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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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Jim Emerson on
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Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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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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Sunday, October 16, 2016
'WRONG REEL' PODCAST - 'DISSECTING DE PALMA'

Posted by Geoff at 9:23 PM CDT
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THE CASTRO TONIGHT - VERTIGO / BODY DOUBLE

Posted by Geoff at 9:13 PM CDT
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Saturday, October 15, 2016
LIVING IN PARADISE, DE PALMA-STYLE

Posted by Geoff at 3:03 PM CDT
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Friday, October 14, 2016
THE CASTRO PAIRS 70MM VERTIGO w/DE PALMA
ALL THIS WEEKEND - 'OBSESSION'/'DRESSED TO KILL'/'BODY DOUBLE'

Posted by Geoff at 6:54 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 13, 2016
TARANTINO MASTERCLASS - CINEMA OF 1970
"WORK IN PROGRESS" STUDY PRESENTED AT LUMIERE FEST IN LYON, w/14 FILMS FROM 1970
Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione posted an informative summary yesterday of Quentin Tarantino's masterclass on the cinema of 1970, which took place Wednesday night at the Lumière Festival in Lyon. According to Tartaglione, Tarantino told the packed auditorium of about 2000 people that for four years now, he's been researching 1970 as a turning point for American and international cinema. Introducing it as a "work in progress," Tarantino said, "Am I going to write a book? Maybe. Is it going to be a six-part podcast? Maybe. A feature documentary? Maybe. I’m figuring it out."

"Now in its eighth edition," reports Tartaglione, "this is a festival close to Tarantino’s heart. It’s largely a retrospective with hundreds of restored films, thematic strands and uncovered gems. This year, the filmmaker has curated a group of 14 films from 1970 which he’s been presenting throughout the week."

A list of those 14 films can be found at Beverly Cinema. They include four intriguing double-features, and six stand-alone screenings:

Love Story by Arthur Hiller (1970, 1h39)
Deep End by Jerzy Skolimowski (1970, 1h40)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage by Dario Argento (1970, 1h32)
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun by Anatole Litvak (1970, 1h45)

Claire’s Knee by Eric Rohmer (1970, 1h45)
Le Boucher by Claude Chabrol (1970, 1h33)

The Kremlin Letter by John Huston (1970, 1h40)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Billy Wilder (1970, 2h05)

Five Easy Pieces by Bob Rafelson (1970, 1h38)

Beyond the valley of The Dolls by Russ Meyer (1970, 1h49)

M.A.S.H. by Robert Altman (1970, 1h56)

The Liberation of L.B. Jones by William Wyler (1970, 1h42)

Drive, he said by Jack Nicholson (1970, 1h35)

Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni (1970, 1h40)

In addition to all of that, Tarantino was also on hand to present Saturday night's opening film, George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which, at the beginning of 1970, garnered an Academy Award nomination for best picture.

Tartaglione's article includes a passage in which Tarantino discusses his love for Altman's M.A.S.H. ("it was the first movie to truly deal with the dilemma of Vietnam"), although he and Altman did not like each other.

CASUALTIES OF THE POTENTIAL "NEW CINEMA" - "GENUINE BLACK CINEMA" GAVE WAY TO BLAXPLOITATION, EROTIC CINEMA WENT BACK TO PORNO

Here's more from Tartaglione's article:

Asked why he has chosen to focus on 1970, Tarantino cited the 2009 book by Mark Harris, Pictures Of A Revolution: Five Movies And The Birth Of The New Hollywood. The book chronicles the “real emergence of the New Hollywood,” Tarantino explained, and noted that “By the end of 1967, new Hollywood had won, only they didn’t know it yet. And Old Hollywood was over by 67 even though they didn’t know it yet.” He called Pictures Of A Revolution “the best cinema book written this decade.”

By 1970, Tarantino said, “New Hollywood was the Hollywood and anything that even smacked of Old Hollywood was dead on arrival.” The filmmaker said he became interested in when the revolution was won and, “not coincidentally, I was alive in 1970 and very conscious at 7 years old when my parents were taking me to all types of movies.” Now researching that year, he said, “the more I started going to the library and looking up newspaper articles of what it was like, I realized New Hollywood had won the revolution but whether it would survive wasn’t clear. Cinema had changed so drastically that Hollywood had alienated the family audience.”

