Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod


De Palma Discussion


Recent Headlines
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


« September 2023 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


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

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
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

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema


Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor


Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
Country Cinephile

So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

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.
All topics
Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Casualties Of War
Catch And Kill
Cinema Studies
Clarksville 1861
Columbia University
Columbo - Shooting Script
Conversation, The
Daft Punk
Dancing In The Dark
David Koepp
De Niro
De Palma & Donaggio
De Palma (doc)
De Palma Blog-A-Thon
De Palma Discussion
Demolished Man
Dick Vorisek
Dionysus In '69
Dressed To Kill
Edward R. Pressman
Eric Schwab
Fatal Attraction
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Genius of Love
George Litto
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Ghost & The Darkness
Happy Valley
Havana Film Fest
Hi, Mom!
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma  «
Iraq, etc.
Jared Martin
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Laurent Bouzereau
Lights Out
Magic Hour
Magnificent Seven
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Newton 1861
Noah Baumbach
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parties & Premieres
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Peet Gelderblom
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Responsive Eye
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Rotwang muß weg!
Sean Penn
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Stephen H Burum
Sweet Vengeance
Taxi Driver
The Tale
To Bridge This Gap
Toronto Film Fest
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
Untitled Hollywood Horror
Untitled Industry-Abuse M
Venice Beach
Vilmos Zsigmond
Wedding Party
William Finley
Wise Guys
Woton's Wake
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Thursday, August 17, 2023

"Sex, crime and fish tanks converge" in Pet Shop Days, writes Variety's Matt Donnelly. The film marks the directorial debut of Olmo Schnabel, son of Julian Schnabel. Here's more from Donnelly's article, which includes an exclusive clip from the film:
“This is the perfect New York story in that anything can happen,” Schnabel said. “That’s how it was growing up. You meet a complete stranger, you’re enamored or infatuated with them, and then two weeks later you realize they’re completely different.”

Schnabel co-write the script with [Jack] Irv and Galen Core. Dark and handheld, Schnabel said he wanted to reference to the grit of ‘80s or ‘90s films to compliment the escalating trouble his boys find themselves in. The director sent an early cut of the movie to Martin Scorsese and prayed he would give feedback, only to have the icon come on board as an executive producer.

“I watched his films, Brian De Palma’s films, Cassavetes’ films, I thought that the movie was very grounded in other New York stories. When I heard that he liked it, I thought, okay, I might as well ask him and see what he says and he kindly he kindly accepted my offer. I’m forever grateful to even be associated with him.”

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Variety's Jem Aswad asks The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye) about the current HBO series The Idol, of which Tesfaye and Sam Levinson are co-creators, along with Reza Fahim. Levinson has directed each of the three episodes that have been released so far. Here's a portion from the Variety article:
Have you been discouraged at all by the negative reaction “The Idol” has received from some quarters? Or was that something you expected?

No, no, that very much expected.

I keep waiting for it to shift, like “Dressed to Kill,” the Brian De Palma film (who also directed “Scarface” and “Carrie”), which is very slow in the first half and then suddenly becomes fast-paced and exciting.

Brian De Palma is a huge inspiration for all this, and of course [Paul] Verhoeven [“Basic Instinct,” “Total Recall,” “RoboCop”]. But look, we’re playing with genres with this show, we’re doing exactly what we wanted to do. And none of this is a surprise. I’m excited for everyone to watch the rest of the show.

Here’s a related question: Over the past few years you keep doing all these things to make yourself ugly, between the busted nose and the blood in your mouth for the “After Hours” look and the bloated face in the later phases of it —

And the old man face! [for the “Dawn FM” cover].

And the creepy mask at the beginning of the concerts —

Yes, that’s like the Phantom [of the Opera], gladiator inspired, of course, and Dr. Doom and then [the late, masked rapper-producer] MF Doom.

… and Tedros’ rat tail. What is it in you that makes you want to make yourself ugly?

This is just make-believe. It’s make-believe!

I guess you did the sexed-up and debauched image before? Not being really a sex symbol but —

I don’t think I’ve ever been a sex symbol.

