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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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« July 2021 »
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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a la Mod

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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
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

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A Lonely Place

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italkyoubored

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Nothing Is Written

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EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
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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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Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
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Books
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Thursday, July 15, 2021
'AN ACUTE SENSE OF IMMEDIACY', 'A RARE AUTHENTICITY'
"I'M ACTUALLY SURPRISED HOW GOOD REDACTED IS,
CONSIDERING THE GENERAL CRITICAL DISDAIN" IN 2007

https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/redactedvan.jpg

Eternality Tan posted a review of Redacted a few days ago:
I’m actually surprised how good Redacted is, considering the general critical disdain accorded to it back in 2007. It, however, won the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival and was listed as the best film of the year by the respected Cahiers du Cinema. Well, it seems like they were right on the money.

Seeing the film now, it almost feels like a relic of a distant past—the burgeoning digital era as it were, with shoddy aesthetics, gimmicky transitions and DIY-style content creation.

To think that director Brian De Palma was shrewd enough to capture not just a snapshot of America’s controversial involvement in the Iraq War but also using the tools of the trade of the time that reflect the medium’s affordances and audience-implicating effects.

As such, Redacted, a satirical ‘found footage’-style fiction feels like the last word on the failed war. Based on the true incident of a young Iraqi girl raped and murdered by US soldiers, Redacted investigates the notion of truth by blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

Because De Palma’s mode of address is in the form of a constructed documentary (that, at the same time, is meant to be deconstructed by the viewer’s active engagement with a variety of visual stimuli, including websites with disturbing embedded videos, and footage of a French woman engaging in reportage), it gives us an acute sense of immediacy that while staged produces a rare authenticity that puts us right there in the chaos.

Yet, because of the distance provided by its staging, we aren’t necessarily conditioned to be emotionally involved… until we are by the end of the whole experiment.

Redacted is not an easy watch, but it tells us how America lost the war without telling us how America lost the war. In that sense, De Palma was far ahead of his time.

Grade: A


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 14, 2021
'THE BIG PICTURE' - DEEP DIVE INTO DE PALMA'S CAREER
SEAN FENNESSEY & ADAM NAYMAN DISCUSS WHY DE PALMA IS "A CINEPHILE'S FAVORITE" ON NEW PODCAST EPISODE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fennessydepalmadecades.jpg

The above meme was tweeted by Sean Fennessey yesterday to help promote this week's new episode of The Big Picture podcast, in which Fennessey is joined by Adam Nayman to "deep dive" into the career of Brian De Palma. The final portion of the episode is focused on De Palma's Blow Out, in celebration of that film's 40th anniversary this month. Along the way, on more than one occasion, Nayman refers to Chris Dumas' great book, Un-American Psycho: Brian De Palma And The Political Invisible.

Posted by Geoff at 8:19 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 8:20 PM CDT
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Tuesday, July 13, 2021
TCM PODCAST EP.3 DELVES INTO SCHWAB-DE PALMA
"THE WAR ZONE" WITH SOLDO, SYLBERT, CARUSO ALSO ON SALAMON'S TAPES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/aboutseasontwo.jpg


The photo below from the first edition of Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy was accompanied with this caption:
Production designer Richard Sylbert and the McCoy apartment on Stage 25 of the Warner Bros. lot. Copyright © 1991 Warner Bros., Inc.


Posted by Geoff at 7:46 PM CDT
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Monday, July 12, 2021
'RUTANYA, YOU'RE IN THE BEST SCENE IN FILM HISTORY'
RUTANYA ALDA RECALLS MEETING DE PALMA, AND ALSO TARANTINO'S ENTHUSIASM FOR 'HI, MOM!'

Near the start of the above video, Rutanya Alda tells Robert Bellissimo, "A friend of mine, he said, 'I was just at this guy's, he's holding some auditions and he wants people that like to do improv, and I know you're good at improv.' I had done some improv. I had fun, I loved improv. He said, 'He's looking for these people that can do improv.' And to 'go over there, his name is Brian De Palma.' So I said, 'Oooh, good, thanks, I'll go over there right away.' So I went over there, and, you know, it was like an open door, you didn't have to... so I just waited, next one. I said, 'Well, I'm good at improv.' He said, 'Let's see. Let's play around a little bit.' So I played around a little bit. He said, 'That's great. You're great. So I think there's a part in this movie for you, called Greetings.' And then the second film, Hi, Mom! Which, by the way, I ran into Quentin Tarantino last year. He was out, you know, doing the Academy rounds, and screening. And so Quentin said to me, 'Rutanya, you're in the best scene in film history.' And I went like, 'What is he talking about? What does he mean, "You're in the best scene in film history"'?" I must have had this puzzled look on my face. He said, 'The "Be Black, Baby" scene in Hi Mom! was the best scene in film history.' I was like, 'Ooooh...' I was speechless. Good thing my girlfriend ... was with me, otherwise, nobody would have believed it."

