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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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Saturday, October 8, 2022
Brian De Palma's Sisters screens tonight at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, as a TIFF Cinematheque Special Screening. Here's the description from the TIFF event page:
Brian De Palma goes full Hitchcock with this stylish mix of psychological thriller and horror film, his first true genre-film outing and the prototype for much of his subsequent work. After meeting on a TV game show, French Canadian model Danielle (Margot Kidder) and a young ad executive spend the night together, but the morning after is bloodily interrupted when Danielle’s insane twin Dominique shows up and kills her sister’s lover in a jealous rage. Danielle and her ex-husband, creepy psychiatrist Dr. Breton (William Finley), manage to conceal the evidence of the crime, but ambitious reporter Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) — who witnessed the slaying from her rear window (of course) — sets out to track down the killer, leading to a sinister institution and a dark secret from the past. Sporting a nerve-scraping score from frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann, Sisters, now marking its 50th anniversary, is “sensational … the use of the split-screen to show scenes from different angles and the elaborate tracking shots indicate the arrival of a prodigious new stylist forging an original signature” (Philip French, The Guardian).

Posted by Geoff at 3:12 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 8, 2022 3:14 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 6, 2022
In his National Review review of Andrew Dominik's Blonde, Armond White brings up Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia:
Monroe and her movies are probably unfamiliar to most contemporary film watchers. What’s notable about Blonde is that a distinct Netflix style emerges: slick, cynical nonsense, usually interposing black-and-white artifice for effect (as in Roma, Mank, The Irishman, Power of the Dog, etc.). This fanciful treatment comes together, after an introductory crazy-mother childhood-trauma sequence, when Monroe submits to sodomy by Fox studio president Darryl F. Zanuck to get her first feature-film role.

Her tryout, playing a psychotic babysitter in Don’t Bother to Knock, presages doom. Monroe (played by Ana de Armas) lacks MM’s space-cadet trick but comes off pretentiously literary (although she’s never seen cracking a book). This ominous audition does not connect the actress to her culture as did the Gone with the Wind audition of the tragic girl in Brian De Palma’s revelatory Black Dahlia.

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 PM CDT
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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

World of Reel's Jordan Ruimy posted the following this morning:
I’m hearing Brian De Palma is FINALLY ready to shoot “Sweet Vengeance.” The crime drama will shoot in and around Montevideo, Uruguay and will be “inspired by two true stories of murders” which took place in the United States.

De Palma is said to have been inspired by watching true-life crime programs on television the past three-to-four decades. He also has a Weinstein-inspired film that is currently in pre-production limbo.

Ruimy adds, "The film is said to NOT be in English, which is a first for the filmmaker."

Wagner Moura cast as lead in De Palma's Sweet Vengeance

Alcaine to shoot De Palma's Sweet Vengeance
Sweet Vengeance to frontline two international leads, male & female
De Palma designing complex drone shot for new film


Posted by Geoff at 12:40 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2022 11:20 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Guillaume Gas at Les Chroniques de Cliffhanger & Co
First of all, let's get rid of the annoying subject, unfortunately unstoppable for any adventurous and fetishist cinephile. From its poster to its synopsis through its trailer, it was already obvious, even before discovering the beast on the big screen, that the new film by Sébastien Marnier was going to flash the name of Claude Chabrol one frame out of two. It will not take more than two hours for the impression to be confirmed, the signs of correspondence continuing to accumulate in single file. On this approach aimed at penetrating a kind of bourgeois and cozy vivarium where rattlesnakes and vipers manipulate pretense (and hypocrisy) with rare dexterity, we clearly feel on familiar ground. On this game of satire which cracks social conventions one by one over a plot where the shadow of a doubt creeps in a loop and where the crime is always almost perfect, it's the same thing, without forgetting the constant gauging of class relations to spice up human relations. On the very last shot of the film, we will have there just as soon to see a quasi transfer of the one, memorable, which closed The Ceremony. So, kif-kif? It's not as simple as that.

