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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

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The Black Dahlia 2006


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Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

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De Palma a la Mod

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Brian De Palma's Domino will be the splashy opening film of the second edition of the Filming Italy Sardegna Festival, which takes place June 13-16. Domino will then open in theaters across Italy on June 20th. The announcement was made in high-fashion this morning at the Cannes Film Festival, with Eva Longoria heading the presentation, as she is set to open the Filming Italy Sardegna Festival along with De Palma's movie, which was partially filmed in Sardegna (aka Sardinia).

"A second edition under the sign of doubling and sustainability," declared festival director Tiziana Rocca (in pictures here, to the right of Longoria). "Double the theaters, with the Cristallo Cinema and the large Arena of Forte Village open to all for free. The films in the program are multiplied with a schedule of about 30 titles in a selection that also includes 5 works chosen by ‘Variety’, in the artistic committee of the Festival. Because we want to provide the Festival to the public-- especially to the young people-- premiere films, but also documentaries, short films and TV series, with the aim of bringing the new generations ever closer to the big screen. We will open with a grand auteur like Brian De Palma and his Domino, shot in part in Sardinia, with actors of the caliber of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice van Houten. And for the previews dedicated to the TV series we will also have an episode of the upcoming TV series Caccia al ladro (To Catch A Thief). In this edition we also wanted sustainable development as a common thread to counter the unconditional exploitation of environmental resources. Also the awards realized by Maestro Gerardo Sacco will be in a special edition made with eco-sustainable materials."

At today's event, Longoria also presented the Filming Italy Cannes Award to Werner Herzog, who is at Cannes with his new film, Family Romance, LLC.


Speaking of Herzog, he is at Cannes for the first time in 25 years, with a film he funded himself called Family Romance, LLC, which was shot in Japan, in Japanese, with non-professional actors, using translators as go-betweens. Herzog does not speak Japanese, and tells Variety's Stewart Clarke that the experience was freeing and joyful:

Did “Family Romance” come together quickly?

It came very quickly; it was instantly there. I knew it was so big I had to immediately tackle it. And there was competition, I believe, from Amblin that wanted to something like that. I do believe one of the great actors of Hollywood wanted to do something about it. But before they even sent the deal memo to an attorney, I was already filming.

It’s Japanese-language. How challenging was that?

It was done with a complete sense of freedom. I didn’t have the demands of having one or two world stars in it. I started filming with this great sense of freedom – essentially I’m stepping back into filmmaking like [1972’s] “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” or even [1970’s] “Even Dwarfs Started Small,” this complete sense of freedom and joy of filmmaking.

Do you speak any Japanese?

I do not speak Japanese. The go-betweens while shooting were intelligent translators. It made me even faster because I did not have to have the spoken dialogue verbatim. It was clear the actors would have a situation that they had to act in and very clear demands: ‘This part of the dialogue has to be hit at this mark, but how you are getting to that point you can articulate in Japanese. You don’t have to learn a text; you have to learn a situation.’

Listening to the dialogue I could sense if the mood was right or off target. It came with ease.

Was funding the picture a challenge?

I funded it myself completely, and my company Skellig Rock is the production company. I have done two more films in the last 12 months, and I earned some of the money through that. I’m still earning through other things I am doing – for example, through “The Mandalorian” part. Through the “The Mandalorian” earnings I partially finance “Family Romance.” It’s my own money, and I earn it in all sorts of ways. The only thing I haven’t done is bank robbery.

Is the resulting picture going to surprise people?

In my film there is not a single moment that you have ever seen in a movie, although it looks completely normal and regular. When you take a good look, there is not a single thing you have ever seen in any movie. That was completely organic. The awe comes because you have not seen what you are seeing there.

You shoot what you really want to see on the screen. It’s only the essence. That’s the only thing I would film. Because of that, I have barely 300 to 350 minutes of footage in total. It’s very natural for me, and nothing is missing.

Does that rogue filmmaking style mean that a wider selection of people can make movies?

Of course – just look at “Family Romance.” If you are barefoot native from the Andes in Peru, you can make a feature film.

Posted by Geoff at 12:21 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 18, 2019 12:33 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 16, 2019
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominogermanblu.jpgThanks to Andreas for sending in word that Koch Films has announced a DVD/Blu-Ray Region B release of Brian De Palma's Domino, coming August 22, 2019. With Domino being released in theaters in Hungary May 30th, and in theaters in Italy on June 20th, and, of course, in California and New York on May 31st, we are keeping an out for any other theatrical releases out there.

