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De Palma talks to his fans:
De Palma a la Mod
Virtuoso of the 7th Art
Le Paradis de Brian De Palma
Directed by Brian De Palma

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

Howell on Hurt Locker
"Testosterone flows non-
stop and so does blood,
but these macho men
are just getting the
job done. In so doing,
they reveal much about
themselves and also
deliver some home truths
about the Iraqi quagmire.
This is no message
movie, yet insights

Bigelow's Hurt Locker
"a thrilling combat film"
conjuring John Wayne...

Staff Sergeant William
James, played by Jeremy
Renner, is a wild man
addicted to the adrenalin
rush of doing the most
dangerous job in the
world. He is a character
who can embody the
central myth of American
cinema because his job
is saving lives, not
taking them. 'James is
the man who walks
down that street in
the direction that
everyone else is
running from,' says
Ms Bigelow. 'He has an
iconic aura. But those
traits exert a heavy

Watch De Palma's
Dressed To Kill
on Fancast

or on Hulu

NASA Spacecraft Confirms
Martian Water, Mission

Sarris on Nolan
"I previously have had
my own auteurist doubts
about Mr. Nolan’s work,
even though he has been
much honored for his
stylistic innovations in
Memento (2001) and The
(2006). But after
The Dark Knight, I may
have to rethink my past
reservations about Mr.
Nolan’s place in the
21st-century cinema."

Uhlich on The Dark Knight
"For Nolan, [the Joker]
can’t just be a sadistic,
psychotic clown: he has
to be something of a
spoiled bastard child bred
by humanity’s indifference,
a literal sickness made
flesh (something that lends
a particularly queasy
uncertainty to the
sequence where The Joker
does his best Bobbi
from Dressed to Kill."

Jeremy Richey on Tykwer's
Faubourg Saint-Denis

"Tykwer manages to capture
the sometimes grueling
excitement of a young
relationship in a nearly
incomprehensibly honest
way here and even more
amazingly he manages to
portray the thin line in
cinema between what is real
and imagined in a fresh way
that recalls the greatest
work of De Palma, probably
the director whose work
looms largest over
his own."

Spielberg on small projects:
"All of us would like
to make these little
personal films that sneak
into theaters under the
radar. Sadly, for George
and myself, and others
who have enjoyed and
endured great success —
‘under the radar’ has
become a no-fly zone."

Read De Palma's
interview from
the April issue
of EMPIRE magazine

Bird is nicknamed
'Hitchcock' after
attacking humans
in Chicago

Official finds Scarface
Swear-A-Long to
be most foul

NASA says Martian Ice
Discovered Beneath
Red Soil

American Film Institute
recognizes De Palma's
Scarface as 10th-best
Gangster picture

David Greven reviews
Eyal Peretz' Becoming
Visionary: Brian De Palma's
Cinematic Education
Of The Senses

M. Night Shyamalan
is Public Enemy #1

Oliver Stone says the
tone of W is "ideally
in the vein of Network
or Dr. Strangelove"

"I was a young man when
I saw Dr. Strangelove and
it still stays with me. It
took a very grim subject
and turned it into a serio-
comic story and it worked.
So those would be great
models for the movie
to live by."

Sydney Pollack has died

Critic suggests that Vadim
Perelman's The Life Before
Her Eyes
was influenced by
De Palma's Femme Fatale

Dan Fainaru on
Waltz With Bashir

"Ari Folman's animated
documentary could easily
turn out to be one of the
most powerful statements
of this Cannes and will
leave its mark forever on
the ethics of war films in
general... Replacing actual
footage with animated
images lends the picture
a uniqueness that might
have been lost otherwise,
given the enormous amount
of similar footage generated
daily... The film reverts
back to normal authentic
documentary footage for the
closing sequence, delivering
the ultimate punch to
drive its message home."

Sean Penn as
at Cannes fest

"One way or another,
when we select the
Palme d'Or winner, I
think we are going to
feel very confident that
the filmmaker who made
the film is very aware
of the times in which
he or she lives."

Oliver Stone on W
"Bush may turn out to
be the worst president
in history. I think history
is going to be very tough
on him. But that doesn't
mean he isn't a great
story. It's almost Capra-
esque, the story of a guy
who had very limited
talents in life, except for
the ability to sell himself.
The fact that he had to
overcome the shadow of
his father and the weight
of his family name —
you have to admire his
tenacity. There's almost an
Andy Griffith quality to
him, from A Face in the
. If Fitzgerald were
alive today, he might be
writing about him. He's
sort of a reverse Gatsby."

Armond White on Iron Man
"Fans who grew up
reading Iron Man now
receive the same snark of
Mike Nichols’ horrendously
slick Charlie Wilson’s War;
such facile political guilt
being the current Hollywood
Liberal standard. But it
lacks the emotional,
kinetic power of De Palma’s
The Fury where father-son
legacy, mixed with political
chicanery, was a compressed,
emotionally intensified
version of Tony Stark’s
dilemma. (Ambivalent about
his father’s work on The
Manhattan Project, he’s
paranoid like Robin

Peter Bradshaw
on Iron Man

"With fictional movies about
the United States' post-9/11
military adventures now
coming fully onstream, it
is possible to see two
distinct categories emerging.
One can be labelled Anti-War:
Nick Broomfield's Battle for
and Brian De Palma's
Redacted. Another group
can be called Fence-Sitter -
Robert Redford's Lions for
, Peter Berg's The
, Kimberly Peirce's
Stop-Loss - a muddled,
desperately liberal-patriot
genre that yearns, in the
manner of Gov Bill Clinton
in the early 1990s, to
support the troops rather
than the war. Offhand, I
can think of only one
truly Pro-War film, and that
is Hiner Saleem's Kilomètre
(2005), about Saddam's
genocidal persecution of
the Kurds, a movie that
concludes with a remarkable
sequence showing forthright,
entirely unironic rejoicing
among the Kurdish diaspora
at the US invasion.
Iron Man is, in its way,
a refreshing change to
all this. And its opening
sequence is an exhilarating,
even brilliant wish-
fulfilment fantasy
dramatising America's
yearning for a virile
exit strategy."

Armond White on
Standard Operating

"Morris exploits the G.I.'s
photographs that recorded
the mistreatment of the
prisoners as the basis
for a lengthy, Sontag-like
digression on digital
technology. An angry
government contractor says
'The pics spoke a thousand
words, but unless you know
day or time, you don’t
know the story they were
telling,' which leads to
an F/X sequence lining up
data and image content
from the soldiers’ Mercury
Peripheral and Sony
Cybershot camera. (Is this
a commercial?) Morris
looks for what forensics
call 'Mega Data'—
information inside
information—but simply
showing the simultaneity
of the photographs is
redundant. It still leaves
us with Rashomon,
or worse, Redacted II."

The late Paul Arthur
on Morris' Standard
Operating Procedure

"As in previous films,
Morris chooses to
substitute metaphor for
analysis; specifically, he
conjures the Baghdad prison
as a generic Old Dark House
or, on a more elevated
plane, as a set from The
Silence of the Lambs
'I think of the film as a
nonfiction horror movie,' he
wrote in the press notes,
a concept realized in master
cinematographer Robert
Richardson’s perversely
beautiful imagery and
Danny Elfman’s score (as
spooky as his music for
Batman). Morris repeatedly
interrupts close-ups of
testimony to expressively
flesh out instances not
captured by the soldiers’
digital cameras: atmospheric
cellblock corridors; a backlit
angle on blood dripping
from a detainee’s nose;
trapdoors hurtling open at
Saddam Hussein’s hanging.
These visual aperçus, which
Morris refers to rather
sophistically as 'impressions'
rather than reenactments,
are undeniably gorgeous.
Their style, however,
belongs to a film genre that
provides titillation through
horror. To employ this
rhetoric in a documentary
about actual horror is
obscene, yielding familiar
aesthetic thrills as a
substitute for specificity
of meaning. We aren’t
prompted to contemplate the
Iraq occupation’s signature
scandal as the product of a
mercenary chain of executive
decisions, cultural attitudes,
venalities, and personal
pathologies; we are, as
it were, let off the hook.
It’s only a movie...
'Is it possible for a
photograph to change the
world?' is the ultimate
question Morris thinks
he is posing in SOP. The
flip side of pseudo-profound
'lessons' extracted from
McNamara’s self-serving
blather in The Fog of
—'Empathize with
your enemy'—Morris’s
account of Abu Ghraib
becomes mired in parsing
who took what photo, how
it was 'composed,' and
what lay just outside the
frame. For instance, it
is crucial for him that
the prisoner portrayed in
the synoptic image of the
hooded man standing on a
box with (fake) electrical
wires attached to his
fingers was not the man
who identified himself
publicly as the victim but a
different person altogether.
Morris finds this revelation
telling because it shows
how massively disseminated
pictures can mask their own
provenance or 'attract
false beliefs.' Really? I
thought the images under
consideration, especially
when supplemented by salient
verbal contexts, revealed
more about policy than
about epistemology, more
about state-sponsored
barbarity than about media
deception. To be sure,
Morris portrays soldiers
convicted of abuse not
as gothic monsters but as
scapegoats for shadowy,
mostly unnamed bureaucratic
managers like those who did
McNamara’s bidding forty
years ago. Unfortunately,
he grafts visual tropes of
horror movies onto the
wrong piece of wartime real
estate. That isn’t a crime,
but surely it explains
Standard Operating
’s failure to
contribute in any fashion
to our urgent reckoning
of recent history."

Phantom Of The Paradise
cinematographer Larry
Pizer has died

Also shot Dancing
In The Dark

LA Times: Hollywood's
James Ellroy enigma

Even Scarlett Johansson,
who played '40s vamp
Kay Lake in Black Dahlia,
talked about how difficult
his words were to put
across. "As a modern actor,
we made this movement
that started in the 1970s,"
she told Voice of America
News. "Realism and the
gritty kind of natural
technique. It was interesting
to pair that with the
dialogue so stylized and
impossibly unrealistic,
saying things like, 'How
could you, Dwight, how
could you?' We never
say those things. That
kind of dialogue is
so dated."