You don’t think so?

No, definitely not. (Laughing)

OK fine. Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you’d like to say?

No, I’m just enjoying this tour and I’m excited to challenge myself and see how we can how we can change the game with the concert films.

“Films”? Are there plans to document the next two phases of the tour?

(Long pause) We’re shooting the inception of something now, which… which I feel like I haven’t been able to do before. So whatever we’re doing now, we’re capturing the genesis of it. So it’ll be an interesting documentary. Is that too vague?

Not for you!

Friday, March 20, 2020
CR Men's Tiana Reid posted a story today about The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye), which mentions a few films the pop star is currently obsessed with:
In 2019, Tesfaye went back to his early days, playing the Trilogy-era version of himself in the Safdie brothers’ film Uncut Gems. “I’ve been following the Safdies for years,” he says, a committed cinephile whose current obsessions include Claire Denis’ carnal thriller Trouble Every Day (2001), Brian De Palma’s neo-noir slasher Dressed to Kill (1980), Eckhart Schmidt’s West German, ’80s horror flick Der Fan, and Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money (1986).

On the big screen, he plays it douchey, “a kind of almost satirical version of myself,” he says. His fictitious double refuses to sing unless he’s in black light. He performs “The Morning” and does lines with a white girl (Julia Fox) who comments on his erection. “He’s going to be major—even though he’s from Canada,” Julia says earlier in the film. The line is played for laughs.

That “even though” is a bigger deal than it seems. Tesfaye was born to Ethiopian immigrant parents and raised in Scarborough, a region east of downtown Toronto, before he dropped out of high school, moving out to Parkdale in Toronto’s west side. For many of the young, black, brown, and poor people in Canada’s most-populous city, Toronto lacks industry connections of all kinds, affordable housing, and creative infrastructures, especially when compared to cities in the United States. In response to his upbringing, along with La Mar Taylor, Ahmed Ismail, and Joachim Johnson, the Weeknd now runs the nonprofit HXOUSE, a “Toronto-based, globally focused think-center” that works with young artists of many disciplines. Global capital obviously floods Toronto through real estate, technology, and development, but in an exorbitantly expensive rental housing market, the lofts of “Lost Music” are unaffordable. A condo company in Tesfaye’s old neighborhood of Parkdale, a 14-story new development, is eerily called XO Condos. Five-hundred-square-foot boxes, currently unbuilt, are being sold for upwards of $600,000 dollars. XO is, of course, also the name of the Weeknd’s record label, which includes Canadian hip hop acts Nav, Belly, and 88Glam.

Today, ostensibly, he’s made it. "I feel confident with where I’m taking this [new] record,” he reveals. “There’s also a very committed vision and character being portrayed and I get to explore a different side of me that my fans have never seen.” He says that the first drop, the anti-romance song called “Heartless,” follows where My Dear Melancholy left off. “It was the first song I wrote after that album, so it felt fitting for me to put it out,” he says. “I play a character in the video who becomes compromised and then overcompensates with all the sins that Vegas provides. It’s a great introduction to the next chapter of my life.” In the music video for “Heartless,” set in Las Vegas, this new character, with his Lionel Richie mustache, Herbie Hancock glasses, and a slappy grin, was in fact inspired by Sammy Davis, Jr. in the 1973 film Poor Devil. In one scene, he licks a frog. It’s an all-knowing corniness that can be a bit of a one-note gimmick, its arc to be determined by the forthcoming album.

In the final scene of the video for “Blinding Lights,” which premiered in January, this new jittery nouveau-riche character stares into the camera but also beyond it, blood between his teeth. The look is a mix of Joker and Béatrice Dalle in that aforementioned Claire Denis film he loves so much, Trouble Every Day. After a journey through a hall of mirrors, a good high, a good ass-whooping, it’s hard to tell whether he’s laughing or crying. There’s something funny and something tragic in that ambivalence. This sense that we play characters both louche and garish feels like where we are at the turn of this decade, after years when it seemed no one had a self.