Posted by Geoff at 7:30 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019 8:08 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Blockbuster is a new six-part podcast created by Matt Schrader that looks at the friendship between Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as a docu-biopic for the ears. The podcast boasts strong sound design elements to present a scripted narrative using top voice actors, and an original score. It can be listened to on Apple and Spotify, but io9 has posted an exclusive two-minute clip in which Lucas shows the first early rough cut of Star Wars to a small gathering of friends. According to io9's Germain Lussier, Lucas is voiced by Ray Chase, Spielberg is voiced by Max Mittelman, Brian De Palma is voiced by Lex Lang (who also voices Harrison Ford elsewhere in the series), and Marcia Lucas is voiced by Julia McIlvaine.

Here's an excerpt from Lussier's interview with Schrader at io9:

io9: As writer and filmmaker yourself, how do you see the podcast as a new form of storytelling going ahead? Is Blockbuster the first of its kind?

Schrader: I started my career as an investigative journalist with CBS and NBC, and I left to pursue my first documentary. After doing the whole theatrical release campaign for that, I really fell in love with this idea of immersive true stories...that I think transcends whatever platform it is, because there are so many ways to create stories nowadays: movies, TV, web videos, podcasts, Snapchat, etc. It all starts with a powerful story.

Steven Spielberg once said in an interview, “a great story is a great story,” which actually made it into one of his conversations with George in Blockbuster. So in some ways, I don’t know that the platform matters if it’s done well. It just so happens that podcasts are this massive new expanding world people are discovering right now, and sound and music are so vitally important to the story we wanted to tell.

io9: Did you have to get permission from anyone or any company involved to do this, or is it all fair rights? Meaning Fox, Universal, the individuals dramatized, etc.

Schrader: It was a very extensive process because these huge movies are part of the story arc, and how can you tell a story about Star Wars without mentioning Star Wars? I always kind of chuckle when I’m watching something on TV and there’s a generic version of “Coca-Cola” and it’s called something like “Cool-Cola.” We all know what they’re referencing, but it really takes the viewer away from the story. We wanted to make sure we weren’t overstepping anything creatively but could be realistic and use archival audio and music and film clips to tell the story. It did require the help of a legal and clearance team so we knew how we could include the opening of the 1976 Academy Awards telecast, for instance. I’m glad we went that route because it’s much more authentic and feels real.

io9: What were some of your primary sources in piecing together this story? Did any of the actual principals help at all? Did you reach out to them?

Schrader: Oh, so many sources. It ranged from letters and documents from their offices during that era, to newspaper clippings, and lots of video interviews. There have also been a number of books that touch on this era of filmmaking, so we were really trying to pinpoint the friendship of George and Steven in all of these sources, and create a biography of their friendship.

In my experience as a journalist, biographical stories can come off as “staged” if they directly involve their subjects, and we wanted to maintain journalistic standing, and avoid any criticism of being part of someone’s “public relations” team (which would do this story a disservice too). This is such a powerful story of inspiration, and struggle, and triumph—and it’s done in such respect and admiration for what George and Steven ultimately accomplished. We felt Blockbuster was best created 100 percent independently and journalistically. It’s always important to get as close as possible to the setting, however, so we prioritized interviews from the 1970s to try to get the most accurate descriptions of how it all really happened. We actually included one scene in which George meets one of the journalists who wrote about him on the set of Star Wars, which actually happened. So there are parts that can be very meta.

io9: The actual dialogue and interactions, closed-door private stuff—is that mostly educated guesswork or how did you go about approaching the writing of those scenes?

Schrader: It was one of the most interesting research projects I’ve ever done, and arguably the most unique part of this series because we started to piece together these moments, sort of like a detective would if investigating something. We would find these old archival interviews where George talks about meeting Steven, and someone else’s interview that says where they were, and someone else who described the environment that day. We started to take those millions of little jigsaw puzzle pieces and start to form a picture. Where we could, we tried to use their exact words, like when Brian De Palma saw Star Wars for the first time and asked George, “What is this shit?”

io9: Did you have any trouble putting together a crew, both above the line and below the line, for this mostly unfamiliar approach to storytelling? Were people skeptical?