Scarface in Miami,
25 years ago
this month

Neil Burger's Iraq-
linked The Lucky Ones,
opening in October
2008, faces tough
marketing challenges

"In an interview in October
Mr. Burger said that he
had dreamed up the
$14 million movie
(which he wrote with Dirk
Wittenborn) after returning
from making The Illusionist
in Prague in 2005, and
being struck by how
nastily the Iraq war was
being debated here, whether
by pundits on television or
by his own family members.
He also said he was inspired
by The Last Detail, the
1973 Hal Ashby film with
Jack Nicholson and Otis
Young as sailors escorting
a petty thief to prison.
The Lucky Ones shares its
seriocomic mood, episodic
structure and even a few
plot points: an odd religious
detour, an encounter with
prostitutes, a brawl and
much bonding. Mr. Burger
conceded that his movie
was more political than
Ashby’s, which didn’t even
mention Vietnam, but only
in that The Lucky Ones
holds up a mirror to a
society troubled by the
war it is waging."

absolute silence...
Jules Dassin has
passed away

Jeffrey Wells on
early script for
Oliver Stone's W

"It's about a guy who's
got a life-long identity
crisis but he finds himself
when he goes to war.
He uses the Iraq War
to assert himself and
make him feel like
he's his own man."

How the Iraq War
and George W. Bush
sent the movie industry
back to its favorite
era—the 1970s

"The point is not that
similarities don’t exist
between that [Vietnam]
conflict and this one—the
Iraq War has more than
its share of follies in high
places, wartime atrocities,
and home-front miseries.
(De Palma and Haggis both
drew on real-life incidents
for their films.) But the
entertainment industry, in
its haste to re-create the
’70s, hasn’t come to terms
with the differences. The
differences in our war
aims, for one thing. The
differences in the enemies
we face, for another.
The differences in our
military—not only in
its composition, morale,
and leadership, but in
the way it’s regarded by
civilians back home. Nor
has the industry come to
terms with what this last
distinction says about the
impact of the Iraq War
on the American psyche—
namely, that although the
conflict has made us
doubt our leaders, it
hasn’t made us doubt

Armond White on Stop-Loss
"The dreadful sense of
national betrayal that
has [become] common in most
recent wartime dramas (from
Flags of Our Fathers to In
the Valley of Elah
deprives popular audiences
of compassion, preventing
them from understanding
the basic human components
of citizenship and duty.
Most liberal filmmakers pre-
condemn any reason that may
compel a young person to
sign up for the military.
This slanted perspective on
the Iraq War appeals only
to the discontent of the
war’s critics. Stories that
might be rich in valor
or personal conflict become
little more than anti–Iraq
War propaganda. Yet Peirce
aims deeper, as in a
truncated Joseph Gordon-
Levitt subplot about lost
boys who join up out of a
need to belong to anything.
And several montages of
soldiers’ video-recordings
broadcast on the Internet
recall the handmade evidence
in Brian De Palma’s Redacted.
But where De Palma botched
his investigation of American
machismo (that film’s too-
brief monologue about luckless
boys named after Vegas and
Reno), Peirce concentrates
on the backgrounds of
working-class lads who
submit themselves to
patriotic exploitation."

Zacharek on Stop-Loss
Stop-Loss tries to be about
so many things that it
addresses none of them
adequately. The early part
of the picture is something
of a scrapbook collage,
incorporating home-video
footage shot by the soldiers
in Iraq as they try to
amuse themselves in the
face of tedium. The
technique is similar to
the one Brian De Palma
used in Redacted, and the
horrific event that Brandon
and his men experience (as
well as instigate) is in some
ways similar to the real-
life events De Palma
dramatized in his movie.
But unlike Redacted -- a
picture whose very rawness
collapses the distance
between the subject and
the viewer -- Stop-Loss is
reassuringly movielike.
Peirce is willing to show
us horror, but from a safe
distance, too many steps
removed; her movie is too
dignified, too manicured,
to feel immediate or
even significant."

U.S. war films more
popular overseas

Basam Sebti: "I think in
the case of Redacted, the
director revealed what was
really going on and no
more than that. It was a
very simple movie, yet so
powerful because the way
it presented the war was
closer to reality. I think
Americans need to watch
such movies because
unfortunately, a lot of
them have no idea of
how everyday life of
Americans and Iraqis looks
like in the battlefield."

Bush defends Iraq
record amid protests,
five years on

Bush: "The world is better,
and the US is safer."

Iraq war fades out
as TV story

Goodridge on Stop-Loss:
"earnest and heavy-handed"

"Instead of focusing
tightly on the stop-loss
question, Peirce, who co-
wrote the screenplay with
Mark Richard, can't resist
getting into every issue
the invasion of Iraq has
engendered – the confusion
between 9/11 and the
Iraq conflict, the post-
traumatic stress disorder
suffered by troops, the
army's failure to tackle
mental problems and
alcoholism and the suppression
of disabled veterans, for
example. In addition to
a myriad issues, she slots
in every war movie
cliché in the book."

War film Stop-Loss
downplays Iraq
theme in ads

"Any movie that deals
with the war has to find
another way in (to
consumers)," said one
veteran marketer. "So we're
in this weird situation
(where) the more a
movie like this is about
contemporary issues, the
less you can talk about
them in your marketing."

Prisoners develop play
based on Scarface

"Say Goodnight To The
Bad Guy
was developed by
the Stoke-on-Trent arts
organisation Rideout, which
worked with prisoners
to develop a script
inspired by Scarface."

Body Double now
streaming for free

Jabcuga details the
creation of Scarface
prequel comic book

Paul Schrader now online


Todd's Movie Blog
"De Palma's ability
to fake it
varies widely,
but the
of different
lends insight
into the
The video
diary never
feels real
but manages to
catch certain
moments, most
notably the
detonation of
an improvised
explosive device,
in a light
unheard of in
the current run
of flicks on
the war. But
even the best
moments in
these segments
continually fall
flat due to
the cartoonish
nature of
nearly every

Jonathan Romney
"For all its
complexity, and
despite its
strong unknown
cast, the film
often feels
rather than
character, the
cynical, self-
of the two main
(Patrick Carroll,
Daniel Stewart
Sherman) isn't
entirely believable.
Or, I might have
thought so if
I hadn't seen
Errol Morris's
in which Lynndie
England, who
in the Abu
Ghraib atrocities,
chirps away about
having no regrets,
with all the
of a Jerry
Springer guest."

Anthony Quinn
"Time was when
De Palma's camera
would have nosed
in so close
you could almost
smell the blood;
in films like
Dressed to Kill
he sensed his
audience's weird
enchantment with
brutality, and
revelled in it.
That's not the
case here. The
rape is only
and the slaughter
of the girl's
family is only
heard, not seen.
De Palma, better
late than never,
seems to have
his own
and dramatises
the behaviour
of the two
racist soldiers
during and
after the event
with a kind
of dazed disgust.
It is really
quite something
to have a
renowned American
director basically
admit that the
US Army has
rapists and
murderers in
its tanks. Some
have taken the
film to task
for anti-
but De Palma
is surely only
redressing the
that wants to
believe America
is still the
good guy. And
his 'anti-American'
feeling amounts
only to this:
if you shove
fearful young
men into a
distant country
whose culture
and language
they have no
interest in
disaster is
bound to

Peter Bradshaw
"By the end
of its 90
minutes, the
china shop of
taste and
judgment is
pretty well
smashed to pieces
by this great
big bull of
a film...
The result is
often unforgettably
shocking and
bizarre, especially
when De Palma
insists on
producing a
succession of
images of
civilians horribly
butchered in the
course of the
war. An inter-
title announces
that these images
are real. Or
is this claim
just another
fiction? The eyes
of the people
involved are
blanked out,
in a way
that appears
to allude to
an earlier visual
conceit of
blanking out
passages in
army reports,
but the final
image of a
young woman is
not modified
in this way;
her eyes stare
directly at us,
and for a
moment she
does look very
like the teenage
girl featured
in the (fictional)
story. For an
awful few
seconds, the
effect really
is scary -
scary in a
way that the
most effective
thrillers or
horrors are

James Christopher
"The grassroots
cynicism about
the War on
Terror has
finally moved
Brian De Palma
to make the
most openly
hostile movie
of his career.
In fact this
is arguably the
first time the
stylist has
laid a finger
on the real
world. Redacted
is not just a
damning inside
account of loud
and bullish
an Iraqi town
in which they
have precisely
no interest,
apart from
leaving the
It is a
virtuoso piece
of experimental

Nigel Andrews
"Redacted seems
hijacked by
The film’s
was largely
De Palma
walked away
from the camera
on occasion,
Warhol-style, to
let it run as
it recorded
long hours at
sentry post or
checkpoint. The
may even feel a
kind of panic –
a helplessness –
when the night
of horror itself
comes. It is
recorded by
a participant
with a wobbly
camera in a
blur of
barbarism. Think
of Cloverfield,
then add realism,
and a sense
that we are
truly there.
The movie isn’t
accidental art-
work, of course:
De Palma
designed the
It is a crafted
with a payload
of passionate

Wally Hammond
"The bizarre,
bitter tone of
Redacted runs
closer to chaos
and self disgust.
The film is
terrible; possibly,
De Palma’s worst-
directed movie
ever, playing like
a ‘swede’ of
his own style,
indulging all
his movie-pack
penchants, from
sick, slacker
comedy to bad
amateur dramatics
to empty, nasty,
wham-bam horror
kinetics. But,
despite that,
it could well
prove his most
enduring; a
sign of its
insensate times,
speaking, which
offers an
if accidental,
vision of
and debasement.
War was ever
a Kubrick-ian
hell-ride, futile,
unheroic and
but now it’s
mocked by a
mad multimedia
innocent of
all real ethical,
moral and

Alastair McKay
"Redacted isn't
a war film.
It's a media
studies essay,
based on the
notion that –
as Salazer says –
'just because
you watch, doesn't
mean you're not
a part of it'.
And what are
we stuck with?
Brian De Palma's

Andrew Benbow
"De Palma's focus
on the media
and brilliant
use of its
forms to create
a panoramic
view of the
manages to
produce a strong
sense of the
action within the
war that we
think we know.
It allows the
film to tell
its story through
its images in
a stronger way
than Broomfield's

Steve Vineberg
"The film is
not simply making
a case against
Flake. It is
also showing how
Flake's training
determines his
reading of the
situation (a
local who refuses
to stop at
the checkpoint
is assumed to
be a terrorist)
as well as
him to the
of his actions.
Since Flake is
possibly a
sociopath, what
happens to him
in Iraq may
be a case of
a disturbed
man finding in
war a haven
for his own

Jeannette Catsoulis
"Unlike most
of the films
about Iraq,
Redacted portrays
a military that's
a catchall for
the uneducated
and unsocialized;
and while many
may find this
offensive, it's
perfectly in
line with the
lowering of
standards. In
the characters
of Specialist
Rush, a beefy
bully who sleeps
beneath a
flag, and the
Reno Flake,
the film
locates a
callous savagery
nurtured by
those who need
others to do
their killing
for them."