We must already put in mind the two previous films by Marnier (Irréprochable and L'Heure de la sortie), in order to target how their common guiding thread (a mental obsession that never ceases to poison everyday life) could settle in wonderfully in an eminently Chabrolian setting. And starting from there, the taste for narrative opacity that Marnier uses from the first to the last shot helps to make the difference. better manipulate the opening with caution for an audience that does not yet know the real content. The exercise is even all the more delicate in that the cinephile seasoned with the habits and customs of the psychological thriller (including news that whispers an idea or leaves it a little too long in suspense) will quickly break through the pot of roses – here revealed halfway through. It suffices here for Marnier to bet all his marbles on the ellipse which hides the truth, on the deceptive effects of a framing where the scales of the shot first pretend to invert the real natures of the characters, on the uncertainty characters and identities (always be wary when the identity, or even the usefulness, of a character remains unclear for too long) and on the impossibility of positioning the ethical cursor in a context of visceral hatred (one could imagine a thousand scenarios different from Cluedo with a bourgeois family like this!). Still, what amazes here is the degree of mastery.

We will first salute the crazy work on the structure of the plot, here nestling galore, and on the narration, here eminently vicious by disseminating its clues gradually, just to better put it upside down for us most unexpected moment. The narrative progression marries marvelously with a linearity constantly disrupted by the breaks in tone (here managed with parsimony), the humor becomes a matter of unease (and vice versa), the compass of empathy is disturbed until activating the most crazy, and the cast, led by a Laure Calamy decidedly subscribed to the praise concert for life, plays its game well (therefore hides it well) by leaving its internal schema in a psychic fog that the final scene will not even do the effort to mitigate. In this respect, the title of the film also has the value of an enigma: the nature of this "origin" is so unclear (is it a character? an act? something else?) that it verges on the sight of spirit. And to drive the point home, do these varied trinkets, these stuffed animals and these carnivorous plants that populate this luxurious residence – and which accompany the end credits here – have an omniscient function or a simple symbolic value in this story? Again, nothing is less certain.

The mastery also affects the frame and the image, Marnier making it a point of honor here to use the power of the staging to amplify his story and his subject. Here again, our cinephilia enjoins us to mention the name of Brian De Palma. Not only by this intelligent use of the split-screen (which suggests the incompatibility, often more than debatable, of characters despite everything brought together by force of circumstance), not only for this opening sequence shot in women's locker rooms which makes mine to photocopy Carrie's opening, not only either for this implicit questioning of the notion of "truth", but above all for this strategy aimed at operating a mise en abyme of the notion of "staging", through a film that lies about characters who (are) lying. Nothing could be more effective for exhibiting a false reality twisted at leisure by a burning desire that the narration first pass over in silence. We will not go so far as to say that the degree of success is the same as with De Palma, but as a student's work, Marnier knows so well "the origin of talent" that he gets the mention "very well” without any difficulty. And we congratulate him.

Ludovic Béot, Les Inrockuptibles
'The Origin of Evil', Sébastien Marnier summons De Palma and Fritz Lang

By freeing himself from the influence of Chabrol for those of two great formalists of American cinema, Sébastien Marnier orchestrates a striking game of pretense and entrusts Laure Calamy with a vertiginous role of opacity.

Perhaps tired of the somewhat systematic affiliation that the commentators of his cinema have been able to make with that of Chabrol, Sébastien Marnier (Irreproachable, L'Heure de la sortie) takes from the prologue of L'Origine du mal , the opposite, propelling us into an uninterrupted waltz of double-bottomed images.

If The Origin of Evil is unquestionably his most Chabrolian film in terms of the themes evoked (the disorder of the provincial bourgeoisie), the first minutes take us elsewhere. In an anchovy factory, Stéphane, one of his workers (Laure Calamy) pure but naive, is wrung out by the violence of the world around him. The actress who lends her features to this character is no coincidence. Discovered by the general public with Ten percent in the role of a deliciously candid character, then interpreting on several occasions courageous women, manhandled by the brutality of the system (Full Time, A Woman of the World), Calamy, is, here , on familiar ground. Yet something resists, rings false, like an out of tune piano powerlessly playing the right chords in a score.