Schrader: Well, it’s new and new things always require a little explanation. I was fortunate to meet some of the crew on my 2017 film Score: A Film Music Documentary, but this was an entirely different format. We kind of settled on this as being a “biopic podcast series” or “biopod,” which is a term for this genre we’ve sort of coined now.

Fortunately, sound designer Peter Bawiec was into this idea from the very start, and his passion shines through this series, especially in the scenes where we see Steven and George grappling with chaos around them.

I realize I just said “see,” which isn’t technically accurate, but it’s kind of like a good book in that your brain puts you right there with them on the set of Jaws and Star Wars.

Matt Schader also did an interview with Goseetalk's Marc Ciafardini. Here's a small excerpt from that:
When you developed SCORE, you spoke to several industry professional in addition to the impressive line-up of composers. Who were your go-to subjects for Blockbuster, and what went into your research?

I come from a journalism background, so I’m comfortable in the deep dive research side of things and pulling information that can contribute to a broader understanding of what’s going on. We discussed the idea of doing a documentary, but I wasn’t sure this was the right approach, mainly because that, in some form, has been done before. What’s brand new here is this friendship and relationship between Spielberg and Lucas and how they support each other and are competitive with each other in this era. It really inspires them to keep going.

That’s a story that’d never been told. In the hundreds of archival interviews, books and other research documents that we sifted through for this, that’s a storyline that not been shared, but it’s one that any struggling artist relates to. It’s really interesting to me to see how these people who became the most influential people in the last four decades were just kids tying to aim for an achieve their dreams. That’s really powerful on a personal level aside from the fact that their work revolutionized the entire film business.

As a producer, you’re assembling new and pre-existing material into your product. To the listener, a podcast might not seem that difficult to pull off. But break it down for us. Do you have to know every single move before you something, or can you wing it?

Putting this together is like doing a jigsaw puzzle with a million pieces. [Laughs] Every piece relates to each other, but you don’t really know where each piece is supposed to end up. Short answer is that it’s harder than it sounds. [Laughs] When we started this, we didn’t know how many layers there would be to the research, the coordination, and the accuracy – journalistically and creatively – of all the elements that we’ve compiled over the entire series. It’s difficult to say without heavy creative feedback from legal consul whether we can or can’t do things in the storytelling, and it required careful navigation that to be able to bring all those elements together in a way that told a powerful story all the while referencing archival materials, books, documentaries, featurettes and interviews they had done. It’s part of what took so long to pull this all together; it’s a story, not just a set of facts.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019 12:00 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Brian De Palma's Domino will hit in theaters in Hungary May 30th, via Vertigo Media, which has some new set pics (above, with De Palma directing Sachli Gholamalizad, and below, showing De Palma sharing a laugh with Søren Malling and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). In addition, there is a Hungarian trailer (also below), shorter and slicker than the Saban trailer from a few weeks ago, with glimpses of different scenes, as well. Vertigo Media will open Domino in theaters across Hungary, in both dubbed and subtitled versions.

Posted by Geoff at 6:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:06 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

It looks like Brian De Palma's Domino will open in at least two U.S. theaters on May 31st. We found out last Monday that the film will open that day at AMC Rolling Hills 20, which is about a 30-mile drive from Los Angeles, in Torrance. Today we discover that Domino will also open May 31st at Cinema Village in New York's Greenwich Village. The Cinema Village theater will show the film twice a day, at 11am and 11pm, for at least a full week.

(Thanks to Hugh!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:17 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, May 12, 2019 6:19 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

George Litto, agent turned producer and then Filmways chairman, died April 29 at the age of 88. Litto began his long association with Brian De Palma when Edward Pressman was shopping for deals to distribute De Palma's Sisters, and asked Litto to come see the movie. Sitting in a theater in New York, Litto did not know who Paul Hirsch was, but Hirsch happened to be sitting right behind Litto. Litto turned to Hirsch when it was done, and said, "You know, I can sell this film. But the best thing in this film is the director. I think the director has a future."