Posted by Geoff at 11:34 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Alex Buono, who directed the pilot episode and the finale of the Craig Rosenberg Peacock series Based On A True Story, is interviewed by Metro Philadelphia's Molly Given:
And you directed the first and last episode of ‘Based on a True Story’?

I directed the pilot and the finale, and I was the directing producer of it—so I was there on set the whole time helping the other directors just to make sure that they understood what the tone of the show was, and visually what we were trying to do. And just to make sure that Craig’s vision for the show was actually happening and that the show didn’t accidentally stray away from it, because he had a really strong vision for it…I was there to just help him make sure that that’s the show that we were making at all times.

What were some of those conversations that you had with Craig when discussing the vision for the series?

When I first met with Craig—it’s funny, he’s Australian and from Melbourne, and my wife happens to be from Melbourne. Weirdly, her parents knew his parents and they worked together, so there was this weird immediate very loose connection. But we bonded a little bit, and then we sort of bonded further just talking about the kinds of films and things that we’re interested in.

We both shared a love of Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma and Sam Raimi, and how the [Coen] Brothers or Tarantino or sort of newer filmmakers reinterpret that Hitchcock suspense. I could tell he was really kind of going for Hitchcock in his script, and he and I spent a lot of time talking about what’s the right tone to strike? How Hitchcock is it? Hitchcock has been done a bit in television and it can also feel a little dated, so [it’s more], what can we pull from that visual style?

Then when we talk about Brian De Palma or Sam Raimi, what does that mean to you and what are the sort of visual or the subtextual cues that you can pull from those filmmakers that we love so much?

What visually do we see from those styles then in ‘Based on a True Story’?

I kind of came in pitching a color story for the show. I felt the aspirational world of the show could be told through greens and blues, and Craig had already written in tennis courts and the ocean in the west side and Malibu and all these things that just reminded me of that color scheme.

The other end of the spectrum was a yellower mustards and pinks and a little more colorless. We’ve talked about using the color red as this very strong, controlled [color] and we use it less so that it’s more meaningful. Conceptually the idea—we called it a sunshine noir, [or] a California noir that would be outdoors, but we could still take some of the hard shadows in the contrast and make it cinematic and be purposeful with the camera and think about composition. So, building a set of rules helped the other directors understand really quickly.

De Palma is mentioned in a positive review of the series by Craig Mathieson at The Age:
Let’s clear this up: there are killings and there are aspiring podcasters at the centre of Based on a True Story, but it’s not a Los Angeles transplant of Only Murders in the Building. A comic-thriller both bloody and scathingly satirical about the true crime-industrial complex, the show has none of the giddy joy or daffy camaraderie of Steve Martin’s hit series. It’s about the comic pulsebeat of panic and opportunism, and how satisfying them can open you up to all kinds of unforeseen risks.

It starts with wealth: married couple Ava (Kaley Cuoco) and Nathan Bartlett (Chris Messina) see it everywhere, but can’t grasp it. She’s a real estate agent trying to graduate from two-bedroom apartments to luxury homes, he’s the tennis pro at a privileged country club. Ava’s pregnant, but their marriage is adrift on wayward hormones and Nathan’s regrets over a professional tennis career prematurely ended by injury. Her consolation is true-crime podcasts, which Ava devours with forensic dedication.

It’s also Ava who quickly deduces that Matt Pierce (Tom Bateman), the friendly plumber who Nathan is giving lessons to in exchange for much-needed discounted work, is the Westside Ripper, a stab-happy serial killer whose murders get the lurid Brian De Palma treatment. And with money issues looming, it’s Ava who convinces Nathan to threaten Matt with exposure if he doesn’t agree to be the anonymous subject of a tell-all podcast, a proposition both cuckoo and convincing. They should get in first, Ava theorises, before “the girl from Serial turns up!”

Suspension of disbelief is a highwire act in Based on a True Story, but the show benefits from the couple’s risky, short-sighted instincts and some delicious twists – is Matt playing along until he can strike, or committed to the process? When the killer tradie starts demanding creative input the stakes get a blackly absurd charge. That’s exacerbated by the storytelling exploring the commercialised world of true crime podcasts, where successful hosts are quick to profess that they’re doing it for the victims, but also spruik their new merch line.