By mimicking, voluntarily or not, this too often systematic pitfall of a certain French-style social cinema which sanctifies the victim to keep only the angelic face, Marnier has learned the lesson of another great moralist master: Fritz Lang , in which every victim simultaneously becomes the executioner of another. This aphorism offers Laure Calamy, passionate about opacity, a dizzying demonstration of the plasticity of the ego.

The incredible truth

From then on, it is not just a face that changes nature, but a whole film, when suddenly the camera indulges in a new mannerism in Marnier's cinema. Whether it's a split-screen in the middle of a family reunion, or even a wide camera movement with a crane initiated on three motionless characters on a sofa. These aesthetic dross share in common their incongruity and weave an affiliation as new as it is unexpected with Brian de Palma.

However, we must see in this recycling, excessively outrageous, tropisms of the author of Body Double, not an end in itself but as a new secret passage, certainly the most exciting, to penetrate the film. The Origin of Evil shares with De Palma's films the way in which malignity and virtuosity orchestrate this ballet of pretense and double-dealing, which gradually takes precedence and renders the credibility of the facts told here insignificant, implausible. There is in The Origin of Evil, this same capacity to extract oneself from a main narrative line to devote oneself to a pure theoretical object on the nature of images and to redefine even the most obvious moral fields: here there is no lie , neither truth, nor executioner, nor victim.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2022 12:25 AM CDT
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Monday, October 3, 2022

Posted by Geoff at 10:42 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 2, 2022
GODARD IN 1980 -

Posted by Geoff at 10:56 PM CDT
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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Noah Baumbach's adaptation of Don DeLillo's White Noise won't be released until the end of December, but reviews have been coming out of film festivals in Venice and New York:

Rehna Azim, Movie Marker

Based on the 1985 novel by Don Delillo, White Noise is a far more ambitious film than director Noah Baumbach’s last effort, the popular 2019 drama Marriage Story. His influences, such as the American disaster movies of the 70s and 80s, the rom-com of that era, the family on vacation movies, as well as the high-octane thrillers of directors such as Brian De Palma, are all evident here in the tonal shifts, the technically assured and stylish look of the film, the flashy action scenes, the looming disaster of a toxic, chemical cloud, the large family bundled into a car and the verbal back and forth of the central married couple.

David Ehrlich, IndieWire
If the first act of “White Noise” feels like a work of expert-level pantomime, the similarly faithful second act somehow creates an energy all its own. Baumbach knows that DeLillo anticipated the likes of “The Matrix,” “The Truman Show,” and scads of other stories in which reality becomes a simulation of itself, but those aren’t the movies he wants to remind you of here. A crucial difference between the “White Noise” of 2022 and the “White Noise” of 1985 is that Baumbach has already seen the movies that DeLillo’s book helped to inspire, and that frees him to have some fun with this one.

As Jack, Babette, and the four younger members of their blended brood (a terrific group that also includes Raffey Cassidy and May Nivola) attempt to flee the airborne toxic effect, trying to suss out how safe they should feel amid the traffic jam of other families trying to do the same thing, Baumbach switches to a register that we’ve never seen from him before. Suddenly we’re in “War of the Worlds” territory, complete with oodles of Spielberg Face and a menacing awe so artful and evocative that it feels more like the real thing than a commentary on it. Something I never thought I’d write about a Baumbach film: The CGI is fantastic.

