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De Palma a la Mod

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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
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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The Virtuoso
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No Harm In Charm

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and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
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italkyoubored

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So Why This Movie?

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This Recording

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Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

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De Palma a la Mod
site

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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Are Snakes Necessary?
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016
TRAILER FOR 'DE PALMA' DOCUMENTARY
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 10

Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 4:53 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016
TWEETS: DE PALMA SPOKE AT CLASS IN NY TODAY





Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, April 18, 2016
'THE RADICAL COMEDIES OF BRIAN DE PALMA'
PODCAST LOOKS AT DE PALMA'S COMEDIES FROM 1968-1980
Illusion Travels By Streetcar: A Podcast About Cinema looks at "The Radical Comedies of Brian De Palma" in episode #98. The podcast discussion takes off from the idea that the De Palma of Hi, Mom! would be the perfect choice to direct a version of The Bonfire Of The Vanities, if that latter film had been made in De Palma's early days. From there, the conversation goes off in several interesting directions, and includes rare discussion and pointed references from films such as Get To Know Your Rabbit, Dionysus In '69 (even though it's "not a comedy"), and more. Definitely worth a listen.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 12:34 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 17, 2016
EBERTFEST - PACKED CROWD FOR 'BLOW OUT'
NANCY ALLEN IN ATTENDANCE, LEONARD MALTIN Q&A, CHILLING SCREAMS, BEAUTIFUL FILM


Last night (Saturday) at Ebertfest, Nancy Allen presented Brian De Palma's Blow Out to a packed house at the Virginia Theatre (which seats 1463) in Champaign, Illinois. In her introduction, Allen giddily told the crowd the film was about to be projected from a 35mm print. The day before, Allen had graciously sat down with me for an interview for "De Palma a la Mod" (I'll post that later, after I get it all transcribed), and she talked about screening a 35mm print of RoboCop at a recent fundraiser, and how much more alive and gorgeous the film was than when she has seen it screened digitally. So she was really looking forward to the Blow Out.

And what an amazing experience it was, watching Blow Out projected in 35mm on the huge Virginia screen, and with hundreds of other people, many of whom were seeing the film for the first time. As with each film shown at Ebertfest, the audience paid attention to every shot, every line of dialogue, laughed at every joke, even finding humor in places that remind one what it is like to see the film for the first time-- what a joy. There were a few scattered bits of seemingly-derisive laughter during the climactic shots of John Travolta running in slow motion, and a guy behind me also cackled a bit as the fireworks surround Jack as he looks down at, and then holds, Sally-- Matt Zoller Seitz, who was also in attendance, was right on with his "jackass" comment on Twitter (see below for several of his tweets from last night).

Yet these occurances did not appear to diminish the film for most of the audience. For me, who (of course) has seen this film a million times (so to speak), the experience of seeing and hearing Sally run to the edge of the roof and scream out at the top of her lungs, with the enormous American flag behind her, brought everything home in a chilling and emotional way. Right here, the film hit me in the gut with its message of heart and passion-- truth-- hidden within a sea of hackery.

After the film, Allen was joined on stage by Leonard Maltin for a discussion and Q&A with the audience. Maltin marveled at the film as a tribute to analog technology, from tape recorders, to film-development shops, to pay phones (and more). Allen mentioned how everyone seems in a hurry these days, noting the audience's patience in watching the long dialogue scenes in Blow Out. An article about that Q&A, and hopefully a video, will eventually post to RogerEbert.com. My own interview with Nancy will post here sometime this week. Meanwhile, here is a link to an interview she did prior to the screening with the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette. Talking about Roger Ebert, whose review of the film appears in the Ebertfest 2016 program, Allen told the newspaper's Paul Wood, "A lot of critics didn't get Blow Out, but Roger and Pauline Kael did."

The Daily Illini's Shalayne Pulia interviewed Allen right after the Q&A, asking for (among other questions) her advice to young women trying to carve a career in film. "Don’t let anyone tell you ‘No’," replied Allen. "You teach people how to treat you. If I had stopped when people started telling me ‘No,’ I wouldn’t have had a career. If you look at it as an adventure of where you’re supposed to be, if they say ‘No,’ just keep going until you end up where you’re supposed to be. Follow your bliss; the money will follow."







