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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
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De Palma/Lehman
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De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
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that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
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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
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Friday, November 5, 2021
EDGAR WRIGHT SPEAKS INFLUENCE OF DE PALMA, OTHERS
ON THE DREAM LOGIC OF 'LAST NIGHT IN SOHO' - IN FILMMAKER CONVERSATION WITH BONG JOON-HO
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/filmmakerfall2021.jpg

The new Fall 2021 issue of Filmmaker is anchored by a great cover-story of Edgar Wright in conversation with none other than Bong Joon-ho, discussing Wright's great new film, Last Night In Soho:
Bong: Even though it’s really about Soho, I felt like Café de Paris was the prime location, where you see some of the key visual motifs. I thought you made some really bold choices in that location, where I saw a lot of your cinematic ambitions flow throughout. When Eloise first enters the Café, that was such an overwhelming sequence. While I was watching it, I kept trying to imagine your storyboard, because it was such an ambitious scene. I’d like to hear more about how you shot that sequence.

Wright: The interesting thing about Café de Paris is that it still actually exist[ed] as a club [editor’s note: still open during the shoot, the venue closed permanently in December 2020 as a result of the pandemic]. In fact, it’s quite a famous shooting location—tons of music videos have been done there and lots of British films, like Michael Caton-Jones’s Scandal or Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners. But what we wanted to achieve in the sequence was quite challenging and required a bit more space than the location could offer. Also, it’s still a working club, and they needed it back at night. It was cheaper to build the set than shoot in the real one, so we built it and made it a little bigger than the original—I figured since it’s a dream sequence, we were allowed to do [that]. Because of that, it meant that we could design shots you just couldn’t do on location. For example, when Thomasin McKenzie first comes into the lobby and there’s the first mirror shot with Anya, that’s actually a double set. It’s a double lobby and there’s a mirror there, then when one of the maître d’s, who’s played by Oliver Phelps, takes [Thomasin’s] coat and walks in front of the camera, the mirror slides back revealing Anya and James Phelps, his identical twin brother, also in a maître d costume. It’s basically a Magic Circle shot. It’s also choreographed to the song [Cilla Black’s “You’re My World”] as well. Choreographing everything to a song might seem restrictive, but it isn’t really—we know [Thomasin] is going to walk out into the street to the first chorus, she’s going to see Anya on the second chorus, then she’s going to walk into the club on the third chorus, so you can choreograph movement to those specific moments. And when Anya and Thomasin come together opposite each other for real and touch their fingers on the glass, there’s no glass there at all. They are literally tapping their fingers.

Bong: How many times did you shoot this?

Wright: I can’t remember how many takes that was, but for some of those really complicated shots, we would have Saturday rehearsals. We’d be shooting a five-day week, then on a Saturday we’d ask the cast and a couple of key crew members, like choreographer Jen White, Chung Chung-hoon and especially the camera operator, Chris Bain, to rehearse in the afternoon. There’s no point doing those complicated shots if the camera operator isn’t there [at a rehearsal]. It’s always the mistake people make with choreography sequences—they do the choreography in the studio, and the director and dancers or actors know what they’re doing, but the key person to have there is the camera operator because he or she needs to be in exactly the right spot. The floor is taped up with [all these marks] and we rehearse over and over—“one, two, three.” Later in the sequence, when the actors are dancing on the floor, there’s a long Steadicam take that’s done without motion control. It’s all based on the actors and camera operator being in the right spots at the right time. With the exception of one section, which had a second pass on it, everything is done in-camera. Thomasin and Anya are hiding behind the Steadicam, then switching around. It took about 18 or 20 takes for that one. We rehearsed a lot.

There was also a funny thing that happened when we did that shot on the dance floor. Initially Chung had this little mirrored blade, and he liked to flash his torch into the lens so you get some real flares. During the first couple of takes of that dance floor sequence, Matt Smith [was] in the middle and then Anya and Thomasin were dancing around him, then the camera operator [was] moving around them in a bigger circumference, and Chung was trying to flash the lens, running around an even larger circumference to the Steadicam operator. [laughs] After a couple of takes, Chung goes, “Too difficult! Do the flare later. ” [laughs]

The real thrill for me with all those sequences was to try and figure out how to do as much of them in-camera as possible, so that the actors could really physically be there and act opposite each other, especially in scenes when Thomasin and Anya are playing each other’s reflections. There was lots of trickery where it’s half-practical, half-digital.