The show’s Australian creator, Craig Rosenberg (The Boys), can’t always keep the ragged stitching in the plot from showing, but he’s terrific in catching the audience out with unexpected dynamics. Nathan and Matt, for example, actually make for good friends, while Ava pushing Matt reverses the usual idiot husband and cautious wife set-up. “Pressure is a privilege,” she reminds him, before sending him off to an interview session with Matt. Prepping for a serial killer sit-down with a Billie Jean King quote sums up this series.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, June 12, 2023

Jérémie Périn’s sci-fi thriller Mars Express "serves a heady pop-culture cocktail," according to Variety's Ben Croll, "mixing hard-boiled fiction with science-fantasy comix, riffing on Philip Marlow and Philip K. Dick (with winks to Watchmen and Robocop and oh so many more) with a mystery yarn that places humans and cyborgs on equal footing."

More from Croll's article:

“I wanted to do something a bit more mature, but without being unnecessarily violent or graphic,” Périn explains. “Selfishly, I asked myself what I wanted to see, and those questions led to this type of storytelling with more adult subjects and aesthetic expressions, but not ‘adult’ in the sense of throwing sex and super violence in every direction.”

“This is a world where the robots look ever-more human, and the human characters can access computer interfaces with their eyes,” the director continues. “So I wanted to embed this confrontation between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ within the very mise-en-scene, to blur those codes by mixing in the rules and conventions of live action.”

To translate those impulses into animation, Périn adhered to a live-action visual language, recreating split diopter shots, allowing liquid to drip down the ‘lens,’ and staging shots with wide depths of field and visual distortions in order to play into larger thematic concerns.

When thinking about this sci-fi landscape, Périn drew as much inspiration from Brian De Palma’s work as from the touchstone adult-skewing films from Mamoru Oshii, Satoshi Kon, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, and Rintaro. If anything, Périn saw clear continuity between both forms.

“Japanese animators brought staging and framing into the mix,” says Périn.

“Historically, to compensate for more limited budgets, the Japanese opted for a slightly more limited animation style, instead focusing on the layout of their shots, creating impactful images that needed less movement to be striking. They accented camera work, made changes in focus and depth of field, tilted the frames and introduced superzooms, [and by doing so] gave world animation greater vocabulary.”

Of course, by way of continuity, the “Mars Express” director sees his film as part of a pop-culture continuum that dates further back than 1988’s “Akira.”

“All those filmmakers were themselves nourished by the particular sci-fi culture that sprung from ‘Heavy Metal’ magazine,” Périn says. “I see the flow from Moebius to Katsuhiro Otomo. They both influenced me, and they in turn looked to earlier aesthetics from other countries, before contributing their own cultural versions of these worlds.”

Posted by Geoff at 10:41 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, May 26, 2023

Rosette Adel at Interaksyon shares some quotes from the Russo Brothers and co-producer Angela Russo-Otstot (and others) from a roundtable press interview about their Prime series Citadel:
“I don’t know if we thought of a specific spy. But certainly, the work of Brian De Palma comes to mind…not specifically from his espionage films but so much from his ‘thrillers.’ I think that was probably the biggest influence on the look on the feel of the show,” Joe Russo told Interaksyon when asked for spy or film inspiration for “Citadel.”

Angela Russo-Otsot also stressed that while they are fans of the genre and have many references, they still produced the series with the thought of bringing something new to the audience.

“I think that what’s interesting to note here is that oftentimes, even though we are such fans of genre, and have many references that we can point to as great influences successes, oftentimes when we sit down to think about how to approach a genre, we specifically reflect on ‘what have we not seen before?’ And that felt like a really exciting, compelling opportunity here, to not only feature a duo, but a duo that has a complicated past and features a woman in a way that we have not seen in the spy space, to date,” Angela said during the roundtable interview.