Posted by Geoff at 9:32 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 17, 2016 9:56 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 16, 2016
'DE PALMA' DOC COMING JUNE 10 - POSTER BELOW
AND LINK TO MOVIE GEEKS UNITED REVIEW OF FILM
De Palma, the documentary by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, will hit theaters June 10, it was revealed yesterday. Meanwhile, Jamey DuVall at Movie Geeks United reviews the film.

Posted by Geoff at 2:05 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 14, 2016
TWEET: VIOLENT FEMMES DRUMMER
"ALMOST MADE IT INTO THE UNTOUCHABLES"

Posted by Geoff at 11:27 AM CDT
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016
DE PALMA ATTACHED TO 'THE TRUTH & OTHER LIES'
BLACK COMEDY W/SCREENPLAY ADAPTED BY NOVEL'S AUTHOR SASCHA ARANGO
Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. reports today that Brian De Palma is attached to direct the film adaptation of last year's novel The Truth And Other Lies. The novel, which won the European prize for best literary debut (the Prix Européen du Polar du Point, according to Fleming), was written by Sascha Arango, who had previously made a name for himself in Germany as a writer for television. Arango has adapted the novel into the screenplay for the film.

"The main character is famous writer Henry Hayden," states Fleming, "whose façade of being a virtuous, loving husband is in danger of falling apart when his mistress becomes pregnant. He tries to get rid of her but makes a terrible mistake in the process. In order to keep the past from catching up with him, Henry must manage a growing series of lies and complications."

"I have tried to portray Henry Hayden as a human product of modern meritocracy, where the individual is no longer defined by moral integrity, but by power and success,” Arango said, according to Fleming. “In the Facebook era, the original becomes indistinguishable from fake. Success replaces faith and becomes religion.”

According to Fleming, the novel was optioned by Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions. Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz and Nick Wechsler are the producers, with Roger Schwartz listed as a co-producer.

NOVEL REVIEW: VERY LITTLE EMOTION, MATTER-OF-FACT STYLE DESPITE HORROR, SEVERE STORMS...
In his review of the novel last year, Huffington Post's Jackie K. Cooper stated that the book's events were played out "with very little emotion. Arango’s style of writing is to make everything matter of fact no matter how horrific it becomes. It is a plodding way to write but somehow this technique becomes intensely interesting. It shouldn’t be but it is.

"The writing of this story is so bare bones that the locale is never clearly defined. You learn it takes place somewhere in Europe and it is a coastal village, but not much else. There are storms that occur here and some are very severe. There are people in the village with emotional problems and some of them are severe, but details as to why and how they arise are never specified."

A week and a half ago, at the Beaune Thriller Film Fest, De Palma told press that he was currently working to finalize the screenplay for Lights Out, which he hopes to begin shooting this summer in China and Canada.


Posted by Geoff at 3:01 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016
'TAXI DRIVER' 40TH ANNIVERSARY - ORAL HISTORY
SCHRADER, DE NIRO, SCORSESE, MORE TALK TO THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver was released 40 years ago, and will get a special screening Thursday, April 21, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Ahead of that, last week The Hollywood Reporter posted an "oral history" of the film. In the following excerpt from the beginning of the article, screenwriter Paul Schrader, producer Michael Phillips, and Scorsese discuss how they became involved, noting the important role Brian De Palma played in suggesting the right person to direct the picture:
PAUL SCHRADER (screenwriter) I had a series of things falling apart, a breakdown of my marriage, a dispute with the AFI, I lost my reviewing job. I didn't have any money and I took to drifting, more or less living in my car, drinking a lot, fantasizing. The Pussycat Theater in L.A. would be open all night long, and I'd go there to sleep. Between the drinking and the morbid thinking and the pornography, I went to the emergency room with a bleeding ulcer. I was about 27, and when I was in the hospital, I realized I hadn't spoken to anyone in almost a month. So that's when the metaphor of the taxi cab occurred to me — this metal coffin that moves through the city with this kid trapped in it who seems to be in the middle of society but is in fact all alone. I knew if I didn't write about this character I was going to start to become him — if I hadn't already. So after I got out of the hospital, I crashed at an ex-girlfriend's place, and I just wrote continuously. The first draft was maybe 60 pages, and I started the next draft immediately, and it took less than two weeks. I sent it to a couple of friends in L.A., but basically there was no one to show it to [until a few years later]. I was interviewing Brian De Palma, and we sort of hit it off, and I said, "You know, I wrote a script," and he said, "OK, I'll read it."

