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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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« May 2024 »
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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The Filmmaker Who
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Scarface: Make Way
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italkyoubored

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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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Wednesday, May 15, 2024
THE HIDDEN REVERSE SHOT OF REALITY
"THE SPECTATOR IN SEARCH OF THE KEY IMAGE" - 'BLAST' WRITER ON REDACTED
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/redactedposterwide.jpg

At the French news media site Blast, Marc-Gil Depotisse writes insightfully about Brian De Palma's Redacted. Here's an excerpt, with the help of Google Translate:
Individuals thrown into an environment about which they understand nothing.

Brian De Palma offers in Redacted a summary of the iconographic breakdown of reality in times of war which could apply to all modern conflicts. Far from being one-sided (or rather a single view), his film also gives space to the point of view of the soldiers confronted in particular with the danger of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) hidden almost everywhere, a logical counterpoint to the “prepared” explosive devices Americans. Soldiers also faced with absurd orders and missions. For De Palma, it is not a question of making an antimilitarist film, with a monolithic moral message, but of embedding the spectator, of offering him an active process allowing a global understanding of what a war is and of what it inevitably leads to: savagery, destruction and death.

The spectator in search of the key image

In Redacted, the spectator plays the role assigned to the heroes of Snake Eyes and Mission: Impossible. Two earlier films by De Palma in which the main character is subjected to a flood of images which drowns his understanding of reality, until he discovers the missing image, the one which gives him back the power to give form and meaning to a hitherto captivating story. In Mission: Impossible (1996), the character of Ethan Hawke (played by Tom Cruise), a spy wrongly accused of the murder of his boss (Jon Voight), eliminated possible explanations one by one to ultimately succeed in mentally reconstituting this image -missing key: Jon Voight piercing a fake blood bag before putting his bloody hands in front of the camera to make the viewer/Hawke believe he is being murdered by a third party. In Snake Eyes (1998), Nicolas Cage came across, despite all his desire not to see, the recording of a video surveillance camera (already) which revealed the duplicity of his admired childhood friend, army hero soaked up to the neck in a murderous plot for the benefit of the military-industrial complex.

This missing image also exists in Redacted, it is that of the result of the acts committed by the criminal soldiers: the burned corpse of the raped young woman. This true image, in the sense that it illuminates the story of the war and gives it its ultimate meaning, will only appear at the very end of the film (it is the last shot before the credits) at the end of a sequence of photos of American abuses and the suffering endured by the populations. Some photos are real (i.e. taken by real photojournalists), some are taken from the film, and they follow one another on the screen to the tune of “E lucean le stelle”, a heartbreaking aria taken from Tosca by Puccini. A sequence which combines all the marvelous artifices offered by cinema to culminate in this key image which is both openly artificial (it resembles a Goya painting) and perfectly true to the American invasion: that of death and a incredible violence inflicted on innocent individuals.

This missing key image is in fact the hidden reverse shot of reality as told by all the images available today and presented as conforming to reality, while they hide and replace it. This is the case with CCTV camera images which say nothing other than what the gaze which takes hold of them and gives it meaning says. This is also true for the journalistic narrative, “embedded” or not, of the war as of many other events covered by media attention. The polysemy of “cover” takes on its full meaning here: we cover up a crime to hide it, we take cover to escape prying eyes…

Artifice (and art) versus simulacrum

On the media side: snippets of stories told from a single point of view, on selected and edited images, on a “reviewed and corrected” text, but presented to the viewer as a fair and unfabricated reflection of reality. On the cinematographic side: a polyphonic and chaotic story which assumes and displays from the start its status as a re-creation of reality from images clearly announced as artificial. Artifice versus simulacrum. For Baudrillard, the simulacrum today is not a simple copy or imitation of reality, but it replaces it (Simulacres and simulations 1981). Images are no longer copies of an original reality, but themselves constitute reality. De Palma resolutely situates his film in fiction, in the imitation and copy of an original reality whose existence he radically posits by copying it.

Redacted confronts us with our own complacency vis-à-vis these simulacra that we gluttonously consume on a daily basis, without them having any consequences since they no longer refer to any reality, just as the child adheres to the stories that we tell him says before falling asleep better.

