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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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« March 2024 »
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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

Snake Eyes
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Mission To Mars
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Sergio Leone
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

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

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This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
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The former
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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Genius of Love
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Sunday, March 3, 2024
STEVEN FIERBERG TO RECEIVE ASC CAREER HONOR TODAY
PROFILE ARTICLE INCLUDES PHOTO OF HIM WITH DE PALMA, WORKING ON HOME MOVIES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/stevenfierberg.jpg

Steven Fierberg, credited as Additional Photographer and Best Boy on Brian De Palma's Home Movies, has gone to have a terrific career as cinematographer in film and television. Fierberg "will be presented with the ASC Career Achievement in Television Award on Sunday, March 3, during the 38th Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography," according to a profile article by Terry McCarthy at American Cinematographer. "The ceremony will be streamed live at theasc.com."

The article includes the photo above, showing Fierberg and De Palma on the set of Home Movies in 1979. Fierberg went on to be director of photography on Charlie Loventhal's The First Time, a feature that Loventhal co-wrote with Susan and William Finley. Fierberg was also the cinematographer on Sam Irvin's directorial debut, a short titled Double Negative, which William Finley appears in.

Here's the first part of McCarthy's profile article:

Steven Fierberg, ASC, points excitedly at a canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat during a recent tour of L.A.’s The Broad museum. Titled Melting Point of Ice, it has an angry face, a spread-eagled elephant, an eye with teardrops of blood. He notes wryly, “Now that is my world — reds and blacks, anger, the world isn’t working, poverty, people suffering…”

As Fierberg tells it, his vision germinated in dark spaces, including the depressed neighborhoods of Detroit, where he was born, and the punk underworld of New York City, where he started his film career. But as people who have worked with him will quickly point out, the cinematographer’s instinct is to shine light into that darkness and make space there for the human heart. “Steve is built on love,” says director Julian Farino, who worked with him on HBO’s Entourage. “He has the biggest heart, and endless love for humanity.”


Posted by Geoff at 10:28 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2024 10:38 AM CST
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Saturday, March 2, 2024
FLASHBACK - DAVID BORDWELL ON 'VISUAL STORYTELLING'
AND DE PALMA'S SEARCH FOR PURE CINEMA IN MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bordwellmi1.jpg

As we remember David Bordwell, who passed away this week after a long disease, we're looking back at Bordwell's Observations on film art post from 2014 about visual storytelling, which focuses on Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible:
The result is nice case study in visual storytelling. It also indicates how even a pure instance needs non-visual elements to be understood.

Top among those elements is genre. We know a heist situation when we see one, and that knowledge forms a kind of hollow form, a schema into which we slot the elements that generate suspense. What elements? There’s the need for silence and concealment. There’s Donloe, the oblivious analyst who comes in and out of the vault; he must be distracted, but he may still return at the wrong moment. There are unexpected obstacles—a suspicious guard, a curious rat, and a drop of sweat. There’s the risk of a telltale detail that may betray the invaders, such as Krieger’s dagger, dropped onto an arm rest. Over it all hovers a deadline, so that the heist becomes a race against time. (Not only is there a clock in the room, but a digital readout warns us of the rising temperature in the room, another potential giveaway.) Visual storytelling is enormously helped when we bring so much prior knowledge about the type of situation we confront.

“From here on in,” Ethan warns the team, “absolute silence.” For them, maybe, but not for us. The music continues a bit before subsiding for about ten minutes. Even then, the silence isn’t absolute. We hear the hum of the vault, the scratchy patter of the rat approaching Krieger in the ductwork, and the squeaking of the rope as Krieger pays it out and strains to keep Ethan poised above the floor.

Clearly, in his concern for visual storytelling De Palma isn’t ruling out noise and music. What he’s opposed to is talk. But there is talk, however discreet, here too. In M:I, I count about two dozen lines of dialogue once Krieger and Ethan get positioned above the vault. These chiefly involve Luther whispering information to Ethan about Donloe’s whereabouts. Granted, many of his lines are very terse (“He’s in the bathroom,” “Check,” “Good”). Still, dialogue serves as a good redundancy factor, accentuating the suspense of the situation and at one moment giving us access to Luther’s reaction, when he discovers that what Ethan has nabbed is the precious NOC list.

Just as important, our experience of the full suspense of the scene depends on talk we’ve heard earlier. Ethan has gathered his team on the train and is explaining how the security system at Langley works. Using a strategy that goes back to Lang’s M, M:I presents Ethan’s verbal walk-through of the procedures as a voice-over for footage of Donloe executing them. The sequence introduces us to Donloe, familiarizes us with the constraints of the heist, and maps out the normal going-and-coming rhythm that Donloe’s spasmodic upchucking will disrupt.