Kim Dot Dammit
"At first
I wondered
what I could
possibly say
about this movie
that slapped me
so hard and
left me so
shaken. How can
I possibly
sit here
and theorize
a film when
there is an
actual war
going on and
people are
dying? But the
more I thought
about the movie,
the more I
realized how
and important
it is."

Shawn Levy
"Redacted is
most unsettling
on this primal
level of visual
You don't know
what's coming next,
or where from,
or how to feel
about it or
how it will
affect you."


Jonathan Haynes:
"I think this
is the most
effective movie
he's made in,
oh, 30 years.
In the sense
that he really
-- that this
was a real
of the material
in images, plugging
back into the
Godardian mode,
which as you
[Dumas] point out
is really his
lifeblood. I'm
thinking of Notre
, which
begins with a
similar kind of
montage, a twenty-
minute montage of
war atrocity
footage in the
Histoire(s) style,
mixed up with
movie clips and
found footage
and things
like that."

Charles Mudede
"Because it
is so angry,
Redacted is the
first important
fictional film
on the subject
of America's
current and
of Iraq. Because
it is so angry,
the film crosses
the line into
Yes, Redacted
is out of control,
out of its mind.
But what other
emotional register
could adequately
express the
desperate state
of things in
Iraq—the hourly
crimes, the daily
murders of civilians,
the rising weekly
toll of American
deaths, the monstrous
monthly expense of
this endless hell
(over $8 billion)?
De Palma is mad
as hell! He is
not going to take
it anymore!"

Kyle Smith
"The chaotic
shifts of media
simulate what it's
been like to
follow this war.
Few movies have
gotten the clatter
of the Web
so right."

Rick Groen
"Love it, hate
it, but be sure
to watch it,
because this odd
and disturbing
picture is as
different as the
war it reflects,
and that difference
is vast enough
to seem profound."

Roger Ebert
"What is
different in this
film is the visual
style, which informs
us by its very
nature that after
the invention of
the cheap video
camera and the
Internet, few actions
can be assumed
to be secret.
De Palma uses
the method to
demonstrate how
good (or neutral)
soldiers can be
turned into
criminals or silent
accomplices by
a threat of
violence from
their comrades.
How if you
put men in a
hellhole and
arm them, and
if they are
predisposed to
violence, they
will not always
follow the rules,
or even remember
them. Redacted is
a metaphor for
what De Palma and
others believe is
the fatal flaw of
our Iraq strategy:
You cannot enforce
'freedom' at
The acting is
curious. Some of it
is convincing, and
some of the rest
is convincing in a
different way: It
convinces us that
non-actors know
they are being
filmed and are
acting and speaking
slightly differently
than they otherwise
would. That makes
some try to appear
nicer, and other try
to appear tougher
or more menacing.
That edge of
increases the
effect: Moments
seem more real
because they are
not acted flawlessly."

Christopher Orr
"De Palma seems
to think the
format releases
him from such
typical cinematic
obligations as
narrative continuity,
character development,
and aesthetic
vision. Almost every
scene in the
latter part of
the film is a
minidrama, an
episode intended
to express, as
bluntly as possible,
exactly one
ideological data
point: War turns
men into monsters;
the military brass
coddles offenders
and punishes
we all watch and
do nothing."

Mick LaSalle
"Redacted is
the angriest,
most vehemently
pacifist film ever
made by a major
American filmmaker
in a time of
war. It's a movie
devoid of any
about the troops
or the mission,
and it doesn't
even bother
pretending. If
a foreign
made it, it
would seem an
But coming from
the man who made
Carrie, Scarface,
The Untouchables
and Carlito's Way,
it has to go down
as one of the
bravest and most
of the decade."

A. O. Scott
"I think
[De Palma] may
have misdiagnosed
the condition of
the audience, which
is not lack of
information about
Iraq but rather a
pervasive moral
and political
paralysis. The
information is
out there —
confusing and
painful, yes, but
available for
discussion and

Tasha Robinson
"Less anger and
more subtlety
might have made
Redacted more
Jonathon Cliff
does wonders with
the film's footage,
which looks exactly
like it came from
the intended
of sources.
The constantly
changing visuals
are a gimmicky
distraction, but
a welcome one,
given the raw
subject matter."

Tom Toro
"Whatever missteps
in direction he
has taken do not
indicate a
flagging talent
but instead
reveal that, in
this warp speed
wireless world,
the direction
has yet to be
defined. If we
don't fully
-- in other
words, if it's a
difficult film
for us to read
-- then that's
because the
narrative language
remains incomplete.
But by risking
a new filmmaking
vocabulary, De Palma
has begun to
create the cinetax."

Steven Rea
"For anyone who
saw The War Tapes
- and there weren't
many because that's
the problem dogging
almost every film
about the Iraq
conflict - Redacted
is going to seem
even more of
a cheat than
it is."

David Lamble
"See Redacted
for the story
of the platoon,
especially for
two brilliantly
written and acted
characters: Ty
Jones as Master
Sergeant Sweet, and
the audacious,
Patrick Carroll as
the aptly named
PFC Reno Flake.
With De Palma-
penned dialogue
that smacks of
David Rabe's
classic GI
Streamers, Ty
Jones marches
through his scenes
like an African
American Patton,
taking no
prisoners, and
oblivious to whom
he offends. Patrick
Carroll gives this
year's most audacious
queer-feeling turn
as a stray-cat
guttersnipe from
the Far West who
nestles in the
platoon like a
grenade whose
pin is slowly

Scott Tavener
"Controversially –
and refreshingly
contrary to nearly-
universal practice -
Redacted refuses
to canonize soldiers.
Amidst the moral
squalor of its
characters, no
pillars emerge.
Even the best of
the fractured crew
struggle with
uncertainty and
never gain
redemption. Still,
De Palma isn’t
soldiers; he’s
reproaching a
specific few and,
more importantly,
the indifferent
masses that turn
a blind eye."

Andrew Sarris
"Redacted is
unlike Casualties
also in its
complete lack of
linear narrative.
Indeed, some of
the interruptions
in Redacted are
more compelling
and pertinent
than the main

Kelly Vance
"Ugly as it
is, the story
exerts a strange
power that goes
beyond simple

Al Alexander
"It creates a
real sense of
fear and unease,
but De Palma
undermines it
with melodrama
and theatrics
that begin to
feel like piling
on. The crime
is bad enough,
yet he rubs
your face in
it, making you
watch for what
seems like hours
as Flake and
Rush take turns
raping a
terrified 15-
year-old girl
while exchanging
vile, racist
dialogue. Is
this his idea
of entertainment,
or worse, social
commentary? If
so, it fails
miserably, and it
ends up making
you despise the
messenger more
than the message."

Cindy Fuchs
"Redacted is
hampered by
awkward acting
and obvious point-
making. Still, the
final sequence
of photos of
actual bodies
is stunning."

Andy Klein
"De Palma is
careful to show
a range of
soldiers. The two
ringleaders of
the evil escapade
are portrayed
as near-moronic
moral defectives,
which (by definition)
they would almost
have to be.
But he also
tries to show
how the overall
situation of
the occupation
inevitably leads
to the indefensible
killing of
civilians and
to murderous
culture clashes."

Mark Jenkins
"Redacted means
to be raw and
galvanizing, but
its multiformat
artifice is
For all its
cleverness, the
movie is as easy
to discount as
all those TV-news
reports that have
yet to arouse
Americans to stop
the Iraq War."

Chau Tu
"It's the truth,
yes. But it's an
old and well-known
truth. De Palma
portrays it in
a thought-out
method, but it
won't change

Armond White
"The film’s most
soldier, Pvt. McCoy
(Rob Devaney),
is also the
weakest. He cries:
'I have these
snapshots in my
brain that are
burned in there
forever and I
don’t know what
I’m gonna do
about it.' McCoy
expresses De Palma’s
about regarding
the pain of
others (pace Susan
Sontag). He falls
back on movie-
brat reflexes:
Godard’s verbal
graphics, Welles’
dual focal-lengths,
Lang’s paranoia,
But these tropes
keep the war at
a remove.
De Palma
fails to let
movie lore
become surreal
and take
viewers into
a clarifying
moral dream
state like
Femme Fatale."

J. Hoberman
"Redacted has
been variously
attacked as
arty, cartoonish,
and even overly
familiar. One
might similarly
Fernando Botero's
Abu Ghraib
earlier this
year, Philip
Haas's noir
analysis The
dismissed in
comparable terms.
But whatever
their temperaments,
Botero, Haas, and
De Palma are
other than
wasn't made
to change your
mind, but to
De Palma's."

