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a la Mod:

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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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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a la Mod

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a la Mod

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and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags


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

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De Palma a la Mod

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
TF1 News Film Critic Romain Le Vern posted a review today of Brian De Palma's Passion, calling it De Palma's "best film since... a long time." Le Vern echoes the review posted yesterday by Jean-Baptiste Morain, each with the suggestion that De Palma has made a personal film that stands among his finest works. Below is a Google-assisted translation of Le Vern's review:

"Two women engage in a perverse game of manipulation within a multinational corporation. Isabelle (Noomi Rapace) is fascinated by her superior (Rachel McAdams), Christine. The latter takes advantage of her influence over Isabella to drive into a game of seduction and manipulation, domination and servitude.

"On paper, this new feature by Brian De Palma presents itself as an American remake of the French Love Crime, the last film by the late Alain Corneau and far from the best. A project that a priori portends a controlled movie replay, sterile or impersonal. Surprise: it's not. From Dressed To Kill to Obsession, from Body Double to Snake Eyes, Brian De Palma has always been fascinated with the questions raised by the cinema and could never help but tell (almost) all his stories in the form of mise-en-scène.

"Although we thought he had broken his own obsessions with objects bordering on pastiche (Femme Fatale) and uninspired (his very unsuccessful adaptation of the cult novel by James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia, a very soft sci-fi Mission To Mars) and been ostracized from the system after taking the risk of anti-war Redacted (YouTube version of Casulaties Of War), Brian De Palma has regained form and his Passion marks a return with great fanfare to the overwrought cinema of the 70s Mannerist, reflecting the ambition of a system of manipulation by illusion.

"Hitchcock's ghost still haunts

"This manipulative maze-like film could be terminal like Mulholland Drive, David Lynch, fed self-citations (a lot of Sisters, a little Raising Cain), themes (voyeurism, fetishism, manipulation, schizophrenia, alienation), Biblical symbols and stylistic figures allow the auteur to settle scores. With himself. With his appetite for evil. Hitchcock with his superego.

"In search of beauty in vulgarity - the vulgarity of time exacerbated by the emergence of new media and new ways of espionage (sex tape, YouTube) such as social networks - De Palma films the grimey dreams of innocent girls, probes the impossibility of desire in a world of phallic metal towers in which women make war to seduce men and uses the original frame of Corneau to talk about what has always been connected: the truth rigged, optical illusions, false pretenses, artifice to describe subjectivity (the distortion of time, split-screen, the deformation of reality).

"Above all, we have to see the pleasure of Brian De Palma, simple pleasures and communicative, filming for the beauty of movement, especially in the operatic last half-hour amplified by the music of Pino Donaggio, reviving the best suspensions of disbelief from his past films such as, at random, the suspenseful sequence of the prom in Carrie. The final shot is both climax and nod to De Palma’s aficionados, causing a jolt.

"De Palma directed both actresses (Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams, impeccable) like lionesses, savoring the slow devouring of praying mantises. For a long time we do not know who the brunette or blonde, Hitchcock heroine or De Palma-esque bitch, proves the most toxic. But one thing is sure: dream into nightmare, nobody has been innocent."

Posted by Geoff at 10:35 PM CST
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Les Inrockuptibles critic Jean-Baptiste Morain has just posted a review of Brian De Palma's Passion, which opens in France on February 13. Morain calls it one of De Palma's finest films. Below is a Google-aided translation of the review:

"Funny idea on paper: the new De Palma is adapted from the last film directed by Alain Corneau, Love Crime, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, a game of manipulation that goes wrong between employees of the same company. What was the interest in this rather easy-going French thriller? He draws from it a film in his own way, the one that we prefer, a mixture of Hitchcock and Lang, erotic and morbid fever in an atmosphere where the baroque and fantastical reality and imagination are blurred constantly, where the characters are manipulated, to humiliate each other without really knowing who prevails over the other.

"No realism in Passion, but formalism at all costs. No plausibility either, but suspense, pitfalls, daydreams or nightmares that seem to fit into each other. Passion is also a film of women, mostly bisexual, a film where the one man band will leave pale and deceived like a rookie. Who is nice: blonde, brunette or redhead? Mystery. And if they were one? The twists succeed more twists in a game of mirrors where revenge leads the dance. Passion is nearly a genre film. De Palma returns to his 70s Hitchcockian vein, a period when he amused himself by making variations on the themes of the old master, to draw his own cinema, both haunted by the model and its ability to give life and day to a very personal film.