The evacuation sequences viscerally convey the appeal of disaster movies by clinging to a character who refuses to accept that he’s in one (at least at first), or to acknowledge that death can still find him in a large crowd. Baumbach’s visual language ensures that we have no such trouble. We’ve seen “Independence Day,” “Deep Impact,” and enough films of its ilk to recognize what a massive disaster supposedly looks like, but Jack — living in 1985 — doesn’t have the same frame of reference. To him, his situation doesn’t feel like a movie, and so he’s slow to recognize it as a disaster (a phenomenon illustrated in the brilliant shot of a black cloud swallowing the glow of a Shell logo just above Jack’s shoulder). We have the opposite problem, and it epitomizes why “White Noise” may be even more relevant today than it was 37 years ago: When we reckon with a disaster that seems too much like a movie, we struggle to accept that it’s real. As a character puts it in the book, and possibly also in this film: “For most people there are only two places in the world: Where they live and their TV set.”

Baumbach has an absolute field day with this dissonance; the closer his characters veer towards danger, the more that Baumbach exaggerates the movie-ness of their existence. A dramatic car chase is shot like a scene from an ’80s road trip comedy like “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” complete with a slow-motion shot of the family station flying through the air. A climactic showdown in a seedy motel — the end of the Dylar affair — drips with De Palma, all the way down to an unmissable split-diopter shot.

It’s a good thing the movie’s semiotic pleasures are so pronounced, because the book’s more basic charms don’t quite survive the trip to the big screen (let alone the ride home to Netflix). That third act gunplay is typical of an adaptation that’s always smart and on edge, but seldom involving enough beyond that. DeLillo’s writing gives readers the space to see their own existential terror reflected back at them in the funhouse mirror of Jack’s absurd circumstances, but Baumbach’s “White Noise” — more externalized by default — proves too arch for our emotions to penetrate.

Baumbach’s film is so determined to feel like “White Noise” that it ends up wearing the novel like a costume, a sensation epitomized by its lead performance. Driver is far too young to play the 51-year-old Jack (even if 38 was the 51 of 1985), though his middle-aged cosplay contributes to the general air of simulacra. More difficult to excuse is the actor’s struggle to sell the journey of Jack’s epiphanies. Driver is so naturally wild with life that he never quite musters the latent fear needed to fuel his character through the first act; it’s the same reason why the self-possession Jack finds in the third act feels less earned than it does inevitable. It’s a fitting anchor for an adaptation that gets everything so right that you might yearn for the friction that comes with getting it wrong, or at least the tension that comes from pulling away.

It’s no coincidence that the film’s most ecstatic moments — the first scene, the last scene, and the Spielbergian chaos that runs down the middle — are also the ones that most deviate from the book. Baumbach is ultimately too in sync with DeLillo for “White Noise” to escape from the shadow of its monolithic source material, as movie struggles to escape the hat on a hat sensation of that match between filmmaker and novelist, and often feels like the work of a third party who’s trying to imitate them both at once. All the same, you can still hear something almost subliminally divine under that uncanniness whenever Baumbach cranks up the volume. The sound of a beeping smoke alarm, perhaps.

Posted by Geoff at 11:34 PM CDT
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Friday, September 30, 2022

As the second season of Chucky premieres next week, creator and showrunner Don Mancini is asked by CBR's Bryan Cairns about the series' Young Adult milieu:
CBR: YA material can be a tough sell, yet Chucky perfectly balances young adult and horror. Why does it work for the series?

Don Mancini: There's a couple of different answers to that question. YA is an inherently good fit for the Chucky franchise because aesthetically and dramatically, we have always been about making everything stylized. One of the things that we found out with the movies over the years is that Chucky himself operates best in a stylized setting, where everything is a little heightened. As I often say, we don't want to go full Tim Burton... and I say that as a huge Tim Burton fan...

We always want to keep one foot on the ground. A lot of what we do with Chucky, we have always done it in the movies, but even more so in the TV show is this tonal balancing act of going from the utter sincerity and naturalistic acting that comes from the sincerity of these teenage kids, and then bridging the gap to the over-the-top campiness of Chucky and Tiffany themselves, and the character we refer to as Nica Chucky. All of that is deliberately at 11. One of the things I love doing is just the challenge of making that mix of tones work.

