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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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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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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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Monday, May 20, 2024
DE PALMA MENTIONED IN SOME REVIEWS OF 'THE SUBSTANCE'
GLEIBERMAN: "SHOCKING & RESONANT, DISARMINGLY GROTESQUE & WEIRDLY FUN"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/substance0.jpg

Coralie Fargeat's The Substance had its world premiere yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival. The film has caused something of a sensation, and at least a couple of reviews mention Brian De Palma. This includes Variety's Owen Gleiberman, who begins his review with this:
Shocking and resonant, disarmingly grotesque and weirdly fun, “The Substance” is a feminist body-horror film that should be shown in movie theaters all over the land. By that, I don’t mean that it’s some elegant exercise in egghead darkness like the films of David Cronenberg, or a patchy postmodern punk curio like “Titane.” Coralie Fargeat, the writer-director of “The Substance,” has a voice that’s italicized, in-your-face, garishly accessible and thrillingly extreme. She draws on much of the hyperbolic flamboyance that’s come to define megaplex horror. But unlike 90 percent of those movies, “The Substance” is the work of a filmmaker with a vision. She’s got something primal to say to us.

Gleiberman's De Palma mentions come a bit later in the review:
Fargeat, who has made one previous feature (2017’s “Revenge”), works in a wide-angle-lens, up-from-exploitation style that might be described as cartoon grindhouse Kubrick. It’s like “A Clockwork Orange” fused with the kinetic aesthetics of a state-of-the-art television commercial. Fargeat favors super-close-ups (of body parts, cars, eating, kissing), with sounds to match, and she also vacuums up influences the way Brian De Palma once did (though he, in this case, is one of them). We’ve all seen dozens of retreads of the Jekyll-and-Hyde story, but Fargeat, in her imaginative audacity, fuses it with “Showgirls,” and even that isn’t enough for her. She draws heavily on the hallucinatory moment in “The Shining” where Jack Torrance embraces a young woman in a bathtub, only to see her transformed into a cackling old crone. Beyond that, Fargeat‘s images recall the exploding-beast-with-a-writhing-face in John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” the bloodbath prom of “Carrie,” and the addiction-turned-dread of “Requiem for a Dream.”

What makes all of this original is that Coralie Fargeat fuses it with her own stylized aggro voice (she favors minimal dialogue, which pops like something out of a graphic novel), and with her feminist outrage over the way that women have been ruled by the world of images. At first, though, the over-the-top-ness does take a bit of getting used. Dennis Quaid plays the brash pig of a network executive, in baroquely decorated suit jackets, who has decided to fire Elisabeth, and when he’s having lunch with her, shoving shrimp in his mouth from what feels like four inches away from the audience, you want to recoil as much as she does. But Fageat is actually great with her actors; she knows that Quaid’s charisma, even when he’s playing a showbiz vulgarian as reprehensible as this, will make him highly watchable.


Screen Daily's Tim Grierson also mentions De Palma in his review:
Special makeup effects designer Pierre-Olivier Persin becomes the film’s secret weapon in its second half. Unlike other films that claim to be body-horror, Fargeat delivers in spectacular and revolting fashion, not just conjuring memories of David Cronenberg but also Brian De Palma. At 140 minutes, The Substance can feel bloated and a tad repetitive, but the extra runtime allows Fargeat to push her disturbing premise to its logical, funny, utterly disgusting end point.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024 12:15 AM CDT
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Sunday, May 19, 2024
PAYPHONES IN DE PALMA (PART 10) - 'BLOW OUT'
"HOW 'BOUT THAT DRINK YOU PROMISED?" - JOHN TRAVOLTA AS SOUND EFFECTS ARTIST JACK TERRI
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/payphonejack.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 10:03 PM CDT
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Saturday, May 18, 2024
FIONA SHAW ON DE PALMA & MALICK - FILM STORIES PODCAST
"I LOVED BRIAN DE PALMA BECAUSE HE'S VERY GRUMPY"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/balconyconfession.jpg

Fiona Shaw is in John Krasinski's new film, IF. On a new episode of the podcast Film Stories, Shaw talks about the new movie with host Simon Brew, who also asks Shaw about working with Terrence Malick on The Tree Of Life, and with Brian De Palma on The Black Dahlia:
Well, they’re both not dissimilar, they’re a similar age group, aren’t they. And, you know, Terrence, he does that very familial thing of saying, “Will you just come and join us?” He left me a voice message – I was in Washington doing a play, and he said, “I’d like you to be in my film.” And I said, “Well, I’d like to meet you.” I didn’t really want to just do a film with somebody having not met them. So he came to New York and we had breakfast. And he said, “What will you have for breakfast?” And I said, “An omelette.” And he said, “I think I’ll have an omelette, too.” [laughing] And he’s the most beautiful, simple, person you could meet. And then I went down to Smithville, and we made it very familially. He would shoot all night, just keep the camera rolling while the young kids played around and snakes would come out from under a rock and he’d follow the snake, follow the kid. And he would make it and make it, and I think he shot maybe… I mean, maybe he shot a thousand hours of film. And for a long time the producer would ring me up and say, “You know, you’re really a leading character in that film. He’s really captured you.” And then in the last six weeks, he gets rid of me. So each of us was … holding this film up, and then he just takes you away, and leaves what he needs. And that’s the person. So, you know, it’s more rewarding to work with him than it is [laughing and indecipherable]. But, wonderful genius.

