her sexual dynamic.

"The scenario, and several famous sequences, conveys the navigation of these sexual dynamics within the context of social spaces. Perhaps the most famous instance is a nine minute segment, completely free of dialogue, where Angie Dickinson is shown to be in a museum gazing at the humans passing by her as she continues the banalities of her own existence writing out her grocery list. Of course, she’s interrupted by the dark stranger, and we watch her deliberate her moves in a series of negotiations as complex as chess game. She balks at his initial touch in the museum, leading to a meaningful exchange of her white gloves (what happens with the thrown away glove outside the museum is as important as the one used as bait to get her into a taxi). These ‘pieces’ signifying her white privilege are like symbols from Greek mythology—an aerial shot finds her gliding diagonally down the steps of the museum, a descent bringing her down from the loft of culture into the base, primal desires engaged in within the taxi, one of several contained moving spaces haunted by the specter of sex and violence (the other being a subway sequence with Allen).

"Sexual pleasure and fulfillment outside of one’s assigned role or expectation equals death, and De Palma pumps Dickinson through the shame of venereal disease before providing another clue to her fallen status. Forgetting her ring in the stranger’s bedroom, she takes the elevator back up, only to be greeted by the enraged killer stalking her. The attempt to reclaim her ring, and ascend back into the ranks of her privilege is what seals her fate. Dressed to Kill is about the danger and fear associated in these acts of ‘de-motion.’ De Palma explores this further, not only as the perceived downgrading of the sex-change from male to female but also Caine’s occupational signifiers—as a man he’s a doctor, but a significant sequence finds his female persona donning the uniform of a nurse, hinting at the rippling effect of such a ‘reduction.’"


Posted by Geoff at 10:06 PM CDT
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Monday, September 7, 2015
'PHANTOM' FOOTAGE GOES TO ACADEMY FILM ARCHIVE
SWAN ARCHIVES DONATES MATERIAL, WILL BE PROFESSIONALLY PRESERVED & STORED
This past July, The Swan Archives put up for auction the original outtakes, deleted scenes, and other original materials it had managed to unearth and collect from Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. A reserve price had been met, but when the Academy Film Archive expressed interest in the materials, the Archivist happily canceled the auction. Here's how the excellent news was reported on the Swan Archives News page on August 25th, accompanied by a photo that included the Archivist, Paul Hirsch, and others:
Today, our Principal Archivist delivered our donation of the Archives' collection of outtakes, b-roll, and deleted scenes, in the form of 35mm negatives and interpositives, along with negatives of the TV spots and trailer and related ephemera, to the Academy Film Archive, an arm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in Los Angeles. At the AFA's facilities, the delicate footage will be catalogued, preserved, and stored professionally in the best possible conditions, so that it will be available for whatever use the future sees fit to put it to. Our Archivist (center) was joined for the handoff (and a nice lunch and "backstage" tour of the AFA's facilities) by, from left to right, AMPAS Acquisitions Archivist Howard Prouty; (Ed Pressman's wife) Annie Pressman; AFA Collections Curator Fritz Hertzog; AFA Senior Film Archivist Bill Black; Accessioning Archivist Rachel Rosenfeld from the Margaret Herrick Library; and (Phantom editor) Paul Hirsch. We at the Archives couldn't be happier with this conclusion to our adventure with this material. Now, with our own mission -- to shepherd the material to a hi-def release for the enjoyment of Phantom fans around the world -- accomplished, it's satisfying, and comforting, to know that the footage will be lovingly preserved alongside the tens of thousands of other culturally significant cinematic relics curated by the professionals at the AFA.