“I think felt like the most exciting approach was to really consider all the spy films that we have seen before lean into some of them from a storytelling perspective that appeal to a broader audience and allow that audience an easier access point, but then to subvert their aspects that then frankly, felt long overdue,” she added.

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Guillaume Gas at Les Chroniques de Cliffhanger & Co
First of all, let's get rid of the annoying subject, unfortunately unstoppable for any adventurous and fetishist cinephile. From its poster to its synopsis through its trailer, it was already obvious, even before discovering the beast on the big screen, that the new film by Sébastien Marnier was going to flash the name of Claude Chabrol one frame out of two. It will not take more than two hours for the impression to be confirmed, the signs of correspondence continuing to accumulate in single file. On this approach aimed at penetrating a kind of bourgeois and cozy vivarium where rattlesnakes and vipers manipulate pretense (and hypocrisy) with rare dexterity, we clearly feel on familiar ground. On this game of satire which cracks social conventions one by one over a plot where the shadow of a doubt creeps in a loop and where the crime is always almost perfect, it's the same thing, without forgetting the constant gauging of class relations to spice up human relations. On the very last shot of the film, we will have there just as soon to see a quasi transfer of the one, memorable, which closed The Ceremony. So, kif-kif? It's not as simple as that.

We must already put in mind the two previous films by Marnier (Irréprochable and L'Heure de la sortie), in order to target how their common guiding thread (a mental obsession that never ceases to poison everyday life) could settle in wonderfully in an eminently Chabrolian setting. And starting from there, the taste for narrative opacity that Marnier uses from the first to the last shot helps to make the difference. better manipulate the opening with caution for an audience that does not yet know the real content. The exercise is even all the more delicate in that the cinephile seasoned with the habits and customs of the psychological thriller (including news that whispers an idea or leaves it a little too long in suspense) will quickly break through the pot of roses – here revealed halfway through. It suffices here for Marnier to bet all his marbles on the ellipse which hides the truth, on the deceptive effects of a framing where the scales of the shot first pretend to invert the real natures of the characters, on the uncertainty characters and identities (always be wary when the identity, or even the usefulness, of a character remains unclear for too long) and on the impossibility of positioning the ethical cursor in a context of visceral hatred (one could imagine a thousand scenarios different from Cluedo with a bourgeois family like this!). Still, what amazes here is the degree of mastery.

We will first salute the crazy work on the structure of the plot, here nestling galore, and on the narration, here eminently vicious by disseminating its clues gradually, just to better put it upside down for us most unexpected moment. The narrative progression marries marvelously with a linearity constantly disrupted by the breaks in tone (here managed with parsimony), the humor becomes a matter of unease (and vice versa), the compass of empathy is disturbed until activating the most crazy, and the cast, led by a Laure Calamy decidedly subscribed to the praise concert for life, plays its game well (therefore hides it well) by leaving its internal schema in a psychic fog that the final scene will not even do the effort to mitigate. In this respect, the title of the film also has the value of an enigma: the nature of this "origin" is so unclear (is it a character? an act? something else?) that it verges on the sight of spirit. And to drive the point home, do these varied trinkets, these stuffed animals and these carnivorous plants that populate this luxurious residence – and which accompany the end credits here – have an omniscient function or a simple symbolic value in this story? Again, nothing is less certain.

The mastery also affects the frame and the image, Marnier making it a point of honor here to use the power of the staging to amplify his story and his subject. Here again, our cinephilia enjoins us to mention the name of Brian De Palma. Not only by this intelligent use of the split-screen (which suggests the incompatibility, often more than debatable, of characters despite everything brought together by force of circumstance), not only for this opening sequence shot in women's locker rooms which makes mine to photocopy Carrie's opening, not only either for this implicit questioning of the notion of "truth", but above all for this strategy aimed at operating a mise en abyme of the notion of "staging", through a film that lies about characters who (are) lying. Nothing could be more effective for exhibiting a false reality twisted at leisure by a burning desire that the narration first pass over in silence. We will not go so far as to say that the degree of success is the same as with De Palma, but as a student's work, Marnier knows so well "the origin of talent" that he gets the mention "very well” without any difficulty. And we congratulate him.