David Edelstein
"In content it
bears a strong
resemblance to
De Palma’s
Casualties of
, but in
form it’s a
furious charcoal

David Denby
"Redacted is
hell to sit
through, but I
think De Palma is
bravely trying
to imagine his
way inside an
atrocity, and
that he’s onto
with his
The French
frames the events
impassively, as
timeless tragedies
of war. The
diarist, in his
amiable desire
to become a
filmmaker, doesn’t
realize at first
that thrusting a
camera between
himself and a
murder cannot
absolve him of
complicity in
the crime. Finally,
the terrorist video
is itself an
act of violence.
In other words, the
material moves
from observation
to complicity to
The movie

Edward Douglas
"an interesting
though sometimes
exercise from
the veteran
director that
(as usual)
goes just that
little bit
too far."

Ryan Gilbey
"The level of
invention is
so impressive
in Redacted,
and its rebuttal
of Hollywood's
narrative model so
that it pains
me to say
the film is
rarely convincing."

Martyn Bamber
"There are
certain edits
here that don't
signal that we've
transitioned from
one source of
media to the
next, which
adds to the
sense of

Nick James
"Such amateur
means give the
film a gruelling
intimacy as we
watch the psyche
of these hyped-
up young men
towards barbarism.
Some of the
are pretty amateur
too, but none
of that
diminishes the
film's emotional
power; rarely
have I seen
an audience
so silent and
groggy after
a screening."

George Packer
"So Redacted
doesn’t merely offer
a frisson of
Godardian self-
this is irony with
a revolutionary
point, a return
to De Palma’s
origins in the
New Left cinema
of the late
sixties. And what
is the point?
That we’re all
the same, Zarqawi,
Lynndie England,
the rapists in
Mahmudiyah, CNN,
Ashley Gilbertson,
the readers of
the Times, yours
all accomplices
in the great
act of violation
that is the
Iraq war. The
distinction between
perpetrator and
witness, crime and
its documentation,
has been
Redacted is an
act of voyeurism
that becomes a
part of the
thing that it
claims to denounce.
If the pictures
from Abu Ghraib
and Zarqawi’s
homemade videos
are war porn,
Redacted is film-
theory porn—a
stylized snuff
film inside a
meta-critique of
the media. It’s
bound to
manufacture the
kind of controversy
that other bad
movies with obvious
Passion of the
have stirred up.
And I predict
that it will
win a cult
following among
certain war
opponents and
art-film buffs."

"Redacted is a
very difficult
watch... parts
of it work
well, and parts
of it don't...
there are images
from it that
remain long
after the credits
have rolled."

Swan Archives
scream of
protest is
against the
death of
in the United

The Economist
"It is a
Chinese box
of a movie.
Will it have
the power to
shock and
disturb audiences
when it is
released next
month? Perhaps
it will. In
its subtle way
it manages to
slip in a few
ancient truths
about the evils
of war."

Daniel Kasman
"De Palma, in
the extremity
of his almost
is asking his
viewers to
distrust nearly
every aspect
of his film,
and, through it,
all the media
formats it
implicates and
the stories and
events it
falsely tries
to represent.
This distrust is
not just about
or redaction,
but also the
complicity of
viewers that is
so much a part
of the discourse
of cinema."

A.O. Scott
"the fury and
shame it
expresses —
and tries to
provoke —
in the course
of examining a
fictitious, Haditha-
like atrocity
committed by
American soldiers
in Iraq are
very much the
feelings of an
appalled citizen."

Winslow Leach

"The main
problem is
that it never
gives us a
reason to
suspend our

Tal @ AICN
"Redacted marries
theme, narrative
and style so
perfectly that
they enrich
each other...
[De Palma] has
re-invented the
war movie for
the 21st Century."

Alison Willmore
"We'll give
Redacted this —
it's been ages
since we've felt
as riled up
over a film
as we did
out of this

Emanuel Levy
"De Palma has
always been a
reflexive and
director, and
so in Redacted,
he deliberately
calls attention
to the very
process of
which creates
further distance
between the
viewers and the
horrific incidents
illustrated on
screen. That said,
Redacted is a
movie of some
powerfully raw
moments, if not
whole scenes."


"It’s also
probably the
closest a major
Hollywood director
will ever come
to Brecht...
cite hammy
acting, flippant
devices, and
an overall
complete lack
of realism in
dealing with an
problem, but
that’s all part
of the point
that everything
is staged, and
not once is
De Palma
enough to show
any event from
his own point
of view...
Iraq is like,
De Palma’s
nailed the
crudities of
American amateur
technology in
what seems an
implicit reaction
to 'docudramas'
like United 93
and The Road
to Guantanamo

that want to
make you feel
like you’re
'there,' which
for De Palma,
is safe inside
a studio."

Jurgen Fauth
"Whether blunt
or sharp, the
film's impact is
impossible to
dismiss. Even
though I
thought I was
handling the
on screen well
(usually by
leaning over
to scribble
something in
my notebook),
I found myself
unable to get
up once the
final credits
started to roll;
it had become
impossible to
move. Redacted
sent me
the infuriating
familiarity of
Redacted is
exactly what
gives it its
power: of course
we know that
war is hell,
that it makes
monsters of
people, that
innocents suffer
and die in
ways and numbers
beyond our
comprehension --
and yet, we
still allow it
to happen, again
and again."

Steve Persall
"I could take
only 45 minutes:
De Palma's
exploitive account
of crazed U.S.
soldiers raping
an Iraqi
teenager and
murdering her
family chased
me from the
theater at the
halfway mark."

David Edelstein
"How should we
feel about the
images of death
that close Redacted?
On one level,
they don’t belong
in an otherwise
depiction. On
another, if we
saw that footage
(and more like
it) on our
nightly news
programs, we
might, as a
nation, be
stirred from
our moral lethargy.
I can’t blame the
incensed De Palma
for using every
weapon at his
disposal to
break through.
He makes me
proud to be an

Adam N.
"As for the
acting, the
question of
the characters'
is one that I
wish more critics
would consider;
the performances
change in the
scenes where
the characters
are unaware
they're being
observed, and
these shifts
are consistent."

Keith Uhlich
"From its
opening image
(wherein a
'Based on actual
events' crawl is
slowly blacked
out to reveal
the film’s title),
Redacted revels in
a mixed, often
muddled sense of
humor and horror."

Michael Guillen
"I find Brian
De Palma's latest
film Redacted
lurid, loud and
it does come
down to editing,
doesn't it, as
a mechanism of
social control?
That's what De Palma
appears to be
evident by the
film's title and
opening credits...
The film's final
image is what has
been hovering in
the prurient
imagination of
its audience
throughout the
film: the charred,
raped body of
the young girl
shot pointblank
in her face.
Though admittedly
a shocking
atrocity, I
suspect De Palma
enjoyed bringing
it to us a
little too much
just as we
enjoyed watching
it a little too
much, comparable
to the grisly
murders in some
of De Palma's other
crime thrillers,
not the least
being the slashed
mouth of the
Black Dahlia."

Mike White
"The toughest
bit of the
film to swallow
is the dénouement.
At the outset
we're informed
that everything
in the film
is fictional.
The tacked-on
finale is
comprised of
swelling musical
over a montage
of horrific images
of Iraqi civilian
casualties. This
finale feels like
a last ditch
effort to give
weight and
social importance
that the rest
of the film had
been lacking."

Owen Gleiberman
"The whole tone
of the movie
is woefully,
almost cringingly
The soldiers
sound like Off
Off Broadway
actors, hamming
up the badass
bluster Broomfield
captures with
far greater

Courtney Martin
"This film gets
the 'my soul was
obliterated' award
of the whole
festival... On
a gender-related
note, I thought
the way that
De Palma dealt
with masculinity
was—if not
definitely important
for all of us
to think about.
The links between
war, masculinity,
power, and sex
are blindingly
clear and too
often overlooked."

Variety reviews
Battle For

"[Redacted's] use
of vid-generated
media is formally
more daring,
while Broomfield's
is a straight
drama, lensed
with docu-like
Perhaps the
starkest difference
between Battle and
Redacted is the
depiction of
Marine atrocities;
De Palma's outlaw
soldiers engage
in rape, pillage
and murder, but
the rapid, cold
and ferocious
onslaught of
Broomfield's enraged
platoon is
considerably more
shocking and
brutal. Suggestion
here is that the
massacre was done
with the Marines'
unique level of
and it's surely
pic's single most
unsettling idea."

"Brian De Palma
did an excellent
job making the
movie seem real.
You’ll find yourself
faced with the
atrocities of
the Iraq war as
the movie depicts
the reality of
the struggles and
frustrations that
our soldiers face
while in Iraq."

Daniel Kurland
"There's an image
at the end of
the movie of an
actual murder that
creates one of the
most disturbing
and meaningful
endings I've seen
to a movie in
a while."

Jim Emerson
"It's self-consciously
a take on the
platoon movie (with
Kubrick references
from Paths of Glory
to Barry Lyndon
to Full Metal

Scott Foundas
"Redacted can
withstand the
criticism and
then some: In
a sea of dramas,
docudramas and
all trying to
make some sense
out of our
Middle East
adventure, it
is the only one
I would rank
alongside Charles
Ferguson's No End
in Sight
in the
category of
essential viewing."

Geoff Pevere
"Battle for Haditha
packs far more
punch than Redacted
for being far less

Tom Charity
"Battle For Haditha
is a less
but stingingly
to Redacted."

Peter Howell
"the film that
affected me most
deeply at the fest."

Christopher Kelly
"Of all the films
I saw at the
festival --
including ones
about abortion,
pedophilia, serial
killers and
even teenage
hermaphrodites --
this was the one
that made viewers
most obviously

Joan Dupont
"De Palma's spookiest
movie of all."

Eric Harrison
"The movie feels
undigested. De Palma
should've sat on
this idea for a
while before
committing it
to videotape."

Ryan Stewart

"Some people at my
screening nearly
screamed at
those images"

Peter Rainer
"an uneasy and
sometimes effective
blend of docudrama
and high theatrics"

Jen Yamato
"Redacted is likely
to split critics
(one journalist warned
me off, calling it
straight-up 'bad,'
while a smattering
of applause erupted
at the end of
my screening)."