Posted by Geoff at 11:16 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2015 10:21 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 5, 2015


Posted by Geoff at 8:55 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 3, 2015
CARLITO MEETS TONY MONTANA IN MASHUP VIDEO
'HELL'S CLUB' EXISTS "OUTSIDE OF TIME, OUTSIDE OF ALL LOGIC"


In a new mashup video posted Monday on YouTube, titled Hell's Club, Antonio Maria Da Silva brilliantly blends nightclub footage from a range of films to create "a place [where] fictional characters meet. Outside of time, outside of all logic," as it reads in the YouTube description, which concludes, "TERMINATOR VERSUS TONY MONTANA VERSUS TOM CRUISE VERSUS CARLITO BRIGANTE VERSUS BLADE VERSUS JOHN TRAVOLTA VERSUS AL PACINO VERSUS PINEAD VERSUS THE MASK VERSUS ROBOCOP VERSUS DARTH VADER VERSUS MICHAEL JACKSON." As can be seen in the above screen shot, one part of the mashup has Carlito Brigante and Tony Montana staring each other down. Here's the video:


Posted by Geoff at 11:24 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:25 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015
LINKS - ALEX ROSS PERRY'S 'QUEEN OF EARTH'
DP SEAN PRICE WILLIAMS CITES DE PALMA AS HE DESCRIBES SPLIT DIOPTERS USED FOR PAINTING SCENES
This past February, after Queen Of Earth screened at the Berlin Film Festival, we noted some links between Alex Ross Perry and Brian De Palma. As Queen Of Earth makes its way through U.S. theaters (and also currently available on demand), here are some links from the past week:

Moviemaker - Sean Price Williams on the tools used for Queen Of Earth
"We shot on an Aaton Super 16mm. I shoot on Aaton all the time if I can, because it’s a comfortable camera. We used some Zeiss 16mm lenses, different speeds. Then we had the Fujinon zoom lens that we relied on while we were outside, which is a fun lens. We also used those split diopters—Brian De Palma is known for using those split diopters in his films. They can look cheesy, but I love Brian De Palma, especially at his cheesiest. I thought it would make sense to use them for the painting scenes."

Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
"There's a lot going on in this modestly scaled movie: It's a meditation on the rickety foundations on which even close friendships can be built, and on the notion of whether or not nature — even with all its soothing sounds and comforting greenery — is really our ally. It's also a teasing admonition that we shouldn't believe everything we see, as well as a stylish, whispery love letter to psychological horror studies like Repulsion, Persona, and possibly Brian De Palma's Sisters."

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club
"In Queen of Earth, writer-director Alex Ross Perry—who does snippy black comedy better than just about anyone else on the current American indie landscape—dials down the humor that has defined his work to this point, and turns up the queasy psychological currents that have always gurgled underneath it. Walking a fine line between pastiche (think early Roman Polanski and Persona-era Ingmar Bergman crossed with the opening scenes of a backwoods grindhouse flick) and bona fide psychodrama, Queen Of Earth works much of the same subject matter—egoism, self-destruction, mutual loathing—as Perry’s earlier films; in fact, it’s not hard to think of it as a companion piece to last year’s superb Listen Up Philip, and not just because the two movies appear to share a fictional universe.

"And yet, there is an innate, affecting strangeness to Queen Of Earth, which is pitched somewhere halfway between actor’s showcase and creepy formal exercise, continually foreshadowing a burst of psychotic violence that never comes...

"Like all of Perry’s prior features, Queen Of Earth was shot on 16mm, though here he and his longtime cinematographer, Sean Price Williams, go for a slightly different, trickier formal palette. Both the director’s little-seen debut, Impolex, and his breakthrough feature, The Color Wheel, climaxed with talky, nearly-10-minute long takes that stuck the audience straight into the characters’ emotional trauma; here, he pulls one together early on, structured as a series of eerily intimate close-ups in which the slowly panning camera draws the viewer into Catherine and Ginny’s characters while establishing the connection (or lack thereof) between them. Brian De Palma-style split diopter shots—in which both foreground and background are in focus, separated by a fuzzy middle—recur, making for an effective visual metaphor for the central relationship."