And I loved Brian De Palma because he’s very grumpy. And very, kind of, uncharming, in the best sense, because you feel you’re with a real person. You know. And one night, there was one big bit, a man was having his head cut off. And I said, “Does this still bother you?” And he said, “Are you kidding me? I’ve been doing this since 1962.” [laughs] He just does horror and torture without any… you know, he has no … he hasn’t got the excitement that John Krasinski has about making a scene happen, he just does it. You know, he just does it, like work.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, May 17, 2024
'IT'S ORGANIC' - CHRISTINE & KRISTINA
PASSION & HOME MOVIES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/itsorganicpassion245.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 10:36 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2024 10:42 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 16, 2024
'A MAGICAL EXPERIENCE'
SCOTT DUMMLER AT ROGEREBERT.com REFLECTS ON HIS 12TH VISIT TO CANNES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/54thpalais.jpg

At RogerEbert.com, Scott Dummler writes about his visits to the Cannes Film Festival, with mention of Femme Fatale:
I was fortunate enough to meet Roger and Chaz Ebert in 2010 as they interviewed directors to pilot their upcoming public television review program. But as I mentioned to Roger, even though we were meeting for the first time, I felt like he had already been a mentor of mine for many years. I had read his writing in the Chicago Sun-Times and watched his reviews on television all the way back to the Sneak Previews days. His perspective was invaluable. At some point after film school, I picked up a copy of his book Two Weeks in the Midday Sun. I can’t quite recall, but I probably bought it in the early days of eBay. It still has a sticker with the Dewey Decimal number 791.43 and the pocket where a checkout card would go for the San Diego Public Library.

If anyone reading this has not read Two Weeks in the Midday Sun, I strongly encourage you to do so immediately. It’s a fascinating look at the world’s most prestigious film festival, the wide variety of characters that inhabit it each year, and Roger’s unique first-person relationship to all of the above. And unlike my old library copy, the latest version features a wonderful prologue from Martin Scorsese.

In 2011, while the new TV show was in production and May of that year approached, Roger was unfortunately not feeling up to making the journey and fighting the crowds in Cannes. Knowing how much the festival meant to him, I’m sure this was a tough decision but an understandable one. He asked Chaz to represent him at the festival, and Chaz tapped me to travel to Cannes with her to produce some segments for the television show and the Chicago Sun-Times. I was absolutely thrilled.

The show has been off the air for years now, but Chaz and I have continued to cover the festival along with my right-hand cameraman, Bob Long, ever since. And each year before we head to the South of France, I read Roger’s book to remind me of his perspective on the festival and the spirit in which we cover it. In reading the book this year, it struck me that Roger mentions he’s writing it during his 12th visit to Cannes. In counting up the years I’ve attended and a couple that I missed, I realized that this will be my 12th visit to Cannes. Of course, my experiences in Cannes are much different than Roger’s experiences. But by now, I do know my way around the festival well enough. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at what’s different and what’s remained the same at the Cannes Film Festival since Roger wrote his book in 1987.

One of the first things Roger describes is the great difficulty he has with sending dispatches of his writing back to the United States for publication. How quaint! But nearly 40 years later, this is still a problem! Well, perhaps not for the writers in Cannes. Modern-day internet in hotels, cafes, and festival locations is generally stable and speedy enough to send off written reports easily. But for those of us working with video and specifically much larger video files, our hotel internet continues to be a problem even in 2024. Sometimes, just trying to log on to reserve tickets for a film screening is impossible because the internet is overloaded or just plain down for the count. “Does the WiFi work for you?” is a frequent question overheard in the hotel breakfast room each year. I’ve even found myself standing on the street in front of a closed festival building at 3 am holding a laptop over my head in the hope it connects with the WiFi in the press lounge a floor above in order to get our latest report uploaded. In recent years, I’ve abandoned the attempt to upload large video files from our hotel altogether and now only do it in festival buildings during normal operating hours.

The aforementioned Palais is the central hub of the Cannes Film Festival. It was fairly new when Roger wrote about it, just three years old at the time. Its imposing structure was described as the Death Star back then due to its imposing size and design. Certainly, you’ve seen pictures of its red carpet and multiple terraces. Perhaps you’ll recall it in the opening of Brian De Palma’s movie “Femme Fatale” (2002), although I can confidently tell you that the bathrooms of the Palais are not nearly as large as they are depicted in that film. Today, the Palais remains the center of everything. It holds giant market and convention spaces, multiple theaters, lounges, offices, and, of course, the main press conference room where Chaz can be found front and center with a thoughtful question at the ready.

The Palais’ main theater, The Grand Lumiére, remains one of, if not the absolute best, places in the world to watch a film. The French take all aspects of the theatrical experience very seriously. And seeing a world premiere in that room, with 2300 other film lovers, is a magical experience. Perhaps a little less magical if you’re up in the corner of the very last row, but still memorable.

Perhaps more famous than the Palais itself are the famous red-carpeted stairs that lead to the Grand Lumiere Theater. But the steps were not always red. In the first few years of the festival, the carpet was blue. And it wasn’t until the new Palais opened in 1984 that the red carpet welcomed guests every day and evening to the next prestigious screening. Roger mentions that a number of French celebrities would make appearances on the carpet every year without fail whether they had a film to support or not. That remains the case today, but it isn’t limited to just French stars. In fact, a number of international models attend annually and walk the red carpet just for the photo op, without even bothering to climb the steps or attend the film. And I can’t remember the last year when American actress Eva Longoria didn’t appear on the famous red carpet.


Posted by Geoff at 11:42 PM CDT
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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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