AT METROGRAPH; FULL LINE-UP TWEETED BY THE FILM STAGE
Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
"Mind you, De Palma is masterfully edited, cutting between the chatty director and a flurry of incredible clips from the films themselves (there goes the budget!) and behind the scenes stuff from De Palma’s vaults (love the 8MM footage of Steven Spielberg, De Palma’s former best friend and the director’s ex-wife, actress Nancy Allen, sending love out to their colleague; a beautiful snapshot of a time and place that exists only in myth). So, who knows how hard Baumbach and Paltrow worked to get their mentor into his comfort zone. Either way, they did and it’s amazing.
"DE PALMA will be an orgasmic experience for the faithful. But it is also required viewing for every aspiring director who dreams of making commercially successful product, while still maintaining the pure vision of an artist. Truly, it’s difficult to think of another Hollywood filmmaker who has so deftly managed to make such personal work on such a grand scale."
Jesse Hawken of Torontoist posted a review of the documentary last week, in anticipation of the Hot Docs Film Festival:
This film is a chronological tour of De Palma’s complete filmography, guided by the director himself with a bounty of clips and juicy stories about a career full of fights with actors (he had a tough time working with Cliff Robertson on his first big budget film Obsession), studios (Columbia Pictures wouldn’t let him cast the porn star Annette Haven in his erotic thriller Body Double), and the ratings board (which came to a head when he got an X rating for Scarface after submitting three versions, finally putting all the violence back in). De Palma is candid when discussing the highs and lows of his 50-year directing career: he passed on directing Flashdance and Fatal Attraction; he says he lost his nerve adapting Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of The Vanities; and feels he never made a better film than Carlito’s Way.
The final section of the film is unexpectedly moving as it heads into the director’s decline, which began after his greatest box office success Mission: Impossible, as he got lost in making the visual-effects-heavy Mission To Mars; its spectacular failure at the box office was the end of De Palma’s American career, as he looked to Europe for financing and the years between features lengthened. As illustrated by the clips from his recent, less-consequential works like Passion and The Black Dahlia, De Palma understands, like his hero Hitchcock in the years after Psycho, that his glory days are behind him, that the industry has changed around him, that it gets harder as one gets older.
Directors Baumbach and Paltrow are obviously huge admirers of De Palma’s work, and the film succeeds as a solid testament to his career and importance. This film is a feast for De Palma lovers who may not be so familiar with the smaller, harder-to-see films from earlier in his career, like Greetings, Get To Know Your Rabbit, and Home Movies; conversely, this clip-heavy documentary might not be the best place to start for newcomers to De Palma’s work, as the twists and climaxes to some of his greatest films will be ruined for you, especially the magnificent downer ending of Blow Out.
Why do you like France so much?
BRIAN DE PALMA: In my youth, several French directors I was interested in: Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Georges Lautner, whom I loved "Tontons gunslingers." I have always enjoyed the French culture, cuisine, good wines and the art of living. One day while I was in Paris, a friend (note: the singer Elli Medeiros) told me that there was a crime fiction festival in Cognac. We went. I felt good at home. I decided to settle in Paris in the early 2000s, when I shot "Femme Fatale". When Bruno Barde, the organizer of the Festival de Beaune, asked me to come here to honor my career, I did not hesitate long.
What do you think of the American cinema today, especially the proliferation of blockbusters?
For a guy like me who belongs to the generation of Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, Sydney Pollack, Woody Allen, etc., I do not recognize myself at all in the studio system. Hollywood, which lines up sequels, remakes, superheroes from comic books, I could not care less. "Batman," "Superman," "Iron Man," all these blockbusters, it's just money! I regret that Hollywood lacks both imagination and true creators, as in 1960 and 1970. It is also in Europe, Asia, South America, where things are now being creative. But I eat dinner often with young talented American directors - Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow - I hope they will make things happen.
You, the Democrat, how do you react to the candidacy of Donald Trump for the White House?
It's terrible! Here is a man who, for me, best crystallizes the curse of reality television. Donald Trump knows how to manipulate the media to his advantage and the impact of images. Better than any politician, he knows the rules, knows how to feed the news channels, starting with Fox News. Worse, he succeeded in getting them to talk about him every day. For me, who was 23 when JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Trump is a man very disturbing.
In your film "Redacted", filmed in 2007 on the war in Iraq, you had mentioned terrorism. The world is facing this problem today ...
Alas, nothing surprises me! The French know better than anyone. When it occupies Arab countries, what happens? Explosions in the West, in our streets. What to do ? Stop trying to control these regions as they’ve been trying to do for decades. When people are willing to blow themselves up to kill others, there is no defense.