So the vault break-in can rely on relative silence partly because the situation has been given fully by Ethan’s verbiage. In a way, it’s the reverse order of the Rear Window tutorial: dialogue first, then images to give it dramatic impact.


Posted by Geoff at 11:22 PM CST
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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
EVERY MOMENT MORE INVENTIVE THAN THE LAST
'PHANTOM' INCLUDED IN "SQUATTERS' CINEMA" SERIES THIS MARCH AT THE BEACON IN SEATTLE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/horrorinmirror.jpg

Phantom Of The Paradise will screen Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, at The Beacon in Seattle, as part of the theater's NINE-TENTHS OF THE LAW: SQUATTERS’ CINEMA program:
One of history's most notorious squatters is the Phantom of the Opera. And the greatest film inspired by Gaston Leroux's classic story is PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE!

Of course it's also just as much an adaptation of Faust and The Picture of Dorian Gray as it is Opera. In just an hour and a half, director Brian De Palma folds a ridiculous amount of narrative into PHANTOM and yet it never feels rushed or overstuffed. Every moment is more inventive than the last, and there are elements of the director's style all over: the public horror of CARRIE, the surveillance technology of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, the coked-out sleaze of SCARFACE. But it's also vastly different from anything he'd ever make again - in part because the movie is as defined by one of its stars and composers, Paul Williams, as it is by De Palma.

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is a stylistic balancing act, drifting between genres - from expressionist horror to slapstick comedy to searing melodrama - to tell the tragic saga of a passionate artist devoured by the ruthlessness of the music business. Williams, then a songwriter for acts like the Carpenters and Three Dog Night, spoofs everything from Phil Spector-produced teen pop to Alice Cooper-like shock rock on the soundtrack and in his role as villain tastemaker Swan.

The film does what all good satire does: it cuts to the truth by going beyond it. De Palma draws on the tropes and themes of classic stories and creates images that are almost mythic. The story is as much a parable as it is a parody, a fairy tale-like warning about the damage celebrity can do to the psyche, leaving one no choice but to take to the rafters in response.


Posted by Geoff at 10:30 PM CST
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Saturday, February 24, 2024
CERTIFY THIS
THAT TIME DE PALMA UPENDED THE "TOMATOES" WAY OF THINKING
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominoflashtomato2.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 1:28 PM CST
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Friday, February 23, 2024
LANDON TO MAKE 'DROP' - 'THIS IS MY LOVE LETTER TO DE PALMA'
UPCOMING FAST-PACED THRILLER FROM DIRECTOR OF FREAKY & HAPPY DEATH DAY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/happydeathdayset.jpg

Pictured above is director Christopher Landon with Jessica Rothe on the set of the 2017 film Happy Death Day, a film I enjoyed very much. I also really liked Landon's Freaky from 2020, which starred Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn. Deadline's Justin Kroll reports today that Landon will direct "a fast-paced thriller" titled Drop, with Meghann Fahy attached to star.

On his twitter-X page this afternoon, Landon himself posted, "Finally get to announce this one. I’m so excited to work with such a talented group of people. This is my love letter to DePalma."


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2024 12:02 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
SCORSESE RECEIVES HONORARY GOLDEN BEAR AT BERLIN
TELLS AUDIENCE THAT DE PALMA WINNING SILVER BEAR IN 1969 WAS "A REAL TURNING POINT FOR ALL OF US"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/scorseseberlin2024.jpg

Martin Scorsese received an honorary Golden Bear today at the Berlin Film Festival, for lifetime achievement. According to Variety's Ellise Shafer, Scorsese spoke on stage and recalled the 1969 festival, where Brian De Palma was awarded the Silver Bear for Greetings:
“It was a very important event and it was a real turning point for all of us — for Brian, of course, and by extension all of us who were working low-budget in America at the time, particularly not in Hollywood. Low-budget, independent pictures were quite rare in America at the time, and it helped open the way for filmmakers like Jim McBride and Phil Kaufman, for myself,” he said. “It gave a stature in a sense that the studios started to take us seriously … It paved the way for me meeting up with Bob De Niro and casting him in ‘Mean Streets.’ And 10 years later, I would come to Berlin for the first time with ‘Raging Bull,’ opening night 1980 and then back again with the Rolling Stones for ‘Shine a Light,’ and then again with ‘The 50 Year Argument.'”

Scorsese went on to say that film festivals are where he has met his community of fellow filmmakers, Wenders included.