MICHAEL PHILLIPS (producer) [My then-wife] Julia and I were living on Nichols Beach, and our next-door neighbors were Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt, and Brian De Palma was living with Margot at the time. Brian said to me one day, "There's this guy who has written a screenplay. It's not really for me, but I think it's your taste." It was incredibly pure, a very honest piece of work. So I went to my two partners at the time, Julia and Tony Bill, and proposed we acquire it for $1,000, and by a two-to-one vote — Tony and I voted to acquire it, and Julia voted against it — we acquired the option.

MARTIN SCORSESE (director) Brian gave me the script. I reacted very viscerally, almost mystically to it and its tone and the struggle of the character. But I was still trying to get them to take me seriously as a filmmaker. I'd done a low-budget independent film called Who's That Knocking [at My Door] and an exploitation film for Roger Corman called Boxcar Bertha. I liked Julia a lot, but she kept pushing me away, dismissive, but funny. She'd just tell me, "Come around again when you've done something more than Boxcar Bertha."

PHILLIPS It took several years to get made. One day Paul suggested we see a rough cut of [Scorsese's] Mean Streets, and midway through, I really felt this is our guy. Johnny Boy [played by Robert De Niro] is our actor. So we made a proposal to Marty and Bob's agent. They both had to do it or neither. I mean it was silly, in retrospect.

ROBERT DE NIRO (Travis Bickle) We all liked the script a lot and wanted to do it and were committed to it.

MICHAEL CHAPMAN (cinematographer) I realized years later that it's a kind of folk tale or urban legend. It's a werewolf movie in a weird way. Even his hair changes. There are these things that are wandering around in the night that are dangerous. In this case, the werewolf saves the girl, instead of killing the girl.

PHILLIPS We went about trying to shop it, and it was rejected. Then Marty went off to do Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Bobby went off to do Godfather [Part II] and 1900.

SCORSESE I remember Robert De Niro winning that Oscar for Godfather: Part II. That night Francis Coppola accepted for Bob, who was shooting another film, and I was there, and Francis told me, "It's going to be good for your film."


Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
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Monday, April 11, 2016
THE LATE JIM RIDLEY'S 2013 REVIEW OF 'PASSION'
NASHVILLE SCENE FILM CRITIC DIED APRIL 8 FOLLOWING CARDIAC EVENT
Jim Ridley, the Nashville Scene writer and editor, died April 8. "He had collapsed after suffering a cardiac event in the Scene offices on March 28, and never regained consciousness," stated Nashville Scene's Jack Silverman in a post. "He was 50 years old." Ridley was one of the sharpest film critics around, and his review of Brian De Palma's Passion, from 2013, cuts deep into the movie with insightful wit to spare. Here's an excerpt:
Passion is a Brian De Palma movie for a world chilled by narcissism and held rapt by its own reflection. The director has devoted his career to the warping impact of surveillance culture, where everyone is a watcher or passive voyeur — in front of the big screen, the TV, the computer monitor — and conversely, everyone is watched. Long before the laptop, the iPhone and Skype, there was De Palma Nation, a place where everybody was either on camera or behind one. Because of the bulky, prohibitively expensive equipment, the latter group was limited — either to professionals, like John Travolta's sound engineer in Blow Out, or obsessives, like Keith Gordon's gadget-prone amateur sleuth in Dressed to Kill.

But technology has surpassed the spycam society forecast in early De Palma classics like Hi, Mom! and Sisters. Anyone with a cellphone can be both star and director of his own YouTube-documented life, which sounds like nothing so much as the setup for one of De Palma's loopy, sinuous erotic thrillers. In fact, it's a pretty apt description of Passion, a wickedly funny exercise in the audience misdirection and technocratic hoodwinkery that's been this filmmaker's stock in trade for nearly five decades. Its corporate milieu is an orchard of gleaming little trademark Apples, most of them concealing worms.