Jim Ridley
"Redacted is
probably the
ballsiest American
movie I've seen
all year...
I can't think of
any movie so far
about the war that
so holds soldiers
accountable for
their actions rather
than shifting the
blame to higher-ups.
Press reaction was
furiously divided,
with one screening
drawing disastrous
and a later one
bringing a
reported ovation."

Russ Fischer
"[De Palma's] shooting
in HD, but doesn't
degrade or affect his
footage enough so
that it conforms to
what we're told it
is. So the YouTube
and webcam clips
look far too glossy,
and several scenes
caught by a
surveillance camera
appear wholly
stagebound, implying
that Redacted is
deliberately removed
from reality. I'm
moved and frightened
by the execution of
a soldier on an
Islamic website, but
also set off by
how shiny it looked."

Scott Brown
The ten minutes
I saw were
Then I had
to go."

Audrey Hendrickson
"Yes the different
viewpoints meld to
create the big
picture, but really,
whatever larger point
DePalma's trying to
make is lost amidst
all the casualties
of war."

Adam Nayman
"The visual textures
(which approximate
handheld DV imagery,
streaming web video
and surveillance
footage) are
credible, as are
the performances
by the almost entirely
unknown cast. The film
has already divided
viewers along political
lines, but it’s
provocative in a
way that transcends
notions of left
and right."

Chris Schobert
"I still find
myself pondering
a day later."

Scott Tobias
"The HD-video style
is flat and the
drama as stridently
performed as a
high-school play."

Jason Gargano
"De Palma's attempt
to say something
meaningful about the
Iraq War is
ultimately undermined
by the real-life
war photos he
tacks on as a
postscript, a
decision that only
illuminates the
shortcomings of
what precedes them."

Stephen Whitty
"In Redacted,
style is simply
there to serve the
substance of the
story. And content is
all... Some scenes
look like home movies.
Others appear clipped
from news shows,
documentaries or
propaganda videos.
Still more seem to
be online videos, or
webcam messages. Taken
together, they make the
film seem startlingly
real. And helped along
by an unknown cast
of actors, and some on-
location shooting in
Jordan, they make it
almost unbearable to
watch -- and yet,
at the same time,
the most essential
work the Newark-born
director has made
in many years."

Stephanie Zacharek
"De Palma's anger at
and frustration with
the media buzz
through Redacted
like an electrical
current. The movie
is a challenge,
a confrontation;
it's rough and
In Redacted, events
unfold in ways that are
sometimes confusing,
contradictory, not
immediately readable;
the movie's structure
alone is a metaphor
for the struggle to
make sense out
of chaos."

Noel Murray
"The tricky thing about
Redacted is that a
lot of what’s wrong
with it is, I’m
convinced, intentional."

Glenn Kenny
"Funny thing about this
movie, though; its
weaknesses should be
fatal, but they're not.
The version of Redacted
that plays back in
one's head resonates
more than the movie
that actually screened
has any right to.
Good God—could
this be the result
of some brilliant
contrivance of
De Palma's that I'm
just not getting? Maybe.
Or maybe it's just
the subject matter."

Ben Kenigsberg
"The movie is too
interesting to
dismiss but too
muddled to take

Nigel Andrews
"Crafted not just for
a new conflict but
also for a new age
of multiform,
open-access image
technology, this
is a brilliant film
with a passionate
payload of
political conviction."

Jim Hemphill
"The movie ends up
being an implicit
critique of the Bush
shaping of reality,
but De Palma doesn't
let himself or his
audience off the
hook either—his
movie argues the opposite
of Godard's dictum that
cinema is truth 24 times
a second. For De Palma,
video (he shot the
entire movie on hi-def)
and the Internet are
sources of information
that make it very,
very easy to lie and
be lied to—and by
the end of his
unnerving, provocative
film, it is up to the
viewer to make sense of
both Redacted and
the war it depicts."


"Salazar, the
fictional documentary
filmmaker through
whose camera we see
the daily life of
the soldiers, is like
the John Locke in
Antonioni's The
whose death shows
the futility of
filmmaking that
is content with
observing reality.
De Palma, who has
questioned the
relationship of
film to reality in
films like Blow Out
-- based on
Antonioni's Blowup
-- and Snake Eyes, is
making a strong
artistic statement
against the US media
and the limitations
of visual

Peter Bradshaw
"Some thought
the film was
I found its
crudity and
rawness powerful."

Michael Althen
"Redacted is cinema’s
most radical answer
to Abu Ghraib,
because it
reproaches a
mirror to the
fascination of
those pictures
in a way that
none but De Palma
would dare."

Emmanuel Burdeau
"What is incredible
is that De Palma
has created fiction
in REDACTED, where
others, or even
he previously,
would have made
a documentary."

Richard Corliss
"It's a


"De Palma's filmmaking
skills have seldom
been as razor

"Deeply felt but

Chris Willman
"On a formal
level, Redacted
is fascinating"

Aint It Cool
"By far, the
most upsetting
film I have
seen since
Schindler's List."

Mark Salisbury
"the problem with
Redacted is that
most of it...
looks fake"

Jason Solomons
"The film isn't
well acted and
relies on

Screen Daily
"a careful,
generally well-
of a vile

Final montage "left
the audience at a
Venice press screening
stunned, silent and
in a few cases

Nathan Lee
says Romero's film
has more bite

Jared Mobarak
"It is a film
that should be
watched for the
ingenuity of the
digital film media
and the power it
exudes. However, I do
not agree with the
anti-war sentiment
it tries to push."

Russ Fischer
"The HD sheen
definitely hurt
the movie's

Lou Lumenick

Dave Calhoun
"well-meaning but

David Ansen
"employs various
techniques to
powerful, if
sometimes badly
acted, effect."

and the

Glenn Kenny,
with The Fury

Eli Roth

Bill O'Reilly


Look Back
In Anger


American Thinker
Sept 17 2007


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"Like Brian De Palma,
Osama Bin Laden
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released a
new movie..."

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Robert Stein on
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Posted August 31 2008
The New York Post's V.A. Musetto finally received a confirmation Sunday morning from the festival press office that Brian De Palma would not be coming to the Montreal World Film Festival to conduct a master class after all. "The reason," writes Musetto, "according to the festival: 'Crazy dental surgery.'" Meanwhile, John Griffin posted yesterday at the Montreal Gazette Ciné Files blog that De Palma's master class "was one of the biggest draws of the line-up" at this year's festival. "But neither date nor venue were ever confirmed," writes Griffin, "and despite various rumours - work, illness - his no-show remains a mystery." Griffin hoped to find out more at a Saturday dinner with the fest's publicity corps.

Posted August 30 2008

In a blog entry posted this afternoon, New York Post critic V.A. Musetto says that he is still waiting for Brian De Palma to show up at the Montreal World Film Festival, and is beginning to doubt that De Palma will even show up at all (the festival continues through Labor Day Monday). Although Musetto writes that no site has been named for De Palma's master class, the usually reliable Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette has stated that the master class will take place at the Imperial Cinema.

Meanwhile, Isabelle Huppert (pictured above by Sylvain Legaré, courtesy of the Montreal World Film Festival) arrived in Montreal earlier this week, where on Thursday she received a special award for her exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art. Huppert interviewed De Palma in 1994 for Cahiers du Cinéma.

Posted August 29 2008
New York Post critic V.A. Musetto blogged yesterday that Brian De Palma was to arrive later that day at the Montreal World Film Festival, where the director will give a master class this weekend (so much for Danielle Cauchard's previous statement that De Palma would be in attendance for the entire festival-- De Palma must have had a slight change of plans). In any case, Musetto states that the press office at the fest "has been deluged with calls" about De Palma, but that if all goes well, the critic will have a chance to sit down with the director.

According to Musetto, Tony Curtis had already left before De Palma arrived, which is a bit of a shame, because De Palma may have been able to correct a bit of misinformation regarding De Palma's upcoming project, The Boston Stranglers. Last month, Curtis was interviewed by Neal Justin at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Justin aksed Curtis whether the films he made in the past could be done today. Curtis replied, "I did a movie called The Boston Strangler. Brian De Palma is going to do a remake. What's he going to do? He's probably going to show the strangling. He's going to show these women being torn apart. He's going to show that in his own poetic way." Well, actually, De Palma is not remaking that film, but he is making a film based on a book by Susan Kelly, whose The Boston Stranglers purports to correct the conclusions depicted in the Curtis film (itself based on a book by Gerold Frank). In fact, Kelly's book discusses the Curtis film (directed by Richard Fleischer), which seems likely to be a part of De Palma's story.

Posted August 25 2008
While there is still no official word on the exact time of Brian De Palma's master class, the Montreal World Film Festival will screen De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible Tuesday night as part of its "Cinema Under The Stars" program. We'll keep an eye out for any other news...

Posted August 22 2008
Since it's a hot weekend to get out and meet people who have worked on various Brian De Palma films, it can't hurt to add one more. John Farris, who adapted the screenplay of his own novel The Fury for De Palma's 1978 film, will sign copies of his new book Avenging Fury tomorrow (Saturday, August 23rd) at the Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur, Georgia, from 12:30pm to 2pm. The new book is the fourth and final volume in the Fury cycle (officially dubbed the "Fury and the Terror" series). Farris will also sign 50 copies of the book for those who cannot attend the signing-- if you would like one of those signed copies, you need to e-mail the store's owner, Doug Robinson (, as soon as possible. After collaborating on The Fury in 1978, De Palma recruited Farris to help him adapt Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man as a followup project. While the latter was never made, it remains De Palma's dream project to this day.

Posted August 22 2008
If you're in the Philadelphia area this weekend, you can meet Nancy Allen at the 11th Monster-Mania Con, which runs today through Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Allen, who was once married to Brian De Palma appeared in four of De Palma's films: Carrie, Home Movies, Dressed To Kill, and Blow Out.