And, although they were big fans, “the hippie audience wasn’t really moviegoers. Society demanded (the Hollywood new wave) but that doesn’t mean that they supported it as a business model and it made me realize that New Hollywood cinema from 1970-76 at the very least was actually more fragile than I thought it was. That experiment could have died in 1970.” He cited films like those that he’s showing here along with Carnal Knowledge, The Godfather, The Exorcist and Chinatown. But if MASH or Five Easy Pieces hadn’t worked in 1970, “It’s doubtful there would have been a Godfather or an Exorcist.”

But, he hasn’t set out to make a Top 10 list. “Oddly enough, it was the films on the lower end of the Top 30 or 40, which, while they weren’t as good, in a weird way were more interesting to me… I’m always going to come at it from a critical or cinephile perspective but I wanted to put that in the minor and make it more as a historian or a sociologist.”

As part of his research, Tarantino says he’s been watching prints, DVDs, old videos and cable as well as reading reviews from the day. “That’s how I found the think pieces of the time. ‘What’s wrong with movies?’ ‘Movies have become scary,’ ‘Can Hollywood survive’.” It was a time “like a werewolf where the skeleton changes in An American Werewolf In London,” he said to laughter.

Patterns have emerged during the research. “There were a lot of promises made of possibilities of a new cinema. It was almost like, could Hollywood handle this kind of freedom? Could the public handle it? The freedom seemed limitless. Directors could adapt any book, could shoot anything. There were no restrictions and that was maybe untenable.”

“If you ask me, the promise was fulfilled,” he continued. But there were casualties. That included the possibility that a new “genuine black cinema” would emerge. He cited Hal Ashby’s The Landlord (written by Bill Gunn), along with Ossie Davis’ directorial debut Cotton Comes To Harlem and Melvin Van PeeblesWatermelon Man. He also pointed to films such as Paul Bogart’s Halls Of Anger and Brian De Palma’s Hi, Mom! which were making an impact.

But “Blaxploitation” ended up taking the place of this promise, said Tarantino. Despite being a fan of that genre, he said, “Now I see Blaxploitation did derail a real rising voice.”

Same goes for erotic cinema. “There was the promise that eroticism in cinema would be taken out of the raincoat crowd and would achieve mainstream success and play in nice theaters, particularly for couples. We had some wonderful artists at that time like Russ Meyer and Ken Russell. That worked for a little while but ultimately a lot of them went back to porno and sexploitation.”


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016 1:17 AM CDT
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Monday, October 10, 2016
TWEET CLAIMS DE PALMA HELPED CASSAVETES
HELPED WITH EDITING THE CAR ACCIDENT IN 'OPENING NIGHT'

Posted by Geoff at 6:30 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 9, 2016
HIGH-DEF DIGEST ON SCREAM'S NEW 'CARRIE' BLU
"A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER ANY PREVIOUS HOME VIDEO FORMAT"
Shout!/Scream Factory officially releases its new Collector's Edition Blu-ray of Brian De Palma's Carrie this Tuesday (those who pre-ordered weeks ago should already have their copies). According to High-Def Digest's Matthew Hartman, this is the best the film has ever looked in any home video format. The comparison frames at left come from Hartman's High-Def review.

"Going into this new 40th-anniversary release of Carrie," Hartman states, "I didn't have a lot of hope for the transfer. Even with a fresh 4K scan, I just never thought the appearance of the film would ever be drastically improved. Apparently, that 4K scan went a long way! While the film still has the dream-like contrast blooms and some softness, this new scan is a vast improvement over any previous home video format. For starters, fans of the film will notice a far more stable grain field. My first worry was that it was scrubbed clean with some DNR, but closer inspection shows that the grain is alive and well, just far more subtle. Detail levels are also given an impressive boost allowing hair, makeup, and some impressive prom dresses to show their finer points. It also appears that the previous transfer's use of edge enhancement hasn't been replicated as there aren't any notable instances of banding, haloing, or other compression artifacts. Colors are also timed a bit better now, reds appear a true red without the orange-pink tinge the previous release had. Primaries are natural with plenty of pop and flesh tones have a nice healthy look to them. Black levels can still be a bit crushed here and there, but when it counts most there is an improved sense of depth to the image. Brightness also looks like it has also been pulled back allowing for some deeper blacks and more natural color saturation. Damage appears to have also been cleaned up a bit, there are a few moments of speckling and some very fine scratches that have always been apparent in virtually every previous release, but now they're not nearly as intrusive or distracting. Some may find a few things to nitpick about this presentation, but in all honesty the benefits of this new scan should outweigh any perceived negatives. This is honestly the best I've ever seen this film in any home video format, it may not seem like much of a difference from the screen captures, but it's very noticeable in motion."