“Watching each other’s pictures, complimenting each other, arguing with each other, going down our own paths. I mean, what else can one do when you become obsessed with an art form?” Scorsese said. “When you live it, when you have to be on your own. That’s the lonely part, but it’s so important to remember that, even though it’s lonely, that you’re part of a community. And that community of people is driven by an obsessive love with this art called cinema.”

Scorsese added that “the work that we do individually is part of an ongoing, ultimately endless conversation” before teasing that he may make his return to the Berlinale sooner than later.

“I really feel that I’ve been blessed to have taken part in that conversation for most of my life now,” he said. “And as for looking back on my work, I can’t … partly because I really do seem to keep wanting to make pictures. So maybe I’ll see you in a couple years, I hope with another one.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:30 PM CST
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Sunday, February 18, 2024
LILY SULLIVAN DISCUSSES 'CARRIE' ON THE KINGCAST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/kingcastlilycarrie.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 4:35 PM CST
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Friday, February 16, 2024
SCHRADER TO INTRODUCE 'OBSESSION' FEB 20 IN NEW YORK
FOLLOWING A SCREENING OF HIS 1988 FILM PATTY HEARST AT ROXY CINEMA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/roxyobsession2.jpg

Paul Schrader will introduce a screening of Obsession on Tuesday, February 20, at Roxy Cinema in New York. Schrader wrote the screenplay for Obsession from a story that he and De Palma had hammered-out together, and De Palma directed it. The film is part of the Roxy's "They Don't Luv U Like I Love You" film series, and will screen at 9:30pm. Earlier that night, Schrader's Patty Hearst will screen as a separate event at 7pm, and a Q&A with Schrader will follow that screening.


Posted by Geoff at 6:56 PM CST
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Thursday, February 15, 2024
WONDROUS DRAMATIC ARTIFICE
A TWEET FROM VALENTINE'S DAY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetdefender.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 11:28 PM CST
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Wednesday, February 14, 2024
AN EXERCISE IN DREAM LOGIC
DREAD CENTRAL'S TYLER DOUPE' - RAISING CAIN IS PERFECT VIEWING CHOICE FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rcvalentine3.jpg

At Dread Central, Tyler Doupe' writes about Raising Cain, with the headline, "This Underrated Brian De Palma Film Is Perfect For Valentine’s Day" -
While the structure of the theatrical cut does take something away from the experience, I would vehemently argue that it still has plenty of merits exactly as it is. So, for the sake of simplicity, I will focus this essay on the theatrical version because it remains the most widely accessible incarnation of Raising Cain. But for anyone keen to track down the alternate cut, Shout Factory has released Gelderblom’s version as part of a collector’s edition Blu-ray.

No matter which cut of the film you watch, John Lithgow’s ever-versatile performance is a key element of the picture’s success. The actor shines in his turn as several different characters and personas that live inside Carter’s mind. Lithgow manages to convey a sense of real menace in his turn as Cain, helplessness as Carter, and a level of unhinged fury in his portrayal of Dr. Nix.

Like so many of De Palma’s films, Raising Cain is filled with giallo influences. Although it may not have been De Palma’s initial intent, the theatrical cut sort of functions as an exercise in dream logic. There’s a constant surreal quality to the proceedings that feels reminiscent of the output of Argento and Bava. The inclusion of multiple dream sequences combined with narrative developments that feel very dreamlike make the proceedings a bit chaotic. But given my deep appreciation of the Italian murder mysteries of yesteryear, I don’t mind.

The film is also helped along by a number of signature De Palma techniques, including some beautiful split screen and split diopter shots. Not to mention, the director frequently demonstrates his keen ability to craft tension. The sequence where Jenny believes she’s left a gift for Carter in her lover Jack’s (Steven Bauer) hotel room is supremely suspenseful. The footage is assembled masterfully and paired with a chilling Pino Donaggio score. The exchange serves to keep the viewer in a state of perpetual dread as Jenny sneaks into Jack’s room in the middle of the night. There’s a jump scare associated with this setup that makes me leap out of my skin every time I see it. Even though I know it’s coming, I still react the same way.

Moreover, the picture’s final shot is absolutely phenomenal. The way it’s framed and what transpires within only serves to make me love this film all the more.

As I mentioned previously, Raising Cain is set on and around Valentine’s Day. There are plenty of references to the holiday to make this flick a logical alternative to the obvious choices we revisit each year. Valentine’s Day works as a nice backdrop, giving Jenny a reason to buy gifts for both her husband and her lover. But it’s not a central theme, which makes it accessible all year.


Posted by Geoff at 11:09 PM CST
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