Ludovic Béot, Les Inrockuptibles
'The Origin of Evil', Sébastien Marnier summons De Palma and Fritz Lang

By freeing himself from the influence of Chabrol for those of two great formalists of American cinema, Sébastien Marnier orchestrates a striking game of pretense and entrusts Laure Calamy with a vertiginous role of opacity.

Perhaps tired of the somewhat systematic affiliation that the commentators of his cinema have been able to make with that of Chabrol, Sébastien Marnier (Irreproachable, L'Heure de la sortie) takes from the prologue of L'Origine du mal , the opposite, propelling us into an uninterrupted waltz of double-bottomed images.

If The Origin of Evil is unquestionably his most Chabrolian film in terms of the themes evoked (the disorder of the provincial bourgeoisie), the first minutes take us elsewhere. In an anchovy factory, Stéphane, one of his workers (Laure Calamy) pure but naive, is wrung out by the violence of the world around him. The actress who lends her features to this character is no coincidence. Discovered by the general public with Ten percent in the role of a deliciously candid character, then interpreting on several occasions courageous women, manhandled by the brutality of the system (Full Time, A Woman of the World), Calamy, is, here , on familiar ground. Yet something resists, rings false, like an out of tune piano powerlessly playing the right chords in a score.

By mimicking, voluntarily or not, this too often systematic pitfall of a certain French-style social cinema which sanctifies the victim to keep only the angelic face, Marnier has learned the lesson of another great moralist master: Fritz Lang , in which every victim simultaneously becomes the executioner of another. This aphorism offers Laure Calamy, passionate about opacity, a dizzying demonstration of the plasticity of the ego.

The incredible truth

From then on, it is not just a face that changes nature, but a whole film, when suddenly the camera indulges in a new mannerism in Marnier's cinema. Whether it's a split-screen in the middle of a family reunion, or even a wide camera movement with a crane initiated on three motionless characters on a sofa. These aesthetic dross share in common their incongruity and weave an affiliation as new as it is unexpected with Brian de Palma.

However, we must see in this recycling, excessively outrageous, tropisms of the author of Body Double, not an end in itself but as a new secret passage, certainly the most exciting, to penetrate the film. The Origin of Evil shares with De Palma's films the way in which malignity and virtuosity orchestrate this ballet of pretense and double-dealing, which gradually takes precedence and renders the credibility of the facts told here insignificant, implausible. There is in The Origin of Evil, this same capacity to extract oneself from a main narrative line to devote oneself to a pure theoretical object on the nature of images and to redefine even the most obvious moral fields: here there is no lie , neither truth, nor executioner, nor victim.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2022 12:25 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, August 19, 2022

At Pop Matters, Robert Daniel Evers interviews John Darnielle about Bleed Out, which is the twentieth album by The Mountain Goats:
Spiritually similar to 2016’s Beat the Champ, an album that is about his love of professional wrestling, Bleed Out is head to toe inspired by his love of the cheese and the sleaze of revenge thrillers. “When people say ‘it’s so bad it’s good,’ that’s not correct. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s that there’s, in a sense, obviously, not anyone can make a great movie, but sort of anyone with the capability can make a great movie, but every ‘off’ movie is off in its own way, and there’s real humanity …” (He interrupts himself to talk about Carnival of Souls).

The album’s tone is set by its opening track, “Training Montage”, in which he declares quite decisively, “I’m doing this for revenge! / I’m doing this to try and stay true! / I’m doing this for the ones they had to leave behind! / I’m doing this for you!” This song lets you know exactly what you’re getting into here, in much the same way an action movie needs to set its tone in the first five minutes, lest it is mistaken for a romance.

Keeping things upbeat and amped up, “Wage Wars, Get Rich, Die Handsome” embodies the glory of the action hero, maybe the leader of a heist gang, maybe not the kind of guy you’d want to invite to a dinner party, but certainly one you’d enjoy watching blow shit up on-screen. Even its liner notes stay on theme.