Bong: As filmmakers, more than anything else, we’re just huge cinephiles, and I think when we’re shooting an ambitious sequence like that, we’re always conscious of our predecessors. When I watched that Café de Paris sequence I felt that you might have thought of The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles or some of the Steadicam shots in Brian De Palma’s movies. Were there any sequences or directors you were paying homage to or maybe competing with? Were you conscious of any reference points?

Wright: I think all the things you mentioned are dead on. The entire film is inspired by a feeling that I get from some of those films, whether it’s De Palma or Lady from Shanghai, but also Hitchcock and Italian directors like Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Cocteau’s Orpheus inspired me in terms of finding a way to visualize dreams. Something I saw when I was a teenager that struck me in a very profound way was Buñuel’s last film, That Obscure Object of Desire, and the idea of two actresses alternating scenes. I would always have dreams where I knew I was somebody else—not looking in a mirror and seeing somebody else, but just the feeling that I’m experiencing a dream through somebody else’s body and face. So, it was bringing all of those things together. In the Buñuel film, they never have the actresses in the same shot, they just alternate scenes, but I thought, “Well, what if it’s almost as if the baton is being passed?” You see the other person in the mirror, then there’s a handoff. Now Thomasin is on the other side and Anya is the lead in these sequences.

Something I like in Hitchcock and De Palma films—this goes for some of the Italian filmmakers as well—is when things become operatic, in that they don’t really make sense in a physical way but make sense in some kind of dream logic. That was the feeling I wanted in the entire film: What if you had sequences that were clearly dreams, then at a certain point in the movie it all starts to feel like a waking dream? For the second half of the movie, Thomasin McKenzie is so sleep deprived that it’s similar to that manic state when you’re having a lucid waking nightmare.

One other filmmaker we didn’t mention who had a huge influence on me was Michael Powell, and two of his films specifically, Black Narcissus and Peeping Tom. In the former, I love how the use of color is so expressionistic and emotional. Then with the latter I was so inspired by Peeping Tom that I actually used two of its famous locations in Soho. The newsagent that Thomasin McKenzie goes into at the start of the movie is the same newsagent from Peeping Tom—still there, 60 years later. Then the pub they run past towards the end of the film is from the opening of that movie. Again, these locations are not far away from where I live. So, when I say I can’t escape it, I literally can’t escape it. It’s something I walk past every day.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, November 4, 2021
GLENN KENNY ON THE 'UNSETTLING POWER' OF '76 'CARRIE'
"AS GOOD ART SOMETIMES OUGHT TO DO, THE WHOLE MIX RENDERS THE VIEWER UNEASY"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriecredits3a.jpg

Aa part of a series called "The Problematics" at Decider, Glenn Kenny discusses Brian De Palma's Carrie:
In my recollection, the breakthrough 1973 Stephen King novel about high-schoolers was pretty popular with actual high-schoolers back in the day; I remember many upper classmen carrying around the paperback and comparing juicy bits, much as they did with Mario Puzo’s The Godfather a couple of years prior. The King book was one that gave pop culture a proper and explicit introduction to telekinesis, that being the move-things-with-my-mind power that poor Carrie White uses to fix both her religious-fanatic mother and her peer prom-ruiner’s at the story’s wild climax.

Then hotshot director De Palma, most of whose films up to this one reveled in a snarky, sometimes perverse subversive streak, brought not-inconsiderable irreverence to this project, which he definitely sensed could be a commercial hit that would sharpen his studio-filmmaking profile. Look at a dinner scene between Sissy Spacek’s Carrie and her unbalanced mom, played with pitch-perfect awareness by Piper Laurie. When Carrie reveals “I’ve been invited to the prom?”, Mom raises an eyebrow and says “Prom?” At that moment, lightning flashes like something out of a Universal Frankenstein movie.