"De Palma said one day, in a bonus DVD: 'Hitchcock, I know very well of what he speaks.' Another way of saying acquaintances between fantasy filmmakers of Catholic formation, where sex is at the same time a horrific vision and completely exciting. Filmed with great precision, uncluttered, with a knife, with a mastery of every second, Passion is undoubtedly one of the finest films of Brian De Palma."

Posted by Geoff at 9:18 PM CST
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013 9:20 PM CST
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 3:18 PM CST
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Saturday, January 5, 2013
Our old friend David Greven has a new book, Psycho-Sexual, now available. Greven tells us that the book "is about Hitchcock and masculinity, and the influence of Htichcock on New Hollywood directors like De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin. I have two chapters on De Palma, whom I call the greatest of the New Hollywood directors in the book. The first is a revised, expanded version of the essay I wrote on the early Vietnam War-era comedies. The other is a new piece, a reassessment of Dressed To Kill. My effort in this book is to pay close attention to what critics often ignore, even supportive De Palma critics: the aesthetic and ideological aspects of De Palma's reworking of Hitchcock."

We look forward to reading the book. Below is the official description from the University of Texas Press website:

"Bridging landmark territory in film studies, Psycho-Sexual is the first book to apply Alfred Hitchcock’s legacy to three key directors of 1970s Hollywood—Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, and William Friedkin—whose work suggests the pornographic male gaze that emerged in Hitchcock’s depiction of the voyeuristic, homoerotically inclined American man. Combining queer theory with a psychoanalytic perspective, David Greven begins with a reconsideration of Psycho and the 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much to introduce the filmmaker’s evolutionary development of American masculinity.

"Psycho-Sexual probes De Palma’s early Vietnam War draft-dodger comedies as well as his film Dressed to Kill, along with Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Friedkin’s Cruising as reactions to and inventive elaborations upon Hitchcock’s gendered themes and aesthetic approaches. Greven demonstrates how the significant political achievement of these films arises from a deeply disturbing, violent, even sorrowful psychological and social context. Engaging with contemporary theories of pornography while establishing pornography’s emergence during the classical Hollywood era, Greven argues that New Hollywood filmmakers seized upon Hitchcock’s radical decentering of heterosexual male dominance. The resulting images of heterosexual male ambivalence allowed for an investment in same-sex desire; an aura of homophobia became informed by a fascination with the homoerotic. Psycho-Sexual also explores the broader gender crisis and disorganization that permeated the Cold War and New Hollywood eras, reimagining the defining premises of Hitchcock criticism."

Posted by Geoff at 4:26 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013 4:27 PM CST
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Friday, January 4, 2013
Brian De Palma's Greetings and its sequel, Hi, Mom!, will play as a double feature on Tuesday, January 15 as part of the series "New Yawk New Wave," which runs from January 11-31 at the Film Forum in New York. The series was conceived by J. Hoberman, and programmed by Bruce Goldstein and Jake Perlin. A New York Times article by Nicolas Rapold states that the series includes more than 50 New York-centered films spanning from 1953 to 1973 (the two De Palma films were released in 1968 and 1970, respectively). Most of the films were independent features filmed on the streets of New York.

"The selection is multifaceted," writes Rapold. "Here are Brian De Palma’s pre-Carrie counterculture trips Hi, Mom! and Greetings, starring a young Robert De Niro; the smart-aleck culture jam Putney Swope of Robert Downey (father of Hollywood’s Iron Man); and the first feature by the avant-garde godfather and exhibitor Jonas Mekas, a founder of the movement called the New American Cinema."

Also included in the series are Jim McBride’s David Holzman’s Diary, John Cassavetes' Shadows, and two early films from Martin Scorsese, Who's That Knocking At My Door and Mean Streets. Hoberman tells Rapold, "One of the ironic things about Mean Streets is that it’s mainly shot in Los Angeles. But the New York stuff is so vivid that he’s really able to make it feel like it’s completely a New York film."

De Niro recently referred to this period of independent filmmaking in an interview with The Wrap's Brent Lang. "There are so many more independent films than there were when I was in my 20s or 30s," De Niro said in response to a question about the state of the movie business. "You had Brian De Palma, Robert Downey and some other people, but the independent films being made then were a different type of thing. They were done on a Super 8, not a feature like they are today, and they didn’t get studio distribution in the same way."