De Palma borrows the hothouse plot of Alain Corneau's 2010 French thriller Love Crime — its co-writer, Natalie Carter, gets a dialogue credit here — but gives it a cold-to-the-touch sheen and a clammy metallic palette that's at ironic odds with the title. (It was shot on 35mm but transferred to digital, which mutes the steamy lushness that marks De Palma's thrillers.) When color bleeds through this sterile environment, it's typically the siren-red lipstick worn by Christine (Rachel McAdams), a coolly kinky executive at a Berlin advertising agency where the glass planes and slashing angles suggest the Apple Store of Dr. Caligari.

So self-obsessed she likes her lovers to wear a doll-mask facsimile of her own features, Christine is grooming an avid protégé, Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), who covets her boss's power and modernist digs down to the upholstery on her sofa. De Palma poses them in the frame like mirror images, and Christine can't help but try shaping her underling into a human selfie. "You need some color," she coos to Isabelle, applying her lipstick as well as her lips.

But Isabelle isn't such an eager apprentice once Christine hogs the credit for her viral smartphone ad campaign — a spot that only looks like an updating of the reality-TV "Peeping Toms" gag that opens De Palma's 1973 Sisters, but is in fact a replica of an actual guerrilla YouTube ad. The ad mixes the director's favorite ingredients, sex and spying — and so does the mad soap-opera-on-steroids revenge fantasy that follows, as Isabelle sleeps with Christine's shady colleague-lover (Paul Anderson) and her boss rigs a nasty public payback.

Each step of this battle is registered on screens, even screens within screens, creating a hall of mirrors that fires the gaze back at the gazer: the "ass cam" that secretly films leering gawkers, the sex tape where the parties stare into each other's eyes only when they watch themselves on a monitor. Imagine what this plethora of recording devices means to the man who once called film 24 lies a second. De Palma plays this mediated alienation for queasy-funny effect, as when Isabelle lies in bed with her hands in masturbatory position — only they're poised over her laptop rather than her lap. The two women's fight is personal, all right, but so much of it is waged on a digital playing field that they might as well be videogame avatars. But some things you still have to do the old-fashioned way. That's when a knife comes in handy.

Shot by Almodovar's longtime cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine — the Spanish director's resolutely De Palma-esque melodrama The Skin I Live In was good practice — Passion shows De Palma reveling in the blatant craziness of his contrivances. (This features perhaps the quintessential De Palma line of dialogue: "You have a twin sister?") Rapace's Edvard Munch cheekbones and startled eyes do the heavy lifting of her performance, but McAdams, firmly back in Mean Girls mode, delivers her vicious lines with venomous zest. De Palma introduces more and more variables into the scenario, leading to a split-screen showstopper where high art and low crime compete for the viewer's attention. Guess what wins.


Posted by Geoff at 12:55 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 10, 2016
'DE PALMA' DOC AT ISTANBUL FILM FESTIVAL
CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS
De Palma, the documentary about Brian De Palma made by Jake Paltrow and Noah Baumbach, screened this past Friday (April 8) at the 35th Istanbul Film Festival. The film will screen again tomorrow, April 11. The fest's description of the film goes like this: "An exciting look at the idiosyncratic cinema of the living legend, Brian De Palma. The director, who differs from his peers with his extraordinary career, sits with Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow and candidly discusses his 29 features, shorts, and fell through projects. Scenes from his inimitable films accompany the conversation that ranges from the secrets of his mind-blowing mise-en-scène, to anecdotes from his sets, and film theory. De Palma is a riveting documentary that will not only embrace cinéphiles and the director´s fans, but also audiences who are unfamiliar with his work."

Popüler Sinema's Müge İbrikçi posted a review of the film after its Friday screening, saying, in part, that listening to the director himself personally describe each of his works provides autobiographical details that make the films seem even more realistic.

Posted by Geoff at 3:15 PM CDT
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