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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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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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No Harm In Charm

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De Palma a la Mod
site

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Thursday, March 7, 2024
THE FILM EXPERIENCE BLOG LOOKS AT THE WORK OF JACK FISK
AS PRODUCTION DESIGNER GETS HIS THIRD CAREER OSCAR NOM FOR KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fiskexperiencephantom.jpg

Cláudio Alves at The Film Experience looks at the career work of production designer Jack Fisk, with sets of images from several of the films that Fisk has worked on over the years. These include Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise and Carrie, as well as films directed by Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, David Lynch, and Paul Thomas Anderson, among others:
Born in Canton and raised in Ipava, Illinois, Jack Fisk didn't study cinema or any performing arts, for that matter. His background was in painting, having gone to the Cooper Union and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. There, he started to explore the medium of sculpture, free to experiment with large-scale work that, in his own words, looked better when you were walking around them. In other words, he was building environments rather than a piece to be observed from a static distance. He attended college with childhood friend David Lynch, whose acceptance to the AFI prompted the pair to go West, to California. There, Fisk found work on movie sets, like a non-union gig managing traffic for a shoot.

Inevitably, he found his place in the art departments of small productions, such as the Jonathan Demme and Roger Corman-produced Angel Warriors. In that project, he worked alone and learned the necessities of set dressing, which, until then, hadn't crossed his mind. Still, cinema was a job to Frisk until one production opened his eyes to its possibility as an art form. It was Badlands, and Fisk got his job after knowing of Terrence Malick through Lynch – their time at AFI overlapped – and feeling curious about the film's premise. Mostly, the art director wanted to try his hand at a period piece, even if it was set in the not-so-distant past of 1958. Learning to work with this new director was a wild experience, a repudiation of mechanical filmmaking practices and a love for artistic freedom.

Take the treehouse inhabited by the runaway lovers. There was no such thing in the script, but Fisk suggested it to Malick, took a day to build it, and they were shooting there by the next sunrise. With no storyboards and such fluidity, he became more aware of the world-creating magic of production design, intuitively relating spaces to each other to generate ideas, blending actual location with scenography to invoke a seamless feeling of immersion. Moreover, the director's methodology often involved creating something even more expansive than what ended up on the screen, being ready for any eventuality, the camera's will.

Fisk has described Malick as a brother, but it was also on the set of Badlands that he met his wife, Sissy Spacek. Less than a year after the film saw the light of day, they were married, and she soon started working as a set dresser between acting jobs. Spacek's first art department credit came in 1974 when Fisk got a job designing the theatrical lunacy of Phantom of Paradise. It was the first of the couple's two collaborations with Brian De Palma since the thespian managed to win the role of Carrie White, and Fisk also designed the 1976 Stephen King adaptation. Far from the only genre pictures he made during this time, such projects proved that this artist could thrive beyond realism.

But between horror and blaxploitation, indie nightmares and musical fantasy, Fisk's "brothers" pulled him into their own worlds at the height of New Hollywood. For Lynch, he was Eraserhead's The Man in the Planet, and for Malick, he was the man in charge of bringing to life Days of Heaven's farmland poem. Inspired by historical photographs and the director's idea of a three-story Victorian house lost in the middle of a wheat field. In his most lavish production up to that point, Fisk found himself working the land like the characters, seeing that engaging with the picture's reality helped him as a designer. His achievement is also a treatise on the power of emptiness in the cinematic frame and the lyricism of light.



Posted by Geoff at 11:20 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2024 11:21 PM CST
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