By highlighting the tragic consequences of this complacency, De Palma challenges us to question our perceptions and actively seek the truth amid and beyond the images we see, often without looking at them. This requires constant vigilance and condemns informational laziness as much as ignorance of History, like that which we can see spread over the air on news channels about Gaza or Ukraine (for only take these current conflicts). For De Palma, reality is not dead under the load of images. Neither is the truth. The true image is there, “the correct image rather than just an image” (2) exists somewhere, and it is important to find it beyond the simulacra which abound, pollute and devour our perception of reality.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 14, 2024
PAYPHONES IN DE PALMA (PART 9) - 'DRESSED TO KILL'
NANCY ALLEN AS LIZ BLAKE - "Trouble? No, I'm not in any trouble, I just want to talk to the guy!"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/payphonedtk155.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 10:44 PM CDT
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Monday, May 13, 2024
SAMM-ART WILLIAMS HAS DIED
PROLIFIC PLAYWRIGHT, SCREENWRITER, ACTOR & PRODUCER HAD MEMORABLE ROLE IN DRESSED TO KILL
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dressed16s.jpg

Samm-Art Williams, who had a memorable role as the subway police officer in Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill, passed away peacefully today, according to Deadline. He was 78.

More from the Deadline obituary:

Born Samuel Arthur Williams on January 20, 1946, in Philadelphia, Williams was a prolific playwright, screenwriter, actor, and producer.

Performing as Samm Williams, he got his start on the New York stage in the early 1970s, appearing in notable plays such as Black Jesus and, with the New York’s Negro Ensemble Company, Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide and Liberty Calland. By the mid-’70s he began performing in other Off Broadway shows under the name Samm-Art Williams.

By the end of the decade, Williams had made his mark as a stage writer, and is today best known for Home, a drama originally staged by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1979 that moved to Broadway the following year. Home will be revived on Broadway beginning this June is a major Roundabout Theatre Company production directed by Kenny Leon.

The production begins previews May 17 at the Todd Haimes Theatre, opening on June 5.

Home is described by Roundabout as “a muscular and melodic coming-of-age story that gives voice to the unbreakable spirit of all Americans who have been searching for a place to belong.” The drama tells the story of Cephus Miles, a black Southern farmer thrown in jail for opposing the Vietnam draft and later moving North only to experience further difficulties before finally returning home.

The original Broadway production was nominated for the Best Play Tony Award and ran for 278 performances. Williams’ other stage credits include Welcome To Black River and Friends.

Williams also kept busy throughout the 1980s and ’90s writing for such TV shows as The New Mike Hammer, Cagney and Lacey, Badges, John Henry, Frank’s Place, Miami Vice, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Martin, among others. He received a 1985 Emmy nomination (Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program) for Motown Returns to the Apollo (shared with fellow writers Buz Kohan and Peter Elbling).

As a producer, Williams was Emmy-nominated for Frank’s Place, and scored major TV hits with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Martin and The Good News.

A recognizable actor, Williams made notable appearances in 1984’s Blood Simple and as the enslaved person Jim in a 1985 American Playhouse/PBS limited series production of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Other acting credits include guest appearances in 227, Miami Vice, Frank’s Place, The Women of Brewster Place, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, A Rage In Harlem and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.

On the big screen, he made his debut The Wanderers (1979), and the following year played a subway police officer in director Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill.

Accolades include a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Playwriting, and other awards for writing. He was an Artist-in-Residence at North Carolina Central University, where he taught classes on equity theater and the art of playwriting.


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2024 12:05 AM CDT
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Sunday, May 12, 2024
PHONE BOOTHS & PAYPHONES IN DE PALMA (PART 8) - 'THE FURY'
CARRIE SNODGRESS AS HESTER, MAKING A CLANDESTINE CONNECTION
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fury45th4.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 8:53 PM CDT
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Saturday, May 11, 2024
'DRESSED TO KILL' AT FILM FORUM IN NEW YORK NEXT WEEKEND
MAY 17, 18, 20, AS PART OF 4-WEEK "OUT OF THE 80s" SERIES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/filmforumdtk.jpg

(Thanks to Hugh!)