Shortly thereafter, De Palma asked Litto to represent him, but Litto told him he wasn't going to be an agent much longer, that he was going to produce. He said he was going to quit being an agent in a year, and De Palma told him, "I'll be happy to have you for a year." Litto's daughter, Andria Litto, tells The Hollywood Reporter's Mike Barnes that Litto went on to mortgage his own house in order to finance De Palma's Obsession. Litto was also instrumental as a reference for Paul Monash, who wasn't quite sure about hiring De Palma as director of Carrie.

Litto went on to produce two highly regarded De Palma films: Dressed To Kill and Blow Out. On the latter film, Litto agreed with Hirsch and Nancy Allen that there should be a happy ending. De Palma did not agree. In a Fiction Factory interview from Carlotta's 2012 DVD edition of Blow Out (quoted in the Douglas Keesey book, Brian De Palma's Split-Screen), Litto says, "I always felt that the girl should be saved in Blow Out and they should go see Sugar Babies, but [De Palma's] view was different, and the film still has many admirers that way. But I was a firm believer in the Hitchcock concept: you meet two people you like; they get into jeopardy; and you root for them to extricate themselves safely."

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 9, 2019 12:17 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Pino Donaggio has worked up a truly inspired score for Brian De Palma's Domino, and you can listen to the entire thing at Music.Film. Suspenseful, tragic, and mournfully melodic, Donaggio's music for Domino complements De Palma's moving images in ways that feel naturally intuitive and alive. Donaggio knows when to use silence to his advantage, and some of the quiet moments carry the most tremendous emotion. It's a great score-- check it out.

Posted by Geoff at 1:31 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 1:49 AM CDT
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Monday, May 6, 2019

Saban Films announced weeks ago that Brian De Palma's Domino will be in theaters and on demand beginning Friday, May 31st. Today, at least one theater was revealed: AMC Rolling Hills 20, which is about a 30-mile drive from Los Angeles, in Torrance. It looks like AMC Rolling Hills will be the exclusive theater to show Domino in the Los Angeles-area, at least for the film's opening weekend. It is unclear whether or not there will be other theaters outside of Los Angeles showing Domino May 31st (opening weekend).

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 1:38 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Brian De Palma's Domino -- and let's get this straight, this is Brian De Palma's film -- when you see it all the way to the end, I'm not sure how you can come away from it with any other notion -- is full of tomatoes. They're all over the place in this movie, and you have to think that De Palma would have had Rotten Tomatoes in the back of his mind as he thought of and shot Domino. Well, dearly beloved, I'm here to tell you, Domino is certified fresh, one-hundred percent De Palma. From shot design (check out an early shot that begins wide, verrrry slowly moving in as two characters move about the room, until the shot finally ends, in God's eye point-of-view fashion, to focus in on an item that will have lasting impact on the film to come) to the way Pino Donaggio's music evokes the lasting sadness of that God's eye view, watching the way these events unfold. I was reminded not only of Donaggio's score for Blow Out, but also of the way the music works in contrast to much of what we see on screen in films such as Snake Eyes and The Black Dahlia. There is a silent film sequence in slow motion, full of tension, that truly gets you on the edge of your seat, wondering how in the world this is going to end up. The sequence has a kicker of a climax that has to be seen to be believed, beautifully executed. There are scenes where the camera slowly moves in toward stunning emotional impact (one of them is pictured above).

A couple of Letterboxd reviews have talked about Domino being a sort of Redacted meets Passion, and there is definitely a bit of truth to that. Passion opens with our two main characters watching commercials on a laptop, discussing and critiquing, yet we never see what they see. Later on, one of them makes a commercial, and we see the result afterward as it is screened for corporate executives. There is a lot of that sort of thing in Domino, except in the new movie, instead of commercials, the genre is terrorist videos, which brings us back to the world of Redacted. Our two main cops in the new film are seen watching terrorist videos on a laptop, commenting on how they're shot and edited, using drones, etc. We are not watching with them, but simply watching them as they watch, the look of horror on their faces. Later on, we see the videos being made, and then the way they've been edited.

I could write a lot more about Domino, but let me end for now by saying that Domino takes place in the future: an intertitle near the start of the film tells us the date is June 10, 2020. An intertitle near the beginning of De Palma's Mission To Mars carries the date June 9, 2020. If that's not De Palma's idea of a cosmic joke, it's a split in the horizon, for sure.

Posted by Geoff at 8:04 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:46 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Posted by Geoff at 9:33 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 27, 2019 11:20 AM CDT
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