Matthew Jacobs, Huffington Post
"Told in the vein of the classic genre that Perry describes as 'psychotic-women cinema' -- think Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Brian De Palma's Sisters with a touch of Rosemary's Baby and Woody Allen's Interiors -- Queen of Earth is an eerie look at the claustrophobia that sets in when childhood fixtures become relics."

Also note that for its cover story on Mistress America, the July/August 2015 issue of Film Comment includes an interview with Noah Baumbach conducted by Alex Ross Perry.


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2015 12:20 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015
TWEET - VARIETY'S GUY LODGE IN VENICE

Posted by Geoff at 5:49 PM CDT
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Monday, August 31, 2015
TWEET: BRYAN FULLER - HANNIBAL MIC DROP
AND MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: 'HANNIBAL' REDEFINED HOW WE TELL STORIES ON TELEVISION



Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz on Hannibal
"The sophisticated aesthetic developed by Fuller (and his many collaborators, whose ranks include a number of visually oriented directors and a few veteran cinematographers, such as Guillermo S. Navarro, who shot numerous Guillermo del Toro films and directed the 11th and 12th episodes of season three). The aesthetic is the reason why, despite being the most gruesome drama ever aired on network TV, Hannibal never felt unacceptably brutal to me. It is, no question about it, ultraviolent, but not in the manner of a cheap slasher film. It is ultraviolent in the manner of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill and The Fury, and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and A Clockwork Orange (which Hannibal quotes by scoring Jack's beating of the doctor to Gioachino Rossini's 'The Thieving Magpie') and touchstones of religious painting, such as Tintoretto’s 1565 painting of Christ’s crucifixion. It is 'studied' in the best way, i.e., thoughtful, considered. It is concerned mainly with exploring what violent actions mean (to us, and to the story) rather than simply attempting to replicate the physical experience of suffering (although it does that, too; every wounding and death on the show is viscerally jolting and also often carries an emotional charge)."

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 12:27 AM CDT
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Friday, August 28, 2015
TWEETS - MARIO TOSI & 'CARRIE'

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
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TWEET - DTK POSTER IN 'MISTRESS AMERICA'

Posted by Geoff at 11:52 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 27, 2015
JOE AHEARNE TALKS 'ONE WAY OR DE PALMA'
BLONDIE'S SONG & DE PALMA'S IMAGES "SHARE A CERTAIN OBSESSIVE QUALITY"

One Way Or De Palma from Joe Ahearne on Vimeo.

Rob Dean at A.V. Club asked Joe Ahearne about the creation of the excellent video he posted on Vimeo recently, One Way Or De Palma, in which he masterfully edited images from the films of Brian De Palma, setting them to a soundtrack of Blondie's One Way Or Another. Here is what Ahearne had to say to Dean:

I saw my first De Palma film when I was 17—Dressed To Kill—and that film taught me what it was a director does. It was only on repeated viewings that I realised what was happening with the slow motion (so gripped was I, I didn’t even realise the film had slowed down), the music, the colour, the editing, the framing, the camera moves, the story-telling (later on of course I realised what a superb director of actors he was too). And I hunted down all his films before and since (almost—haven’t seen Get To Know Your Rabbit yet!). I grew up on spectacle like Star Wars but De Palma showed me how a director could invest human scale drama with even more extraordinary emotion and intensity. Anyone who’s seen any of the stuff I’ve done who loves De Palma will easily spot the influences.

For a long time I’ve wanted to use De Palma’s images against Blondie’s “One Way or Another.” They share a certain obsessive quality. It was so great viewing De Palma’s last 22 films and appreciating him like a great composer, enjoying the reworking and recapitulation and reframing of themes - hearing his voice, I suppose. What really came home to me this time (I’ve seen them all many times) was what a master of colour he is. I tried to reflect that in the cut.


Ahearne said 22 films, but his video actually includes clips from De Palma's last 23 films, from Sisters on through Passion (with Home Movies and Wise Guys included in the mix).

Posted by Geoff at 11:50 PM CDT
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