Below are Hartman's notes about this edition's new bonus features:

- Writing Carrie: (HD 29:07) This is a fascinating and interesting interview with screenwriter Lawrence Cohen. He covers a lot of ground here from receiving the initial manuscript from a new unknown writer named Stephen King. It's interesting to hear his reaction to the book but then also his approach to adapting it for the screen.

- Shooting Carrie: (HD 15:22) An interview with Director of Photography Mario Tosi, this is a great interview, a little difficult to understand in places because of his limitations with English but he offers a lot of insight into the dream-like qualities of the visuals and De Palma's approach to the film.

- Cutting Carrie: (HD 25:09) Editor Paul Hirsch offers up a lot of terrific details about how the film came together in the editing room, finding the tone, pace, as well as cutting together the climax of the movie.

- Casting Carrie: (HD 16:03) Casting director Harriet B. Helberg talks about what it took to get the film cast and finding Sissy Spacek for the lead.

- More Acting Carrie: (HD 20:19) This is comprised of new, but sadly short interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg, and P.J. Soles. While this is sadly short, it's fascinating. The best tidbit of note is George Lucas was casting 'Star Wars' and De Palma was casting 'Carrie' at the same time in the same room! So both films could have been completely different depending on what actor impressed either George or Brian at any given moment!

- Bucket of Blood: (HD 23:53) This is a very interesting interview with composer Pino Donaggio. He discusses his approach with De Palma, how they keyed in on that dreamy flute theme, as well as the four string progression that seems almost lifted from Hitchcock's 'Psycho.'

New Horror's Hallowed Grounds: (HD 11:25) Fans of Sean Clark's little segments will get a kick out of this. It's always cool to see familiar locations from movies and it's cool seeing that a lot of these places are still around.


Posted by Geoff at 7:36 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016
ALICE LOWE ON TRACES OF 'CARRIE' IN 'PREVENGE'
SAYS THAT WHAT MAKES DE PALMA'S FILM REWATCHABLE IS YOU KEEP HOPING FOR A DIFFERENT ENDING
Alice Lowe's directorial debut, Prevenge, is, according to Entertainment Weekly's Clark Collis, about a "pregnant woman who exacts revenge on the people she believes were responsible for the death of her baby’s father." The film, in which Lowe stars as the pregnant woman, played at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. Lowe talked to Collis about how Brian De Palma's Carrie may have influenced certain aspects of her film:
Lowe is a huge horror movie fan, who is drawn to family-oriented terror tales with female protagonists, like Rosemary’s Baby or Brian De Palma’s 1976 Stephen King adaptation, Carrie, which stars Sissy Spacek as an unpopular high school student who develops telekinetic powers.

“I think everyone identifies with her character,” says the actress. “I really like the idea of an underdog character going through this transformation where they take power. I also think the reason it’s so rewatchable is, every time you watch it, you are hoping there’s a different ending, you’re really hoping that she just kisses the boy, and is the pageant queen, or whatever. It just doesn’t work that way. I think it’s unique. She is the killer but she has our sympathy. She is also a victim to her mother’s insanity. It’s like a female Psycho in some ways. I love Brian De Palma, I love color in film. That was one of the things that I really wanted to do with Prevenge, was make sure it was an assault of the sense, that it’s about color and vividness — rather than the passion at the moment for sort of grey-blue-black horror. That was, for me, the experience of pregnancy, that it’s kind of a vivid experience. It’s not at all about pastel pinks. It’s all about bright, intense experiences, and revulsions, and strange shifts in your emotions.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
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Monday, October 3, 2016
'PHANTOM' DOUBLE FEATURE AT NEW BEV OCT 26-27


On October 26 and 27, the Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles will screen a double feature: Rupert Julian 1925 silent, The Phantom Of The Opera at 7:30pm, followed by Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise at 9:35pm. Both will be presented in 35mm.

Posted by Geoff at 11:31 PM CDT
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Friday, September 30, 2016
CHRIS RANDLE ON VOYEUR/EXHIBITIONIST IN DE PALMA
"DOES THE VOYEUR NEED THE EXHIBITIONIST OR DOES HE WANT TO BE HER?"