According to Rene Rodriguez at the Miami Herald, Angel Salazar will join the previously announced Steven Bauer at the Gusman Center 25th anniversary screening of Scarface tonight. Salazar, who played Chi Chi in Scarface, also appeared in De Palma's Carlito's Way. Aside from playing Tony Montana's sidekick in Scarface, Bauer has also appeared in De Palma's Body Double and Raising Cain.

Rodriguez' column today asks, "Where were you on Dec. 9, 1983?" Rodriguez continues:

I was a teenager at the Miracle Twin Theater on Miracle Mile, eluding aggressive ushers rigorously checking IDs and sneaking into the first afternoon screening of Brian De Palma's controversial, R-rated Scarface. Yes, it was a school day. But so much had been written about the film before its release, there was no way I could wait until Saturday or even later that day. Scarface had to be seen immediately.

Read the rest at the Miami Herald. (By the way, there is no longer any mention that Brett Ratner, who snuck onto the Scarface set as a kid and wound up as an extra in the background, will be in attendance at tonight's screening.)

Posted August 16 2008
In an essay for the Los Angeles Times this weekend, Peter Rainer asks, "What is going on in the zeitgeist when an African American is poised to become president and Robert Downey Jr. is in blackface?" Linking Downey's performance in the current Tropic Thunder to a more sophisticated version of free-form sketch comedy routines, Rainer proceeds to discuss a cultural history of blackface and whiteface minstrelsy where he suggests that the "Be Black, Baby" sequence in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! helped to set a vaudvillean racial template that would morph into blaxploitation and rap music. Discussing Downey's riffs on race in the film, Rainer states that they "have an even earlier pedigree"...

Downey's father, Robert Downey Sr., directed 1969's funky, acidulous Putney Swope, about a Black Power takeover of a lily-white Madison Avenue ad agency. A year later, in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom!, black militants stage an off-off-Broadway show called "Be Black Baby," during which, in white face, they force their white patrons to wear blackface and then proceed to terrorize them so they can better "understand" the black experience. The comic kicker comes at the end. Says one brutalized white guy, admiringly, about the evening: "It really makes you stop and think."

These underground movies, mostly forgotten now, nevertheless set the template for the scabrous racial vaudeville that morphed into the blaxploitation cycle right on up through rap. For white audiences, especially guilty liberals, the message in these movies was explicit: "We really are your worst nightmare."

HISTORICALLY, white actors in blackface incarnated the cruelest of racial caricatures. (Even when Fred Astaire in Swing Time wore blackface in tribute to Bill Robinson, it was implicit that Bojangles could never star in such a film.) But one cannot talk about blackfaced white performers without at the same time summoning up the camouflages worn by black actors -- worn, in many cases, to have any career at all. Throughout all too much of Hollywood's sorry history, particularly pre- Sidney Poitier, black performers, with no decent roles available to them, wore minstrel masks too. They acted out the demeaning images whites set for them (and still, like Robinson himself, they frequently managed to be more electric than their often starched-white counterparts). By the time the '60s counterculture came along, attitudes had shifted. Black minstrelsy became a put-on -- a weapon. Be black, baby.

Posted August 8 2008
Steven Bauer, who co-starred with Al Pacino in Brian De Palma's Scarface, will attend a 25th anniversary screening of that film on Friday, August 22nd at the Gusman Center's Olympia Theater. Bauer will participate in an audience Q&A following the 8pm screening. According to Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald, Brett Ratner, who was inspired to be a film director when he snuck onto the Scarface set as a child and observed De Palma at work, will also attend the screening.

Posted August 5 2008
Aspiring filmmakers are sure to learn some valuable lessons in making movies when Brian De Palma presents a cinema master class at this year's Montreal World Film Festival. The news was announced at a press conference this morning, in which the festival's slate of competition and non-competition films was also laid out. According to CJAD's Shuyee Lee, the festival's general director Danielle Cauchard said that there was no specific date set yet for De Palma's master class. "The date is not fixed yet," said Cauchard. "I tell you why, because he's staying for the whole festival." It is no surprise that De Palma will be around for the entire festival, which runs from August 21 through September 1. De Palma has long been known to attend the big autumn Canadian film festivals, especially the Toronto International Film Festival, where for two years in a row (in 2005 and 2006) he served as a mentor for that fest's Talent Lab, where emerging Canadian talents learn and practice filmmaking techniques from international masters of cinema. According to Brendan Kelly at the Montreal Gazette, De Palma's master class will take place at the Imperial Cinema.

Posted July 25 2008

The August issue of the U.K. magazine The Word includes an interview with Brian De Palma by New York-based arts writer Tom Teodorczuk. The interview, published to coincide with the DVD release of De Palma's Redacted in the U.K., was conducted prior to the announcement last month that De Palma had signed on to direct The Boston Stranglers. The headline reads: "His Iraq movie was 'blatantly dumped', spits Brian De Palma. So now he's making another one."

In the interview, De Palma discusses his reasons for making Redacted:

With the Iraq war, we have destroyed a country. What the hell are we doing there? We've got over two million refugees wandering around in Syria and Oman and it's like, "Oops! Sorry!" The catastrophe we've caused in the world in the last eight years - talk about a loose cannon. The rest of the world must be going, "What are they going to do next?" I think we've overextended. Look at the British empire 100 years ago and how that ended up. There's something wrong with this picture. Should we be making money from oil, defense contractors and creating a tabloid version of the war?

De Palma also discussed with Teodorczuk the public reaction to Redacted:

People react to the steam. You're always amazed when people don't look at what is on the screen, but I've noticed that a lot of times in my career. Instead they react to some political view or some notion of political correctness. This is another example of that. With Scarface, 20 per cent of the audience walked out when it was released. Some of the most commercial artists make a tremendous amount of money, everybody loves them and then when they die everybody forgets about them. Some of the most uncommercial artists, everybody's ranting and raving about them during their lifetime and yet often they make the movies that stick. You've got to take shots in your career.

Discussing the public indifference to films about the Iraq war, De Palma said that people "just don't want to know about Iraq or feel conflicted about what we're doing there." Saying he's "never had a movie that was so blatantly dumped" in all his life, De Palma concluded that "They can't all be hits. Most of them aren't, and if you're making hits all the time, something may be very wrong with what you're doing."

When Teodorczuk asked him what his next film will be, De Palma stated that he was working on another script about Iraq (which we know is currently titled Print The Legend-- Teodorczuk writes that this interview took place "on a bitterly cold morning in downtown Manhattan," which indicates that it was probably in the winter while De Palma was still in the process of formulating ideas for this new film). De Palma described the project:

It has more to do with the embedded reporter stories and how the information is spun and influenced in a way that's completely the opposite of what is actually going on. In terms of how it has been reported, the war is completely spun homogenised propaganda and I feel that the press is just an arm of the administration and the big corporations that are profiting from this war. It will also feature some women soldiers. It's about what they do to people who tell the truth about the war and how they get discredited and destroyed. Like with the Valerie Plame affair. Joe Wilson said he went over there and they weren't buying yellowcake and yet that kept appearing in Bush's speeches the whole time. Then he goes to the New York Times and they destroy him.

De Palma also mentioned to Teodorczuk that he would like to film William Boyd's The Blue Afternoon. "It would make a fantastic movie," De Palma said. "It's a book I've loved for years."

In his ever iconoclastic manner, De Palma discussed his anti-establishment view of politics when Teodorczuk asked him his take on the upcoming U.S. Presidential election:

Bush has got us into a tremendous amount of trouble but it doesn't really matter who the next President is. I'm not part of the liberal establishment that has a political agenda. I don't think the liberal establishment wants to take responsibility for this war. They blame it on Bush but they were complicit in prosecuting it. Do I have strong political views? You bet. I think the best way to express them is in your work and then get the hell off the stage. Then again, you don't make movies like Mission: Impossible because you have strong political statements to say about the CIA.

When asked by Teodorczuk if he'll ever make another blockbuster, De Palma discussed his ambivalence at working on genre pictures:

I don't know. I'm really at an age where I don't think I have to prove anything to anybody anymore, least of all myself. It's like, "Do you really want to go through all that?" Worse than being dead is being hot. But if you want to continue making movies, you have to make genre pictures every once in a while that make people a lot of money. Since I can get very interested in the visualization of action, I can work in those genres like with The Untouchables or Mission: Impossible. I do it every once in a while. Everybody says, "Oh, you're back", but it's not where my heart lies.

Posted July 22 2008
Artie Traum, who as a member of the trio Children Of Paradise wrote and recorded songs and music for Brian De Palma's Greetings in 1968, died Sunday at his home in Bearsville, New York, following a battle with cancer. He was 65. World Music Central's T. J. Nelson has posted an obituary, which makes mention of the fact that Traum was also "an enthusiastic documentary filmmaker." Another obit by Jeremiah Horrigan at the Times Herald-Record describes Traum as a vital musician "at the down-home, finger-pickin' center of Woodstock's musical family." The music in Greetings is terrific, and really marks the film as a sixties artifact with its Byrds/Monkees-like theme song, and instrumental passages that highlight a freewheeling, anything goes attitude. I especially love the crazy paranoid plucking that percolates the scene where Lloyd meets the conspiracy nut in the bookstore. Great stuff.