The virtuosic director goes all-but-kitchen-sink in orchestrating effects to achieve maximum shock and horror: diopter shots, shock cuts, rack focusing, you name it. The way the movie hews to the time that it was made is in its matter-of-fact treatment of how high schoolers got it on, supposedly.

Here Carrie’s tormentors here are both super mean and super horny. John Travolta’s Billy, boyfriend to Nancy Allen’s gum-cracking, eye-rolling horror show Chris, is both dumb and physically abusive. There’s shot-reverse-shot bit in which Billy leers at Chris’s braless breasts under her sweater that shares the character’s joy of ogling. In the same scene, Chris uses fellatio to inveigle “dumb shit” Billy into taking part in her evil scheme to avenge herself on Carrie. And here too, De Palma can’t resist a joke, having Chris interrupt her efforts to exclaim “I hate Carrie White,” much to Billy’s confusion.

The 1976 movie’s opening scene, in which the horrified Carrie experiences menstruation for the first time in the girl’s locker room shower post-gym class, is shot in a gauzy, dreamy, slow-motion, and literally steamy male-gaze fashion that De Palma would use again in the opening of Dressed To Kill, with Angie Dickinson (and her body double) fantasizing rhapsodically about sex with a hunky stranger. Nancy Allen — director De Palma’s future wife, it’s worth mentioning — bounces by in the altogether, and De Palma lingers on Spacek’s Carrie soaping up her breasts, belly, and thighs. (The score by Pino Donaggio has a flute melody that suggests some kind of ad concerning the “special times” of one’s life.) But as much as De Palma luxuriates here, the strategy is to overturn whatever pleasure the male viewer might derive by depicting Carrie’s “plug it up” humiliation in excruciating detail.

The 2013 Carrie remake, directed by Kimberley Peirce, maintains the period of discovery — or, rather, the discovery of period — in the girls’ shower, but also keeps the taunting teens in towels or underwear. And it shows Carrie mostly from the shoulders up, certain shot choices paying homage to the shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho as she goes. (Why didn’t De Palma think of that?) As for sex, popular kids Tommy and Sue are sufficiently reflective characters that they interrupt their (very briefly depicted) coitus to discuss Sue’s guilty feelings about throwing tampons at Carrie. There’s more time devoted to the ins and outs of how Chris and Billy get all that pig’s blood than to the details of their fraught relationship. (Cell phone videos are added to the mix, too.) But as Manohla Dargis pointed out in her mostly favorable review of the remake in The New York Times, “the dread of the female body that deepens Mr. De Palma’s version somehow goes missing.”

That dread is not unrelated to a less specifically gendered trend that was brewing in genre movies in this period, eventually termed “body horror.” Carrie can nestle comfortably — or uncomfortably, as the case may be — between David Cronenberg’s 1975 and 1977 films Shivers and Rabid in this respect. And Julia Decorneau’s new, provocative French film Titane is a proud and prominent inheritor of what De Palma and Cronenberg were up to. Whereas Peirce’s remake re-centers the movie around Carrie’s relationship with her mother (in the newer film, Carrie is played by Chloe Moretz, and the mom by Julianne Moore), and the theme becomes twisted family relations, for better or worse.

A large part of what makes De Palma’s Carrie potentially problematic is also a source of its unsettling power. The girl’s shower scene notwithstanding, the treatment of teen sexuality isn’t intended solely to titillate; rather, it makes a mordant commentary on the use of sex as a weapon, leaning heavy on a female vamp stereotype. While we now consider that a retrograde cliché, it’s not a condition without real-life precedent. As good art sometimes ought to do, the whole mix renders the viewer uneasy.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, November 3, 2021
45 YEARS AGO TODAY, 'CARRIE' IN LIMITED RELEASE
2021 ILLUSTRATION BY MIKE PAPPA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/mikepappa2021.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 8:11 AM CDT
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Tuesday, November 2, 2021
KINO LORBER - NEW HDR 'DRESSED TO KILL' RESTORATION
SUPERVISED BY BRIAN DE PALMA, FROM A 16-BIT 4K SCAN OF THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dtkposterinvitessmall.jpg

Two days ago, Kino Lorber Studio Classics posted this announcement on its Facebook page:
Coming Soon on 4KUHD!
BRAND NEW Dolby Vision HDR Restoration to be Supervised by Brian De Palma!
From a 16-Bit 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative!