I think because teenagers' emotions are heightened when you are at that age, it's operatic. That's why I loved Brian De Palma's movies from the '70s, like Carrie and The Fury, because I felt that these stories about telepathy and telekinesis -- and how they are used as metaphors for puberty and unexpressed teenage feelings -- there is something effective about that. I thought the YA was constantly a good fit for Chucky. We also have a number of very talented young writers working on the show. They help me a lot, writing believable young people. At my age, I am further away from that. My method is just writing people. I don't write down to them. I don't write kids particularly differently.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Thanks to Antonio for sending along this article by Ferran Bono at El País, about a new exhibition in Spain that includes Brian De Palma's documentary short, The Responsive Eye:
They were archaic visionaries. They raised the need to start "from scratch" after the horror of World War II. They wanted to break with expressionism and the gestures of post-war art, work in groups and use the technologies of the moment, light, optical effects, scientific research, turn painting upside down, as can be seen in the exhibition Far from the void . ZERO and post-war art in Europe.

Organized by the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM), the exhibition exhibits works by artists such as Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Piero Manzoni, Equipo 57 or Lucio Fontana, the spiritual father of most of them. And it also includes a rarity that reveals the influence exerted by these creators gathered in cities like Düsseldorf, Milan, Amsterdam, Paris or Zagreb.

This is the documentary directed in 1966 at the age of 25 by a then unknown filmmaker, Brian de Palma, about the exhibition The responsive eye that the MoMA in New York mounted a year earlier. It exhibited works by these European creators and their referents, as well as other North American artists who had followed in the footsteps of the first, exploring the world of illusions and optical effects, of advances in science, in the production of movement in the painting. The director of films as popular as Carrie, who stopped studying science to dedicate himself to cinema, where he stood out for his visual ability, interviews the protagonists with a camera in hand and shows examples of these abstract works, encouraged by the precedents of the avant-garde of between the wars, Moholy-Nagy's experimentation with light and engineering, or the geometric forms and composition of the Russian constructivists.

The documentary can be seen in the last room of the exhibition which, curated by Bartomeu Marí, reviews some of these movements that took place in Europe between 1957 and 1966, taking as a reference the ZERO group, made up of Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Gunter Uecker , whose ideas spread through the magazine of the same name. It brings together a total of 175 works, including paintings, sculptures, documents and films, from the IVAM collection, the Zero Foundation and numerous museums and galleries. The exhibition opens this Thursday and runs until February 12.

“The exhibition allows us to understand the hinge position that these groups exercised between the historical avant-gardes and subsequent relational art, while bringing us closer to the long 1960s, with critical episodes such as the Cold War, capitalist developmentalism and so many other utopias. and dystopias that end up shifting the focus towards other forms of art such as pop or minimal”, explained this Wednesday Nuria Enguita, director of the IVAM.

Organized around five rooms, the exhibition shows the aesthetic proposals of this generation of artists, far removed from the prevailing expressionism. "In the first introduction room we remember the veneration that the young artists of the moment had for Lucio Fontana", according to the curator. The Italian-Argentinean Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) was the founder in 1946 of spatialism, which sought to eradicate the art of the easel in painting and try to capture movement and time.

A second room contrasts the scenes of Düsseldorf, where the ZERO magazine is published, and that of Milan, where the Azimuth Gallery and the magazine of the same name animated the European scene for a short year. The following gallery contrasts the Dutch scene with influential artists like Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely.

The exhibition continues with the group of younger Italian artists "who investigate movement, optical effects and the first experiments with the cyber world, the interactivity between viewer and work, before it was called digital," said Marí. The exhibition concludes with installations that include light and movement.

There is also a room dedicated to the works of the Spanish artists from Team 57 (Luis Aguilera, Ángel Duarte, José Duarte, Juan Serrano and Agustín Ibarrola), who participated in various exhibitions related to the new trend with proposals that matched the debates of the moment, just as young Italian artists did who created what we now call immersive installations.