Posted by Geoff at 6:48 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 11, 2024 6:49 PM CDT
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Friday, May 10, 2024
PHONE BOOTHS IN DE PALMA (PART 7) - 'THE FURY'
KIRK DOUGLAS AS PETER SANDZA - "I NEED YOUR BODY, BABY!"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fury45th6.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 5:53 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 9, 2024
PHANTOM AT THE MAJESTIC OCT 26 WITH PAUL WILLIAMS IN PERSON
50TH ANNIVERSARY SCREENING IN DALLAS, "IN THE VERY THEATRE IT WAS FILMED IN!"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/majestic50th.jpg

The Majestic Theatre in Dallas announced today a 50th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, with Paul Williams in person for an intro and a Q&A following the screening. "Come see this favorite cult classic in the very theatre it was filmed in!" the theatre's message goes. "Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brian De Palma's legendary sing-a-long cult classic Phantom of the Paradise with its star and composer Paul Williams live in person for Intro and Q/A. Phantom of the Paradise was filmed in Dallas and at the Majestic Theater 50 years ago!" Tickets are on sale now.

Posted by Geoff at 7:50 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 8, 2024
PHONE BOOTHS IN DE PALMA (PART 6) - 'THE FURY'
"LOOK, I'M AT THE BEACH, AND I MADE A CONTACT" - WILLIAM FINLEY AS RAYMOND DUNWOODIE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phoneboothfury1.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 10:33 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 7, 2024
MICHAEL MOHAN TWEETS ABOUT 'PHANTOM' SCREENING IN L.A.

MOHAN IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE VOYEURS, IMMACULATE, SAVE THE DATE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetmohanphantom1.jpg

 - FLASHBACK -

Monday, September 27, 2021
'VOYEURS' DIRECTOR TALKS ABOUT 'BODY DOUBLE'
"THIS FEVER DREAM OF A MOVIE" IS AMONG MOHAN'S SIX FAVORITE EROTIC THRILLERS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdbrinke.jpg

"My new movie, The Voyeurs, is a reinvention of the erotic thriller for a modern audience," begins writer-director Michael Mohan in an article today at Talkhouse. "In preparation for the film, I devoured countless films in this lost genre and wanted to share six of my favorites." After starting with Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful, Mohan moves on to Body Double:
Watching this fever dream of a movie, it feels like Brian De Palma learned that he had six weeks left to live and decided to put all of his cinematic ideas in this film, whether or not they fit the story. It’s about an out-of-work actor who is housesitting at the Chemosphere and how he becomes more and more intrigued by a porn star he watches through a telescope. But following the plot is a fool’s errand – it’s the kind of film where you simply need to let the vibe wash over you in order to enjoy the onslaught of baffling maximalist creative decisions. From the sudden switch to rear projection mid-scene, to the abrupt musical number that happens toward the film’s climax; it’s crazy to think this is the blank check movie De Palma wanted to cash after the massive success of Scarface.

Body Double also contains one of my favorite set pieces in all of De Palma’s filmography. In a moment of pure visual storytelling, we follow the main character tailing his object of desire, while a stalker is simultaneously tailing her at the same time. It’s the kind of sequence that can only exist in a movie; it would be so challenging to read in a novel and could never work in audio form. The way De Palma carefully lays out the geography and visual design of how his three chess pieces move across the board is remarkable.

I also just love that the killer’s weapon — a giant drill — is a direct homage to Slumber Party Massacre, one of the smartest horror movies ever made, and directed by a woman.


The other four movies Mohan discusses in the article are Barbet Schroeder's Single White Female, Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake, Curtis Hanson's The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and Harold Becker's Malice.

 


Posted by Geoff at 12:20 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2024 12:23 AM CDT
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Monday, May 6, 2024
AT ROGEREBERT.COM, EXCERPT FROM KENNY'S SCARFACE BOOK
FROM THE MICHELLE PFEIFFER CHAPTER, "ELVIRA"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/kennyscarface1.jpg

Glenn Kenny's new book, The World Is Yours: The Story of Scarface, is out tomorrow (Tuesday May 7th), and RogerEbert.com has an excerpt you can read right now. The excerpt centers around a new interview that Kenny conducted with Michelle Pfeiffer for the book.


Posted by Geoff at 10:45 PM CDT
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