Chris Randle, a New York writer who has contributed to Hazlitt, The Guardian, Pitchfork, and the New York Times Magazine, among other publications, has written a long essay about Brian De Palma's cinema, which was posted earlier this week at REAL LIFE. The essay is titled "Night Visions," posted with the subheadline, "Does the voyeur need the exhibitionist or does he want to be her? Brian De Palma’s movies see it both ways." It is an engrossing essay, definitely worth reading in its entirety. Here's an excerpt:
De Palma’s earliest films were less precise, and sometimes more revealing: They don’t disguise his fixations as genre. The mercurial black comedy Hi Mom! trails like a disorderly kid after Jean-Luc Godard, through whom De Palma arrived at Brechtian ideas of estrangement — telling a story while displaying the artifice involved, so that viewers might act upon the fiction rather than just receiving it. A woman testing out a movie camera zooms in on the salesman, bearing the device to bare the device: “You twist this like so, and your subject will come closer and closer and closer…” An antic young Robert De Niro stars as Jon Rubin, who films neighbours fucking and tries to contrive porn spying on himself — then as now, the wrong angles will ruin your nude. Later he rehearses the cop’s role for a militant theater troupe, clanging his baton against a ladder with unnerving enthusiasm: “What are you protesting? Let me see your permit. You don’t need a permit?” (During the early 1960s De Palma was shot in the leg by New York police, albeit while drunkenly stealing a scooter.)

In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin marveled: “The painting invites the spectator to contemplation; before it the spectator can abandon himself to his associations. Before the movie frame he cannot do so. No sooner has his eye grasped a scene than it is already changed. It cannot be arrested.” De Palma tosses his narratives like a bloody knife into the laps of bystanders, who then feel compelled to solve the crime, to absolve their complicity. He’s always resisting arrest. A long Steadicam shot from Raising Cain (1992) glides with unnatural grace past the walkways, staircases and elevators of a police station, tilting sinuously around a criminal psychologist as she explains the plot; exposition is a maze De Palma dances through. His Battleship Potemkin tribute in The Untouchables — staircase, baby carriage, crossfire — seems alien to the movie around it, a bubble trembling over a gun barrel.

The split screen, De Palma’s favorite technique, concentrates distraction. It suggests the flux of sexual difference, darting between signals, your lens rupturing, your life juxtaposed against itself. Some of these compositions turn slyly dialectical: Passion (2012) places scenes from a Jerome Robbins ballet next to a sinister prowler, the bodies hovering in parallel. But that sequence also misdirects the viewer’s attention at crucial moments, a trick De Palma has used since 1973’s Sisters, his first thriller.

Sisters opens with a blind woman entering the wrong change room. A watching man stops her as she begins undressing, and the camera cuts away to reveal that people are watching them too, on the test-your-ethics game show Peeping Toms. The woman turns out to be a Quebecois model/actress named Danielle (Margot Kidder), and she convinces that fellow contestant to take her home with him, away from the ex-husband who’s been following her. After they wake up on the couch together, he learns of her twin Danielle, too late to realize that the other sister’s protective urges are homicidal. A neighbor sees his hand flash scarlet from window to window. Split-screen shots break the aftermath into fragments, that cubist shape of time experienced through security cameras, making everyone’s movements look both frantic and dazed.

The neighbor, Grace (Jennifer Salt), happens to be a journalist, and she tracks down an old documentary about Danielle and Dominique, revealing that the pair were once conjoined. Dominique died during the botched operation meant to give Danielle’s ex Emil Breton a compliantly solitary wife, her personality somehow absorbed by the remaining twin. Investigating a mental hospital, Grace gets drugged by Dr. Breton, who nearly manages to portray her suspicions as symptoms. She hallucinates herself inside that documentary, lying beneath a surgical blade passed around on reverent palms. Thirty years ago the critic Robin Wood argued: “One can define the monster of Sisters as women’s liberation; adding only that the film follows the time-honored horror tradition of making the monster emerge as the most sympathetic character.” The medical system encourages Emil’s urge to discipline anyone complicating gender or anatomy.

Evil twins have more fun. In his study The Double, the psychoanalyst Otto Rank argued that doppelgangers often serve as a “bad self,” the splinter persona responsible for each forbidden urge. The sadistic executive played by Rachel McAdams in Passion invites lovers to wear a mask stylized after her own face. No character spends much time having sex per se. The perverse intimacies of jealousy get them off: They all want each other, or to kill each other, or to be each other. No wonder so many people fantasize about their double — about knowing what it looks like from the outside.


Posted by Geoff at 2:29 PM CDT
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