Bellissimo then asks Alda about how the scene was shot. "Because I know it was improvised, right? So what did you know before the cameras rolled?"

Alda replies, "It's about these people going to the theater, that no matter how bad or how, maybe, violated you're going to feel, because a critic said that 'This is great theater!' these people are going to go because the critics said that this is good. So we're going to go up there to journey to see this show called 'Be Black Baby.' And we have no idea. Brian just said, you know, just react how... we're going to have things happen and react. So Quentin was shocked. Shocked that we filmed that scene, and it was a one-take, and we filmed that scene in probably an hour. Brian had found this-- because that time he didn't, we didn't have much money. There was no money. He found this building that's kind of a... in the west 60s, that his friend had, it was a super long, it was like an industrial kind of building. So we had like an afternoon there. He snuck us... his friend just opened up the building for us and didn't tell anyone. And so he snuck us in and we started the improv. And that was improv. It had to be one take because we had no luxury of going and reshooting. It wasn't a studio that was a real set. And so that was the scene that came out of there."


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 6:29 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 11, 2021
CANNES - CRITIC FEELS 'CARRIE' VIBES FROM 'CLARA SOLA'
THE WRAP'S STEVE POND: "SIMULTANEOUSLY ODD, DISQUIETING, AND RICHLY REWARDING"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/clarasola.jpg

Following yesterday's post about a direct connection to Carrie in Fear Street Part Two: 1978, today we look at a review of Clara Sola, which The Wrap's Steve Pond reports is "the first feature from Costa Rican-Swedish director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén." The film premiered at Cannes Thursday as part of the Directors Fortnight sidebar. "A quiet character study that somewhere along the line morphs into a Costa Rican version of Carrie," begins Pond, "Clara Sola mixes religion, mysticism and sexuality in a way that feels simultaneously odd, disquieting and richly rewarding. It starts out beautifully restrained and ends up somewhere else entirely, but it’s all the more interesting for its split personality.

Here's more from Pond's review:

The film’s star, Wendy Chinchilla, is also making her feature-film debut; she’s a Costa Rican dancer with no experience in film but a powerful presence that speaks volumes through stillness.

Chinchilla plays Clara, a 40-year-old woman with a spinal condition that keeps her in pain. She spends her life, it seems, communing with her horse, Yuca, and bowing to the demands of her mother, who tells the townspeople that Clara is a healer who has seen the Virgin Mary and has cured cancer. She trots Clara out for healing rituals in their small home, but otherwise keeps her daughter under her thumb, going so far as to refuse a local doctor’s advice that Clara get an operation to fix her spine.

“God gave her to me like this,” her mother says. “She stays like this.”

Clara, for her part, submits to the restrictions that have been placed on her; she’s too meek to challenge her mother, or too beaten down to resist anymore. She has no agency in her own life, a fact that is presented simply, with relentless understatement.

When Clara rebels, she almost seems to do it unconsciously, with small signals that she may be experiencing a very belated sexual awakening. She absently touches herself as she watches TV, until her mother freaks out, grabs Clara and rubs her fingers in hot chiles; Clara complies, passive and still.

At first, the movie connects with that stillness; it sits back and quietly observes, with little or no music for long stretches. When the music does come in, it’s usually spare: plucked strings and little else. The look and feel of the film is grounded in earth and mud and bugs and rain, but there’s also a gentle mysticism at work that’s familiar to lovers of South and Central American cinema.

Clara’s mother demands that her daughter never change, that she live in plainness and in pain and care only about healing others, or at least convincing others that she can heal them. But slowly, we see Clara’s rebellion begin to manifest: At first she simply declares that she wants a blue dress, a prospect that shocks her mother – but it’s clear that what she really wants is to be touched, to embrace the physical in a way she’s never before done.

As Clara’s passion begins to awaken, so does “Clara Sola.” When she sees her young niece having sex with her boyfriend, she masturbates in the woods and is immediately surrounded by fireflies. At a certain point, it does seem that she has powers – but do those powers come from the religious shrine in the living room, or from emergingn sexuality?

You won’t necessarily find the answer in Álvarez Mesén’s film, but you will find a movie that itself becomes more aggressive along with its heroine. And when things comes to a head at her niece’s 15th birthday party, it’s hard not to think of the climactic prom scene in Brian DePalma’s “Carrie” – not in the sense of buckets of blood or anything like that, but in the way both films suggest that repressing female desires via religion or anything else can end very, very badly.

That sequence, and the enormously evocative but ambiguous one that follows to end the movie, are nothing like what you might expect during the opening stretches of “Clara Sola.” Álvarez Mesén may be a first-time feature director, but she has enough control to take an austere, unsettling drama with a touch of magical realism and turn it into a wild ride, all without losing its complicated heart.