Dressed to Kill (1980) Starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon & Dennis Franz – Shot by Ralf D. Bode (Saturday Night Fever) – Music by Pino Donaggio (Body Double) – Written & Directed by Brian De Palma (Carrie, The Untouchables).


"The Blu-ray disc will include the bonus features, region free," Kino Lorber replied to a question in the comments about this upcoming edition. When someone asked about Blow Out, Kino Lorber responded, "We asked for Blow Out, it was not available."

Posted by Geoff at 11:16 PM CDT
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Monday, November 1, 2021
KEITH GORDON & JAMEY DUVALL TALK ABOUT 'CARRIE'
ON LATEST EPISODE OF THE PROJECTION BOOTH PODCAST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/projectionboothcarrie.jpg

Keith Gordon revisits Brian De Palma's Carrie, the first De Palma film he'd ever seen, as he and Jamey Duvall join Mike White on the latest episode of The Projection Booth Podcast:
Special Guests: Joseph Aisenberg, Nancy Allen, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Joe Maddrey
Guest Co-Hosts: Jamey Duvall, Keith Gordon

We’re wrapping up #Shocktober 2021 with a look at Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976). Based on the novel by Stephen King, the film stars Sissy Spacek as the titular Carrie White. She’s a young woman who’s lived under her mother’s thumb and religious fervor. When she experiences her first period, she also experiences a new ability to move objects with her mind.

Keith Gordon and Jamey Duvall join Mike to discuss the film. Interviews include Piper Laurie, William Katt, Nancy Allen, Joseph Aisenberg (Studies in the Horror Film: Carrie), and Joe Maddrey (Adapting Stephen King: Volume 1, Carrie, 'Salem's Lot and The Shining from Novel to Screenplay).


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, October 30, 2021
45 YEARS AGO TODAY, A SATURDAY
'CARRIE' WAS UNVEILED IN U.S. THEATERS WITH LATE NIGHT PREVIEW SCREENINGS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriepreview1.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 5:03 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 30, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
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Friday, October 29, 2021
AMONGST THE STARS - DIAMOND DOGS & BEST FRIENDS
"I WON'T SAY A WORD, I PROMISE, I'M YOUR BEST FRIEND"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/amongst1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, October 28, 2021
CARRIE & CHRIS
LAST TO THE LOCKER ROOM, SLAPPED BY MISS COLLINS IN FRONT OF CLASSMATES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/slaps1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
'WHEN I WATCH IT NOW, IT LOOKS LIKE A WORK OF ART'
LOOKING BACK AT 2013 P.J. SOLES VULTURE INTERVIEW
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/pjsolesheadshot.jpg
Back in October of 2013, as Kimberly Peirce's remake of Carrie was being released, Vulture's Patti Greco reached out to P.J. Soles by phone for a magnificent interview about working on Brian De Palma's Carrie. Here's an excerpt:
Who were you closest with on set? Was it Nancy Allen [again, she played Chris], since most of your scenes were with her?
Yeah, Nancy and I are still really, really good friends. And we were very close [on set]. I was always trying to steer her away from having a crush on Brian. Didn’t work — she married him! And got divorced [Laughs.] But I tried to warn her, I said, “Why are you doing this? Look, he’s got that look on his face, like he’s enjoying all this. There’s a sadistic guy in there.” [Pretending to be Nancy], “Oh, he’s so cute.” No, Nancy, no! I was also close to Betty Buckley [who played Miss Collins], she actually had been a previous girlfriend of Brian’s. And she didn’t know how to drive and I had a blue pickup truck, and Brian asked if I would pick her up every day at the Chateau Marmont and bring her to the set. And so I’d go by every day and pick up Betty, who would pull down the visor and put on makeup. And I’d go, “It’s 6 a.m., Betty, we’ll be in makeup in like half an hour. What are you doing?” She’d go, “Brian’s gonna see me, I want to look my best!” I’d go, “Brian? He’s not even gonna look at us. We’re gonna go right to makeup.”