The album is a rocker with some flares of saxophone and accompaniment by Alicia Bognanno from the band Bully, who also served as producer. Darnielle is a master storyteller, and Bleed Out is a kind of short story collection of heists, gang wars, car chases, and shootouts (less about plots and more about the feelings of the humans doing the action), utilizing all of the themes and tropes from his favorite titles. It is an album made up almost entirely of bangers, but it closes with a sigh of relief as its protagonist prepares for death. Reflecting on the ephemeral nature of existence, the narrator sings, “There’s gonna be a big spot where I once lay / And then there won’t even be a spot one day / Bleed out / I’m going to bleed out.”

The first movie John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats saw in a movie theater was The Wizard of Oz. It was 1971, and he was four or five. “That night, I very solemnly announced to my parents that I was going to marry Judy Garland when I grew up.” Aside from remaining a lifelong, dedicated Judy Garland fan, the screening of Oz left a lasting impression on him. “It was a very big experience for me,” he says. “I was utterly bowled over.”

This relationship with film would continue into adolescence during the late 1970s when parenting was less strict and he would get dropped off at the movies after school by himself. One standout from this time was 1977’s Orca, about a killer whale that gets revenge on a fishing boat that killed its pregnant mate. This thirst for stories of revenge started early. Of course, there were the daytime monster movies that would come on TV when they were living briefly in Milpitas, California (a location that appears in his latest novel). A favorite at the time was The Crawling Eye, a film that would appear two decades later on Mystery Science Theater 3000. A number of these elements would influence Darnielle’s more lurid cinematic tastes.

His entry into foreign films came courtesy of his stepfather (a character fans will remember as the villain of the Mountain Goats’ Sunset Tree album) and a recurring Sunday night film series at Pitzer College. Of his stepfather, Darnielle tells me: “He had grown up in a small Indiana town and aspired to be greater and learn things, and he would take me to foreign movies and teach me about Bergman, Pasolini, Fellini—those were his, sort of, big names.”

Darnielle favored Andy Warhol and was able to see his film, Trash, as a teenager. “It was a big night for me when I was 14,” he says. “If you wanted to see a Warhol movie, you just couldn’t; they weren’t around. He was, for those of us who listened to the Velvets, this legendary figure. You wanted to see what his movies were like. And Trash was a big, big thing for me.”

The programming at the Pitzer College Sunday night film series in Avery auditorium was every Sunday night for Darnielle. This is where he saw Kurosawa‘s Ran and Rashomon, Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, Wim WendersParis, TX, and of course, Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander. These were formative, taste-making years. He was hooked—a certified cinephile. “We would all go, me and my friends Tom and Steve, the would-be intellectuals. We’d go to movies from seven to nine and then at nine go out for coffee and argue about what we’d seen.”

Posted by Geoff at 6:36 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

At RogerEbert.com, Carlos Aguilar asks Gaspar Noé, "Can you trace your interest in using split screen to a particular film or piece of art that you encountered before you started working on Lux Æterna in 2019? Or was this an aesthetic choice that was born specifically for this premise?"
As everybody else, I had seen many movies with the split screen effects. Movies from the seventies, like the ones of Richard Fleischer, like “The Boston Strangler.” I had also seen movies by Brian De Palma with split screen since, but probably the movie that impressed me the most about the use of split screen is a movie that was not released in the states, but it was released in France, although it was an American movie. In France it was called “New York 42nd Street,” but in America the name it had was “Forty Deuce.” It was a theater play that Paul Morrissey adapted into a film with two cameras. I guess it was for legal rights that it was not released here. You can barely find it on a bootleg DVD with French subtitles.

I was a film student when I saw that feature film that was shot from the beginning to the end with the split screen and I said, “Wow, that looks great. It's a great idea.” Unfortunately, they didn't really think how to make it more powerful. And so, I’ve had that movie in mind all my life. When I started shooting my previous movie “Climax,” the [fashion] brand Saint Laurent proposed to give money to make a short film. They said, “It can be five minutes long or it can be 70 minutes long. Whatever you want, but just use actors that are icons of our brand and use our clothing.”