Posted July 20 2008
Michael Guillen has riffed off a nice summary of the links between The Man Who Laughs, The Dark Knight, and The Black Dahlia in a two-part piece stemming from a recent screening of The Man Who Laughs at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. In part one, Guillen describes in well-researched summary how Conrad Veidt's Gwynplaine inspired the creation of the Joker. Then, in part two, Guillen explores the themes that link The Man Who Laughs with The Black Dahlia and The Dark Knight. Discussing the "problematic erotic triangulation" between Lee, Bucky, and Kay in The Black Dahlia, Guillen writes:

That triangulation is articulated through a scene in De Palma's film where Lee, Bucky and Kay—in what Village Voice critic J. Hoberman terms "an unlikely date"—catch a screening of Leni's The Man Who Laughs. In a September 2006 interview with Daily Breeze reporter Jim Farber, Brian De Palma stated, "If this film works, it's because I stayed scrupulously on the Ellroy road. I didn't try to change things. What I did do was try to find visual equivalents for some of the things he's doing in the book, like introducing a scene from the German Expressionist silent film The Man Who Laughs, rather than having somebody have to explain what that key image is all about. I tried to keep very much to Ellroy's story structure and the way he explains things, which sometimes explains nothing." Expressionistic dualism, anyone? De Palma's strategy in this scene is to observe how The Man Who Laughs reveals the varied interiority of his three main characters. As Armond White delineates for Cineaste, "Bucky is transfixed, Lee is bemused and Kay is frightened—reflecting their individual response to life's horrors." (Cineaste, 12/22/06). Hoberman qualifies Kay's "agonized response to [Gwynplaine]'s scarred face" by reminding that the audience soon discovers she herself has been branded.

By the way, we can add Keith Uhlich to the list of Dark Knight critics getting tons of hate mail for disliking the film. Uhlich does, however, make a De Palma reference in his review of the film at The House Next Door. Uhlich makes a quick comparison between the nightmare at the end of De Palma's Dressed To Kill, where Bobbi kills a nurse and then dons her uniform to escape a mental institution, and the Dark Knight sight of Heath Ledger's Joker moving through a hospital wearing a nurse's uniform.

Sure, we've seen plenty of critics compare The Dark Knight to De Palma's The Untouchables, but somehow we missed Dave Poland's early review of Nolan's film, where he stated that Nolan here is reaching for "a Godfather-esque effort" that nevertheless shoots itself in the foot by being too long, and yet not long enough. Poland writes:

This is not a Batman movie… this is a 2008 version of The Untouchables with The Batman as Elliot Ness, The Joker as Al Capone, much better toys, and, it seems, a topper. Great. But the topper is a bit unwieldy, in that it makes the film too long to sustain by pushing beyond the main story – De Palma and Mamet’s The Untouchables was 119 minutes – and too short to do the second push of Nolan’s thematic idea real justice at 152 minutes. Unlike many long films, the problem with The Dark Knight is that it is too short.

Posted July 18 2008

Posted July 17 2008
Some early raves have cited The Dark Knight as the film that lifts director Christopher Nolan into the big leagues of the crime film genre. Writing at, Staci Layne Wilson began her review with what she confesses is extra "sizzle" designed to draw readers in:

Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Michael Mann's Heat. Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. And now, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight can join the list of one of the most absorbing and intense crime dramas in modern movie milestones.

Scott Mantz at Access Hollywood wrote that "The existential, psychological, intelligent approach of The Dark Knight makes it less of a superhero movie and more of an epic crime drama that puts Nolan in the same league as Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann." Sounds like if crime movies are your thing, these are the directors to look out for.

But while some critics this week have been less enthusiastic (with most of the latter citing a lack of spatial clarity and quick-cut editing as part of the film's problems), Armond White has set himself apart as the man who refuses to laugh in the face of this somber Batman. White's review of The Dark Knight in this week's New York Press, which is generating hate posts at Rotten Tomatoes (and inevitably soon-to-be-published hate mail at the New York Press itself), sees the film as a cold commercial enterprise that corrupts "ideas of escapist entertainment." White compares and contrasts Nolan's film with Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, but he also finds muse to link and compare it to De Palma's The Black Dahlia. White suggests that Burton's romantic affiliation with the lonely characters in the Batman mythos "was richer" than what he calls Nolan's one-note tone of gloom. White writes:

For Nolan, making Batman somber is the same as making it serious... As in Memento, Nolan shows rudimentary craft; his zeitgeist filmmaking—morose, obsessive, fussily executed yet emotionally unsatisfying—will only impress anyone who hasn’t seen De Palma’s genuinely, politically serious crime-fighter movie, The Black Dahlia. Aaron Eckhart’s cop role in The Black Dahlia humanized the complexity of crime and morality. But as Harvey Dent, sorrow transforms him into the vengeful Two-Face, another Armageddon freak in Nolan’s sideshow.

White also references De Palma's film in his description of Heath Ledger's Joker ("sweaty clown’s make-up to cover his Black Dahlia–style facial scar"). As might be expected, some of the posts at Rotten Tomatoes are using the fact that White prefers The Black Dahlia to The Dark Knight as proof that the critic just doesn't get modern art.

Posted July 15 2008
We had figured that since winter had passed, the Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, would have to wait until at least late this year to begin shooting. However, Gerard Butler tells the U.K.'s Total Film that the project is stalled for now, although he keeps up hope that it will happen sometime in the future. You can read the entire interview at Gerard Butler dot Net. Here is Butler's reply when asked if he is working on the Untouchables "sequel" with Brian De Palma:

Sadly, that is very much on the back burner. It’s actually an incredible script but like many projects you get involved with and then aren’t, I think there was issues with who had the rights to the script and casting and Capone - who was going to do that. So it’s taken its place in one of the dusty cupboards at the moment. But I can totally see that coming back, the script is such a classic, I mean it’s great, but no, it’s not happening tomorrow.

Posted June 13 2008
I've just discovered a French mediacast from this past February in which Brian De Palma is asked a series of fictional questions from various pop-mythological figures such as Oliver Stone ("What is your definition of a political film?"), Alfred Hitchcock ("Why are you so fascinated with my movies?"), and Scarlett Johansson ("When you come to Paris, what’s your guilty pleasure?"), among others. The most intriguing fictional question comes from Bill Gates: "I’m offering you an unlimited budget and total control. What film will you direct with that?" De Palma, pausing to think for a moment, replies, "Well, thank you, Bill. I appreciate the offer. I’ve always wanted to make a movie of a very famous science fiction book called The Demolished Man. It’s been a dream project of mine since I was in high school. And it will need an unlimited budget in order to do it."

De Palma tried to get his screen adaptation of Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man made in 1978, with Frank Yablans as producer, following the pair’s collaboration on The Fury that same year. However, the project proved difficult to get off the ground after the disappointing box office of The Fury.

Throughout the years, various filmmakers have attempted to get a film of The Demolished Man off the ground, but none have yet succeeded. In 1981, Oliver Stone wrote a screenplay based on Bester’s novel that Ted Kotcheff was supposed to direct. More recently, in 2005, Tom Jacobson, who had produced De Palma’s Mission To Mars, tried to produce a version of Bester’s book adapted by Milo Addica, and to be directed by Andrew Dominik. However, that project seems to have fallen through. De Palma has mentioned The Demolished Man every now and then through the years as a project he is still keeping an eye on.

In the French mediacast, De Palma is "asked" by "Gilles Jacob" to name the best three movies he's ever seen. De Palma expresses difficulty trying to come up with only three, but names, in this order, The Red Shoes, Lawrence Of Arabia, and Vertigo.

Variety today publishes a series of articles in tribute to De Palma’s ex-wife and current collaborator Gale Anne Hurd, pictured here in her office. Via her company, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Hurd is producing De Palma’s upcoming adaptation of Susan Kelly‘s The Boston Stranglers. Hurd tells Variety that the story “touches on the desire for celebrity, using fear as a way to control people and manipulate the media and the police department, and to bring political pressure.”

The man who, according to Kelly’s book, took credit for the Boston Strangler murders and created a media circus in his quest for celebrity status was Albert DeSalvo. According to Boston Magazine’s David Mashburn, three of the big names being mentioned as the potential lead in De Palma’s film are Mark Wahlberg (who was originally cast to play Lee Blanchard in De Palma’s The Black Dahlia, but fell out when that production hit a snag and he moved on to other projects), Benicio Del Toro, and Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise? That would be extremely interesting. In the French mediacast mentioned above, “Tom Cruise” asks De Palma, “Would you work with me again, or is that mission impossible?” De Palma replies, “Well, Tom, it was very exciting to work with you, and we made a terrific movie together, but when you asked me to make the next Mission: Impossible, I said, ‘Isn’t one Mission: Impossible enough?’” These casting tremors are just rumors for now, but Mashburn also supplies one other interesting tidbit: Alan Rosen’s screenplay for The Boston Stranglers currently takes up about three hours worth of screen time.

Posted June 4 2008
Brian De Palma will reteam with producer Gale Anne Hurd to film The Boston Stranglers, according to Jay A. Fernandez at the Hollywood Reporter. The film is an adaptation of a 1996 nonfiction book (updated in 2002) titled, The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders, written by Susan Kelly. In the book, Kelly claims to debunk the confessions of Albert DeSalvo, who was convicted of strangling 13 women between 1962 and 1964. According to Kelly's book, the Boston murders were the result of several killers, and DeSalvo was a pathological liar who craved celebrity. One striking detail of the murders was that there was never a sign of forced entry into the victims' homes, most of whom were sexually assaulted before being strangled, often with their own nylon stockings (the killings were also referred to as the silk stocking murders).

In 1968, Richard Fleischer directed a film titled The Boston Strangler, starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda, and based on the Gerold Frank book of the same name. Fleischer's film is noted for its use of split screen, a technique De Palma had begun to experiment with around the same time. While Fleischer's film focused on DeSalvo as the true killer, when the film was first shown on television in 1974 (the year after DeSalvo was stabbed to death in prison), a voiceover was tacked on at the end to state that several experts had become convinced that DeSalvo was not the killer. Kelly's book includes chapters about Fleischer's film, which was filmed on location in Boston and Cambridge, creating a media frenzy and a local stir. The film itself became a key part of a trial, detailed in Kelly's book, in which DeSalvo went up against Twentieth Century Fox over the rights to his life story. At one point early in the trial, the judge and the attorneys attend a private screening of the Fleischer film.