Marí pointed out that the experimentation with light, mirrors and movement in the work of those artists was later applied in recreational and festive activities, in nightlife, in the discos that were experiencing their golden age.

“They were a generation that, having lived through the war as children, wanted to move away from the void to propose a new art, in the spirit of the purest avant-garde, an art that, far from the idea of genius, already proposed an art accessible to all”, affirmed Nuria Enguita.

Posted by Geoff at 7:56 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2022 8:21 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

In an article at Style Weekly headlined "Tortured Artist Blues," Chuck Bowen reviews Andrew Dominik's Blonde and Ti West's Pearl:
Embracing a cheeky tone and a beautiful Technicolor palette that has something to do with “The Wizard of Oz” for some reason, West openly encourages us to root for Pearl cracking up. He’s entirely, unapologetically on Pearl’s wavelength, and he builds a pedestal for Goth in the process. West’s awe of Goth, which is justified, is unusually courtly for a horror movie director. Courtlier, in fact, than Dominik’s trivializing of Marilyn Monroe.

It may sound unbelievable to people who haven’t seen these movies yet, especially given their respective levels of prestige, but West and Goth build a better tormented artist than Dominik. West understands that miserable people can sometimes have fun anyway, and that there is a difference between what people show to society and how they are when they are alone.

Pearl’s restless creative spirit is accorded a surprising amount of weight, but West isn’t sentimental. Pearl’s imagination, horniness, and madness are all wrapped up together, emitting wild creative sparks. Ruth is a routine harridan mother, think Piper Laurie’s crazed mother in Brian De Palma’s “Carrie” without the theatricality, and while that characterization is a disappointment it allows us to subversively cheer Pearl on.

Pearl” is less violent than “X” but more twisted. It’s a celebration of an artist’s selfishness, and its wild tonal swings mark a new path for West, who is often devoted to rigid set-ups and slow burns. Pearl frees not only herself, but West.

Meanwhile, at Idaho State Journal, Cassidy Robinson hits on some of the same notes in regards to Pearl:
Fans of West’s previous work have no idea what they are in store for with “Pearl.” His previous films evoked the tonal qualities of genre-specific horror movies, but his approach here is much more playful and exuberant. This is a horror film that doesn’t rely on moody lighting or other aesthetic signifiers to telegraph its scares, often avoiding the common editing tendencies of traditional horror set pieces. In place of creepy set dressing and serious music stings, West presents us with the type of technicolor fantasia of idyllic Americana and countryside décor that one might associate with a stage production of “Oklahoma.”

Bright red barns, blue skies, and green pastoral fields splash across the imagery in bold primary simplicity. When this is then juxtaposed with sudden acts of violence, dismemberment, and southern gothic melodrama, Pearl’s psychological duality stabs with sharper satire.

Mia Goth is credited as a co-writer on this project, and for all the movie’s genre-bending and broad displays of visual flourish, the story always serves to showcase the emotional reality of the character and her demented transition. Goth straddles the role between child-like innocence and the darker nuanced just below Pearl’s repressed surface, all while remaining in harmony with the film’s arch tone and intentional artifice. We see her dance, we see her cry, and we watch the dissociated torment that’s left when she believes that she doesn’t have any dignity worth protecting. This role will likely remain a touchstone for Goth in what is hopefully a long and varied career going forward.

I could spend all day talking about the film’s “Wizard of Oz” references, the traces of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” Brian De Palma’s similarly gauzy suburban fairytale “Carrie,” and the subtle nodes of John Water’s grotesque use of Hollywood camp as a means of social critique. What unifies these influences is the precision of an authorial vision and the confidence of a narratively driven style. “Pearl” serves as both a celebration of cinema as a means of escape, as well as a warning about losing your identity in the romance of that illusion.

Posted by Geoff at 11:52 PM CDT
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