Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
Going back to Robinson's article at The Verge-- she interviews Takal, at one point asking about her influences:
You’ve cited Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under The Influence, and Lynn Ramsay’s Morvern Callar as major influences on this film. What did these films bring to the table?
All the movies from the 1970s with slow zooms were visual influences. With my director of photography, Mark Schwartzbard, we watched Robert Altman’s 3 Women and Images, and I really wanted to build suspense through slow zooms and a moving camera like he does. Theme-wise, 3 Women was also a big influence, as was Cassavetes’ Opening Night. The idea of the ghost that becomes more and more threatening to Gena Rowlands’ character was something we wanted to incorporate. And with Morvern Callar — Larry showed me that movie, because a lot of the feedback we were getting from traditional financiers, when we were trying to make this movie in a more traditional way, was that the main character wasn’t likable, and it was unclear why she was doing these things. Larry said, "There’s this great movie you need to see, where the protagonist’s motivations aren’t really explained in a way where everything ties up neatly, and with a character who’s flawed." That really opened things up for me.
I don’t know if this is true, but I feel like female directors are better able to understand the complexity of a female character without needing to explain everything, and without needing to make the character "likable." Likability to me is such a frustrating thing. I think there’s more awareness around this now, but in general, male characters can be so flawed, but if a woman is mildly annoying, "She’s not likable!" It mirrors this box of femininity in the real world, too, where you have to be this one narrow, certain way, and if you’re not, you’re intolerable.
Who do you consider the main character? One of the interesting things about the film is that there’s such a balance between Anna and Beth, in terms of perspective and sympathy.
Psycho was also an influence, in that you start off being in one character’s psychology, and then it shifts. Anna is based on me, so I always thought of her as the main character. But I did want to start with Beth and have that shift, so you understand both characters’ point of view. I think you transition into Anna’s headspace around that scene at the bar with the handsome older dude. If we were aping Psycho, that was our shower moment, our transition moment.
Brian De Palma also feels like an influence here, given how much you’re looking at voyeurism and sex and the film industry, and questions of identity and escape. Was he part of the mix?
I’ve loved the films I’ve seen of his, and I’m sure he was an influence for Larry and my DP, but I’m not so familiar with his movies. I saw Body Double and a really good one with Robert De Niro called Hi, Mom! which was also an influence, because it’s not experimental, but it’s just totally wild, and it narratively goes off on these wild diversions, which I did in the scene here with Jane Adams. It’s just a diversion that may have been inspired by the diversions in Hi, Mom! I love that movie.
But I’m not that well-versed in cinema. Zach Clark, my editor, he knows so much about movies, and I’ve had so many collaborators who know so much more about movies than I do that they were able to infuse in choices I might not have thought of. They just have a bigger cinematic vocabulary.
And what an amazing experience it was, watching Blow Out projected in 35mm on the huge Virginia screen, and with hundreds of other people, many of whom were seeing the film for the first time. As with each film shown at Ebertfest, the audience paid attention to every shot, every line of dialogue, laughed at every joke, even finding humor in places that remind one what it is like to see the film for the first time-- what a joy. There were a few scattered bits of seemingly-derisive laughter during the climactic shots of John Travolta running in slow motion, and a guy behind me also cackled a bit as the fireworks surround Jack as he looks down at, and then holds, Sally-- Matt Zoller Seitz, who was also in attendance, was right on with his "jackass" comment on Twitter (see below for several of his tweets from last night).
Yet these occurances did not appear to diminish the film for most of the audience. For me, who (of course) has seen this film a million times (so to speak), the experience of seeing and hearing Sally run to the edge of the roof and scream out at the top of her lungs, with the enormous American flag behind her, brought everything home in a chilling and emotional way. Right here, the film hit me in the gut with its message of heart and passion-- truth-- hidden within a sea of hackery.
After the film, Allen was joined on stage by Leonard Maltin for a discussion and Q&A with the audience. Maltin marveled at the film as a tribute to analog technology, from tape recorders, to film-development shops, to pay phones (and more). Allen mentioned how everyone seems in a hurry these days, noting the audience's patience in watching the long dialogue scenes in Blow Out. An article about that Q&A, and hopefully a video, will eventually post to RogerEbert.com. My own interview with Nancy will post here sometime this week. Meanwhile, here is a link to an interview she did prior to the screening with the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette. Talking about Roger Ebert, whose review of the film appears in the Ebertfest 2016 program, Allen told the newspaper's Paul Wood, "A lot of critics didn't get Blow Out, but Roger and Pauline Kael did."
The Daily Illini's Shalayne Pulia interviewed Allen right after the Q&A, asking for (among other questions) her advice to young women trying to carve a career in film. "Don’t let anyone tell you ‘No’," replied Allen. "You teach people how to treat you. If I had stopped when people started telling me ‘No,’ I wouldn’t have had a career. If you look at it as an adventure of where you’re supposed to be, if they say ‘No,’ just keep going until you end up where you’re supposed to be. Follow your bliss; the money will follow."
"I have tried to portray Henry Hayden as a human product of modern meritocracy, where the individual is no longer defined by moral integrity, but by power and success,” Arango said, according to Fleming. “In the Facebook era, the original becomes indistinguishable from fake. Success replaces faith and becomes religion.”
According to Fleming, the novel was optioned by Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions. Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz and Nick Wechsler are the producers, with Roger Schwartz listed as a co-producer.
NOVEL REVIEW: VERY LITTLE EMOTION, MATTER-OF-FACT STYLE DESPITE HORROR, SEVERE STORMS...
In his review of the novel last year, Huffington Post's Jackie K. Cooper stated that the book's events were played out "with very little emotion. Arango’s style of writing is to make everything matter of fact no matter how horrific it becomes. It is a plodding way to write but somehow this technique becomes intensely interesting. It shouldn’t be but it is.
"The writing of this story is so bare bones that the locale is never clearly defined. You learn it takes place somewhere in Europe and it is a coastal village, but not much else. There are storms that occur here and some are very severe. There are people in the village with emotional problems and some of them are severe, but details as to why and how they arise are never specified."
A week and a half ago, at the Beaune Thriller Film Fest, De Palma told press that he was currently working to finalize the screenplay for Lights Out, which he hopes to begin shooting this summer in China and Canada.