I had an idea to do with Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, but we had a limited budget, so we decided we could shoot this short film in five days. The first day of shooting, I tried to film it as I had I shot “Climax,” which means I wanted to shoot it with long master shots and we were so unprepared that at the end of the day, I had like a six-minute shot that wasn't working. And I said, “Well, now I have four days left. I cannot keep on working this way because I'm not prepared enough and there are too many people around.” I decided that from the second day on, I would shoot with many different cameras.

We had two cameras on the set and the guy who was playing the director of the making-of in the movie had a small video camera. I said, "Let shoot every single with two or three cameras and I'll see how to edit the movie, but it will not be a movie with just master shots." In the editing process I decided to use the split screen or the triple screen. I really enjoyed doing a very playful edit with one, two, or three screens inside the screen. One year after doing this short film that became at 52-minute movie and was shown theatrically in many countries as a feature film, I did another short film for the same brand called “Summer of ‘21.It's on YouTube and Vimeo. Once again, I filmed that with two cameras and it's a split screen fashion film that I am really proud of.

After those experiences with fashion short films, why did you feel that this formal choice could also work for “Vortex”?

Last year in the month of January, I came back from seeing my father in Argentina and my French producers suggested I do a confinement movie. Confinement movies are those kinds of productions in which you have one or two actors in one single apartment because we could not shoot in the streets. I said, “I have an idea. It's about an old couple. We could make it using split screen. We would see the lives of the two members of the couple. It would be shot with two cameras.” In my head, because I was already used to the split screen, I thought it would make even more sense than for the two shorts I had done before.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, May 9, 2022

"The Norwegian screenwriter and filmmaker Eskil Vogt has long been one of the most intriguing and innovative writer-directors of the Scandi new wave," writes Vogue's Erik Morse in a profile interview article about Vogt. "Last year’s Cannes Film Festival screened not one but two of Vogt’s recent projects—The Worst Person in the World, written with longtime collaborator Joachim Trier (for which both men were nominated for best original screenplay at the Academy Awards) and his own film The Innocents. Part supernatural fable and part familial melodrama, The Innocents peeks into the enchanting and sometimes sinister world of children when parents are not watching."

During the interview portion of the article, Morse asks Vogt about the influence of other such films:

There was a glut of child-possession and telekinesis films during the late 1970s and early ’80s, like The Omen, The Fury, Carrie, The Shining, and The Twilight Zone film. Were these films and that period of filmmaking important to you?

I was, and still am, a big Brian De Palma fan. Carrie and The Fury—I don’t think The Fury is his best movie, but there are some really interesting sequences in it. At that time, as a teenager, I also read a lot of Stephen King, and that’s very much a part of what you are describing. When I started to work on The Innocents, I didn’t think much about it in that context until I was quite far along, and I was ready to speak about it to my collaborators and my producer. I said, “Well, it’s about these kids who have these powers…,” and suddenly, at that moment, I realized: “Oh, no, am I making one of those films?” Because there are so many movies and television series being made now about young people with supernatural powers. But then I started to think about it, and I realized that my movie was about childhood with a capital C. It’s really about being very young—about the magic of childhood and that secret parallel world kids live in. And there are those feelings of imagination that you lose as you get older. Most of those other movies and series are about puberty; instead, I watched a lot of classic movies about childhood because what I felt I was doing more than making a scary movie or a supernatural movie was making a movie about how it felt to be a child.

What sorts of childhood films?

There is a French film called Ponette, which has a four- or five-year-old lead. Jacques Doillon made it. I think [Victoire Thivisol] won best actress in Venice. It was so inspiring to see how difficult it was and how great the result was. Also, some of those Spanish classics like The Spirit of the Beehive. I watched the Peter Brook adaptation of Lord of the Flies. I was very impressed by the acting in that movie. These films just gave me confidence that I could pull off the child acting. There is nothing more cinematic than seeing the transparent face of a child going through emotions and thinking things. It’s such a wonderful thing to capture with a camera.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older