De Palma speaks at class in New York
Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
Meanwhile, on March 21st, Phantom Of The Paradise will screen in 35mm at the Stockholm Cinematek. The screening will be introduced by Ari Gunnar Thorsteinsson, a film critic who has written for IndieWire, among others.
Rhode himself begins the list with his choice of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables:
When I consider media which brings me good cheer, one movie immediately comes to mind. In any moment, for any reason, for any question, there is a single answer, and that is Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables. You know that movie you love? Well, all the movies you love secretly adore this flick, and have been writing fan letters to this piece of pure American kino. Oh, the greybeards and Philip Roth will say that this is not a cheerful movie. You know what makes me cheerful? Knowing when they go to sleep and wake up they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Untouchables is one of most encouraging movies ever made. I’ll spare you a recitation of the plot, since we have all watched at least five minutes of TBS in our lives and thereby absorbed DePalma by means of osmosis. What can account for the cultural cachet of this epic tale of brotherhood and bloodspill?
You know all of those empires which have fallen? Looks like they weren’t Untouchable. There are Oscar-winning movies that cover tweens learning violin, kids discovering that dinosaurs were just like us, and how the yam farmer is the noblest of God’s creatures … but they don’t have Kevin Costner pushing a Prohibition baddie off a roof and into a car. Does your beloved Jennifer Lawrence vehicle feature Sean Connery chasing an assassin out of his house in his suit-vest, only to be shot himself? No? Oh, how disappointing that must be for you.
Does your movie happen to be the most heartwarming bro-picture of all time? In the other movies, does an accountant discover in the moment of trial that he can go full truffle-shuffle and wreck shop on Capone’s illegal hooch empire with a gun in his hand, and an even bigger gun in his chest—his heart? Yes, the heart is a gun. The Untouchables teaches this lesson, and so many more. DeNiro’s Capone isn’t even acting; it’s as if the memes from all his Scorsese movies (“To-day! To-day! To-day!”) plugged into an feedbacking amp the size of the world. This movie does not chew the scenery, it devours the backdrop for the fuel to rise above the concept of scenery. That’s the Chicago Way.
Film buffs esteem Broken Blossoms for its artiness — dreamlike, fuzzy images project us into the exoticism of other states of being. It heightens our response to effeminacy while critiquing Battling Burrows’s masculine threat. Crisp’s macho sneer is on a behavioral continuum with Gish’s fragility (her fright hiding in a closet was repeated in Brian DePalma’s modern sexual gothic Carrie) and Barthelmess’s ethereal, idealized compassion. The man and girl’s idyll is crushed (“The spirit of beauty breaks her blossoms all about his chamber”), and no contemporary gay-bashing would be more heartrending.