Posted by Geoff at 10:17 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 10, 2021
'CARRIE' PLAYS INTO 'FEAR STREET PART TWO: 1978'
"FEAR STREET EVENTUALLY ADMITS ITS CARRIE WHITE FIXATION", ACCORDING TO DEN OF GEEK REVIEW, & OTHERS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fearstreet.jpg

Netflix is in the middle of releasing its Fear Street trilogy of horror films. Wildly spinning off from the book series of the same name by R. L. Stine, each film is directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak. After premiering Fear Street Part One: 1994 last week, yesterday saw the premiere of Fear Street Part Two: 1978. Set just two years, then, after Brian De Palma's Carrie was released in theaters, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is said to have some very direct connection to De Palma's film and Stephen King's novel:

David Crow, Den Of Geek

As with Fear Street Part 1 before it, 1978 wears its influences on its sleeves. The previous film was set in 1994 and opened with the biggest star in the cast, Stranger ThingsMaya Hawke, getting viciously slaughtered, a la Drew Barrymore in Scream. By contrast, Fear Street Part Two pulls from slower burning horror movies.

When we properly begin the film in its ’78 setting, we meet Sadie Sink’s Ziggy Berman, who is being tortured at the hanging tree by her summer camp’s resident mean girls. This plays like it’s straight out of Carrie, both the Stephen King novel published in 1974 and Brian De Palma’s zeitgeist-shattering adaptation from 1976.

Fear Street eventually admits its Carrie White fixation, even having Ziggy reverse engineer the famed “pig blood” sequence from that movie to get back at her Queen Bee tormenter. The new movie also references a few of the tracking shots from the actual slasher movie landmark of 1978, Halloween. But when everything’s said and done, Fear Street Part Two is about the Friday the 13th of it all.


Casey Chong, The Cinemaholic
In keeping with the spirit of ‘Friday the 13th’ and its like-minded genre films, Janiak doesn’t forget to throw in some obligatory sex/nude scenes in between. And while ‘Fear Street Part Two: 1978’ may have primarily devoted to the aforementioned summer-camp slasher subgenre, there’s a scene directly referenced from the iconic scene of Brian De Palma’s ‘Carrie’.

Mekado Murphy, New York Times
10 Influences That Explain Why ‘Fear Street’ Seems Familiar

Carrie

In the 1978 installment, the bloody prom prank from Stephen King’s novel (and subsequent Brian De Palma film) factors into the plot with the ridiculed-but-resilient Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink), who seeks revenge on those who have wronged her. But in “Fear Street,” pig’s blood is replaced with a much more squirm-inducing alternative. Nonetheless, Ziggy harbors Carrie qualities, as an outsider who frequently faces the derision of other campers and constructs ways to fight back. She doesn’t have to turn up the revenge quite to Carrie levels, though. The killer on the rampage can do that.


Posted by Geoff at 6:47 PM CDT
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Friday, July 9, 2021
REMEMBER ROLLING OUT OF THE THEATER & LOVING IT
ON PODCAST 'LIVING IN THE PAST', "TWO MIDDLE-AGED GUYS" RECALL SEEING UNTOUCHABLES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/livinginthepast.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2021 1:43 PM CDT
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Thursday, July 8, 2021
'60 SECONDS OF CONVINCING PASSIONATE SOUNDS'
"PLUS TWO-AND-A-HALF MINUTES OF BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAMS"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rutanyaarticle1982.jpg

The article clipping above comes from the November 30, 1982 edition of the Mansfield News Journal in Ohio.

Previously:
Angie's voice was Dressed up...


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 7, 2021
ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW - SALAMON & MANKIEWICZ
MANY "BELOW-THE-LINE" PEOPLE INVOLVED WERE HAPPY TO PARTICIPATE IN NEW PODCAST INTERVIEWS

Also, TCM tweeted a couple of snippets from Salamon and Mankiewicz intros from De Palma night:

July 4 vid tweet

July 5 vid tweet


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 6, 2021
EP. 2 OF TCM PODCAST DELVES INTO CASTING 'BONFIRE'
SCREENWRITER MICHAEL CRISTOFER: "IN A NEST OF VIPERS, THE LEAST POISONOUS IS YOUR SYMPATHETIC CHARACTER"

Here's the TCM description of the episode:
Episode 2: Reaching for the Stars – and Paying the Price
Tom Hanks signs on to play amoral stockbroker Sherman McCoy, and he’s so beloved that nobody recognizes how wrong he is for the part. There's immediate pushback against Bruce Willis as the other male lead, since his role was written as British. But the hardest decision comes when the director insists that a Jewish judge be played by a Black actor, to soften the film’s racial tensions.

Leading up to today's release of the second episode, TCM had a night of Brian De Palma films last night, which kicked off with The Bonfire Of The Vanities. Podcast hosts Ben Mankiewicz and Julie Salamon discussed Brian De Palma's career before and after the first three films (Bonfire, Obsession, and Sisters). Here are a couple of image captures from those discussions:


Posted by Geoff at 10:11 PM CDT
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