So Brian was the set stud?
Well, I wouldn’t say that. I think Nancy had a crush on him and Betty was an ex-girlfriend. She was nervous about how he was going to do away with her character, that’s all she would talk about. Because it wasn’t specified in the script. It said, like, “chaos in the gymnasium” and then it was up to Brian how each individual person was killed. Like, my character got killed by the fire hose, which obviously wasn’t in the Stephen King book because there was no Norma in the book. But Betty was nervous about how he was going to do away with her and then the basketball, the backboard comes crashing down on her. She was terrified of that.

Were Brian and Nancy actually dating on set or did that come after? No, no, I think it was once it ended. I mean, everybody was busy. We filmed all day long and then Brian was one of the rare directors that would say, “Come on, kids, let’s go look at the dailies.” And then we’d all march over to the screening room and watch dailies together. It always amazed me that he would want us in there, because he was making his notes, working, while we were in there laughing, going, “Hahaha, look at that.”

Was he inclusive, then? I thought he was known for being more like a dictator. He wasn’t really a dictator. It was definitely his set. You always know who the director is: They’re the one in charge and they’re sitting in the higher chair. But he wasn’t very verbal. For instance, at the end of a scene, a lot of directors will go, “Cut. That’s great, let’s do another one.” Or, “Oh, that’s great, we can move on.” He would say cut and then you’d look and if he had this sly smile on his face, you knew he liked it. And then he’d just kind of mumble. And if you saw the camera move, you’d go, I guess we’re moving on. That’s good. We’re not gonna do it again. So it wasn’t a loud set; it was a very quiet set. It was really about the shots, and the lighting, and the look. We came in at the last minute like a football team, like, Okay, run this play. We have the field mowed, the people in the stands, and then the players come in to run one play. We were sort of the afterthought to everything that was going on. Everything that led up to it was what took the time, and it looks like that. To me, when I watch it now, it looks like a work of art; it looks like somebody painted this movie.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, October 25, 2021
STUDENTS POSE ON STAIRS WHERE 'CARRIE' WAS FILMED
AND THEY'RE HOSTING A SCREENING OF THE MOVIE SATURDAY, INSIDE THAT HERMOSA BEACH BUILDING
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/hermosa1.jpg

"Admission is free with a $2 charge for pizza," Michael Hixon states at the end of today's Daily Breeze article. The photo above comes from the same article, showing five South Bay teenagers standing on the stairs that featured in Brian De Palma's Carrie. The teens will host a free screening of Carrie inside that building, which is now the Hermosa Beach Community Center, this Saturday, October 30th, at 6:30pm (and the pizza, of course, for an extra two dollars). Here's more from Hixon's article:
In 1975, when the film was made, the community center was the just-closed Pier Avenue School, on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. The art deco building today operates as a theater and public gymnasium, and is the home to the Hermosa Beach Historical Museum.

The building’s exterior and the outside stairway in the back played pivotal roles in “Carrie,” according to Jack Fisk, an art director on the film who has also been married to Spacek since 1974.

Pier Avenue School was one of three schools used to represent Bates High in the film, Fisk said in the 2001 documentary “Visualizing Carrie.” The bone-chilling final indoor scene was shot on a sound stage to take advantage of special effects involving fire, he said.

This week’s film screening, hosted by students from Mira Costa and Redondo Union high schools, will include a 1970s-themed costume party and a discussion of the film’s Hermosa Beach history.

Jamie Erickson, director of operations at the Hermosa Beach Historical Museum, will also show off a portion of the girl’s shower stall with the original pink tile that was part of a key scene. That part of “Carrie” happens early in the film, when classmates tease the shy Carrie White, whose fanatically religious mother fails to tell her what to expect when she gets her period.


Two additional photos are included in the Daily Breeze article. One shows the pink tile that has been preserved from the time of filming:

The other photo was taken at a 2018 screening of Carrie at the Hermosa Beach Museum. It shows the shower that can be seen in the film, and which is currently in a city storage area at the Hermosa Beach Community Center and is not accessible to the public:


Posted by Geoff at 11:01 PM CDT
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