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013 12:02 AM CST
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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Several sources noted yesterday and today that Kimberly Peirce's remake of Carrie will not be released this March, as previously announced, but has been pushed to October 18, 2013, to take advantage of the Halloween season. The Hollywood Reporter's Pamela McClintock notes that the remake will hit theaters 37 years after Brian De Palma's version, which was released just after Halloween (on November 3) in 1976.

Posted by Geoff at 6:17 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The Swan Archives has just added two photographs to its production page, each one showing Brian De Palma on the set of Phantom Of The Paradise. One of the photos shows De Palma in a "bosun's chair," which "is suspended from the ceiling, and counterbalanced with a 50 gallon oil drum filled with water," according to the Principal Archivist. The Archivist states that De Palma shot some of the wedding scene from this chair with a handheld camera, and "probably including the shots from the assassin's point of view." The other added photo shows De Palma on the balcony of the theater.

Posted by Geoff at 12:42 AM CST
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Posted by Geoff at 10:40 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 10:47 AM CST
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Monday, December 31, 2012
Manu Yáñez, a film critic from Barcelona who writes for Fotogramas, posted his finalized list of top ten films from 2012 today on Twitter. While Brian De Palma's Passion will not be officially released until the spring of 2013, it made Yáñez' list at number 3, right in between the latest works from David Cronenberg and Kathryn Bigelow. Richard Linklater's Bernie tops the list at number one. On his Twitter page, Yáñez wrote a tweet for each title, each tweet beginning with the word "because." For Passion, he wrote, "Because mi amigo Brian goes about his business: think of the cinema doing cinema. More loose, more free."

Here is Yáñez full top ten:

1. Bernie (Richard Linklater)
2. Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg)
3. Passion (Brian De Palma)
4. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)
5. Ensayo final para utopía (Andrés Duque)
6. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
7. Bleak Night (Yoon Sung-hyun)
8. Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami)
9. Enero 2012 (O la apoteosis de Isabel la Católica) (Colectivo Los Hijos)
10. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine)

Posted by Geoff at 8:05 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 1:19 AM CST
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Charles During, who appeared in three Brian De Palma films, passed away on Christmas Eve of natural causes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 89. Durning was a World War II veteran who was part of the D-Day invasion, and received a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts, the Hollywood Reporter article states.

One of his earliest film roles was as the snarly superintendent who shows Robert De Niro's character a New York apartment at the beginning of De Palma's Hi, Mom! in 1970. De Palma cast Durning in 1973's Sisters as the private detective who helps Grace track down the body of the man she sees murdered from her apartment window.

In De Palma's The Fury (1978), Durning took a serious turn as the director of the Paragon Institute, who studies psychic abilities, and who tries in vain to protect Gillian from the sinister grasp of Childress, played by John Cassavetes. Following an intense episode with Gillian on the stairs of the institute, Durning is chilling as, shot from above, he orders his staff to take precautions around the powerful psychic. Durning also provided an uncredited voice overdub as an immigration officer in the opening interrogation scene of De Palma's Scarface (1983).

Prior to Scarface, Durning had worked with Al Pacino on Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon. He would work with Pacino again in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy. Durning also worked with De Niro again in 1981, for Ulu Grosbard's True Confessions, which was based on the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, later the subject of De Palma's The Black Dahlia.

Rutanya Alda appeared in both Hi, Mom! and The Fury. A year after the latter, Durning and Alda both appeared in the cult movie When A Stranger Calls (and Durning later reprised his role in the 1993 made-for-TV sequel). In 1986, Durning appeared in Cassavetes' Big Trouble (Cassavetes would take acting jobs in films such as De Palma's The Fury in order to help finance his own independent features). That same year, Durning appeared in Tough Guys, which starred Kirk Douglas, the big name star of The Fury.

Just prior to the incident on the stairs in The Fury, Durning's character tells Gillian that at her age, his one great ambition was to be Fred Astaire. In fact, Durning was once a dance instructor at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, where he met his first wife, Carol, a fellow dance instructor. Their daughter Jeanine Durning is a New York-based choreographer and modern dancer.

Durning is perhaps best known for his roles in George Roy Hill's The Sting and in Sydney Pollack's Tootsie, but he was nominated for supporting actor Oscars two years in a row: in 1983, for his role in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (for which Durning sang and danced), and, in 1984, for his role in To Be Or Not To Be. Durning also appeared in two Coen Brothers films, The Hudsucker Proxy and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, as well as a film by Billy Wilder, The Front Page. Durning was also a friend of Burt Reynolds, and collaborated with him on several projects.

Posted by Geoff at 6:18 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 12:53 AM CST
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