The Hollywood Reporter article mentions that "De Palma similarly plumbed real-life-derived atrocities in Casualties of War, Redacted and The Black Dahlia." This film could be interesting as a postmodern pluralized ("Stranglers" instead of "Strangler") revision of Fleischer's picture, which nevertheless takes De Palma back to the decade at the heart of his cinema, the 1960s. The director also must feel at home in reteaming with Hurd. While the two were married, Hurd produced what was surely De Palma's most personal film of the 1990s, Raising Cain (1992), which De Palma wrote and directed. De Palma and Hurd, who also have a daughter together (Lolita De Palma), seem to have remained friends over the past decade and a half, and it will be nice to see them team up again professionally. Hurd will produce through her own Valhalla Motion Pictures (Hulk, Terminator 3, Dick). In a statement quoted at Reuters' Fan Fare blog today, Hurd said that De Palma "has the perfect visual and thematic sensibility" for The Boston Stranglers. Hurd has also produced both Hulk movies, the second of which (The Incredible Hulk) is released June 13th.

Carl Franklin had previously been attached to direct the Boston Stranglers project, which Hurd has had lined up at Paramount since 2001 (the Hollywood Reporter article does not mention Paramount, or any other distributor attached at this time). Alan Rosen, a TV writer/director/producer, had written the first draft of the adaptation from Kelly's book, and then worked with Franklin on a revised version. In 2002, Sid Quashie was assigned by Paramount to work with Franklin on a new draft. Franklin had still been attached through at least January of 2005, when he mentioned the project during a USA Today chat, indicating that the script was still being reworked. According to the Hollywood Reporter article, Rosen is the screenwriter of choice now that De Palma is aboard the project.

The Hollywood Reporter article gives no indication as to when The Boston Stranglers might go into production, stating simply that De Palma has signed on to helm the project. In April, William Boyd mentioned during a Book Slam Podcast that he hoped De Palma's adaptation of his book The Blue Afternoon would go into production by the end of 2008. Last month, Redacted producers Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss announced at Cannes that they would produce two De Palma scripts, one titled Print The Legend, and an untitled political thriller. The two producers indicated that Print The Legend would go into production first, and it is highly conceivable that this low-budget project may already be flying under the radar. De Palma also continues to be involved with a prequel to The Untouchables, which is still in the casting stages, although Gerard Butler has already signed on for that film. Meanwhile, De Palma's latest film, Redacted, will screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival, which runs from July 25 through August 10.

Posted May 22 2008
Quentin Tarantino gave a cinema master class this morning at the 61st Cannes Film Festival, and Karina Longworth was there to provide a live blog full of notes from the lecture. Tarantino mentioned De Palma several times, calling him his "rock star" when Tarantino was younger, and discussing his use of 360-degree pans. He also mentioned that he stole a line from Casualties Of War, a film he used as inspiration for a scene in Reservoir Dogs. Here are some excerpts from Longworth's notes:

Influences starting out: Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, Sergio Leone, Howard Hawks. Brian DePalma was like my rock star. I spent a year and a half going over theTV Guide looking for movies by Hawks. They played 80% of his sound films on LA TV.

They show the first scene from Reservoir Dogs.
DePalma always used 360s to emphasize love. I don’t use it for that reason. But as time has gone on, I’ve had a million directors come to me afterwards, whenever they put a bunch of people around a table, they want to circle the camera aroudn it, and they say, “We can’t do it — it’s Reservoir Dogs! You’ve taken it from us!”

3:12: [difference between Reservoir Dogs opening scene, credits, second scene, where Tim Roth is bleeding in the back of the car] You know they had breakfast, you know that something drastic has happened between the two. And now you’re just playing catch-up.
I wanted to show that as much fun as the guys are in their suits and the cool things they say, the violence is very real. Bullets aren’t movie bullets. It’s real. If you’re shot in the stomach, your gastric juices are released, it’s an incredibly painful experience, it’s a slow death and it’s painful all the way. So I was going to try to dramatize that. So we were like, “How do you do that?” And we just went for it.
If I had any inspiration for that scene, at the time I was into that moment in Casualties of War, when the black soldier gets shot and Sean Penn is trying to him in the helicopter. There’s a tremendous amount of tenderness there. I even stole a line––Sean Penn says, “Look at my eyes, I’m gonna hypnotize you.” I stole that.

Posted May 18 2008
A blogger by the name of Obsidian Blackbird McKnight today posted his ideas for a modern update of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. It seems McKnight began working on a screenplay for the update a month ago, but quit when he found out that a remake was already being written (the original film's producer, Edward R. Pressman, has a remake in the works). Here are some highlights from McKnight's ideas:

-The Sha-Na-Na band is now a pop punk band called We Know Something You Don't. In my mind, they'd be played by three of my favorite SNL people-Jason Sudekis, Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg, being the trio that shows up throughout as different characters.

-Paul Swann is based on Simon Cowell... Besides Swann being based on Simon Cowell, several jabs at "American Idol" are taken, including parodies of William Hung and Sanjaya auditioning for Swann and a mention of Carrie Underwood being someone who's talented.

-Paul and Winslow are Brits living in the US. Why? Well, I have those Mighty Boosh guys in mind writing this. They had known each other from the Royal Academy of Music in London where Winslow was the golden boy and Paul nearly flunked out. Of course, as Winslow gets to Los Angeles, he finds out the roles are reversed.

-Winslow in this version...not a bitch. As in, he takes too much shit. In this version, he doesn't sign. (Again, backstory.) And he has more of a spine. He goes to Death Records to find out why Paul is famous and he finds out...which gets the side of his face torched...

-Phoenix is a cute gothic lolita.

For more of McKnight's ideas, visit his Live Journal blog

Posted May 16 2008
Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss, who produced Brian De Palma's Redacted through their Toronto-based Film Farm production company, have revealed at Cannes that they will produce two more films from De Palma. According to Screen Daily's Denis Seguin, the first project will be Print The Legend. By all description, this sounds like the script De Palma had submitted to Urdl and Weiss last year, when it was tentatively titled Shoot The Messenger. According to Seguin, Print The Legend is "a film that continues in the verite vein of Redacted, exploring the process of 'selling' the Iraq war to the US home-front. It follows a story similar to that of US female soldier Jessica Lynch, whose heroic battlefield exploits were later revealed to be concocted by the US military." The budget will be similar to that of Redacted, between $5 million and $10 million. The second project is described as an untitled political thriller with a $15 million-$20 million budget. Urdl and Weiss, who are in Cannes to present Atom Egoyan's Adoration (which premieres at the fest May 22nd), also announced that they will produce Egoyan's untitled next feature. According to Seguin, they had one other bit of exciting news...

Urdle and Weiss also revealed they have landed a privately-financed development fund, a luxury rarely seen in Canada. While the duo declined to name their benefactors, Urdl said it is a Canadian company with a long history in the film and entertainment business.

Said Urdl, "This will allow us to jump on projects and pay for them without going through the [public sector investment] application phase."

Added Weiss, "It gives us a lot of leeway we never had. And it's a tremendous endorsement from people who are interested in making their money back."

Posted April 30 2008
Brian De Palma's documentary capture of Richard Schechner's Dionysus In '69 (shot by De Palma along with Bruce Rubin and Robert Fiore, it was filmed in 1968 and released in 1970) will screen as part of New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center's retrospective, "1968: An International Perspective." Schechner, who went on to appear in the Dionysus-inspired climax of De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise in 1974, is himself expected to attend the screening of Dionysus at the Walter Reade Theater on Saturday May 10th. (Note that while the photo above is in color, the film itself is in black-and-white.)

The Film Society's series, which began yesterday and continues through May 14th, "highlights events like the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic convention protests in Chicago and the Prague spring revolt in the formerly Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia," according to Winter Miller at Variety. The eclectic slate of features, shorts, documentaries and newsreels includes rarely-seen works (including De Palma's film, which will be screened on DVD, although it is still not available on DVD in the U.S.) along with more well-known fare such as Jean-Luc Godard's La Chinoise, Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool (which famously mixes documentary and fiction), and Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. The program director is Richard Peña, who last year was in charge of the New York Film Festival, which screened De Palma's latest film, Redacted. Peña told Variety, "The events of 1968 continue to reverberate in our culture and politics, as the present presidential contest veers at times into a debate over the legacy of the ‘60s." Here is the description of Dionysus In '69 from the Film Society's web site:

Just as he was finishing up Greetings and about to embark on Hi, Mom!, Brian De Palma decided to film a sensational and controversial avant-garde theaterpiece that was the talk of New York: a version of Euripides’ Bacchae conceived and performed by the Performance Group under the direction of Richard Schechner. With its simulated sex and pointed political speeches, the production blurred the lines between performers and audience, opening up the scene space in provocative new ways. De Palma makes extensive use of split screen, creating “frames within frames” that add a new layer of theatricality to the spectacle; it also helps capture the sense of a work that was literally going on in every inch of the space. An important document of a fascinating period of New York (and American) theater, Dionysus in ‘69 is also an unjustly neglected piece of De Palma’s early career that includes several elements he would explore in greater depth in his later films.

Also check out overviews of the series from J. Hoberman at the Village Voice and Steve Dollar at the New York Sun.

Posted April 24 2008

According to Variety, Fox 2000 has set two hot up-and-coming screenwriters to work a "contemporary reimagining" of Brian De Palma's The Fury (De Palma's film was written by John Farris, from the latter's novel of the same name). According to the Variety article by Tatiana Siegel, the new screenwriters, Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, "penned the spec Of Every Wickedness, about America’s first known serial killer, which landed on the industry’s Black List of the hottest unproduced spec scripts and garnered the duo a lot of attention. They nabbed The Fury gig off of that script." No director has been mentioned yet, but I could see Bryan Singer doing it justice.

Posted April 23 2008
Gerard Butler, who will play Jimmy Malone in Brian De Palma's upcoming prequel The Untouchables: Capone Rising, recently talked to the Chicago Sun-Times' Cindy Pearlman about the project. Butler told Pearlman, "It's a classic thriller-drama. Capone is written brilliantly, and it's all about the double-crossing and the heroism that comes out of a dirty cop. There is no absolute good or bad in any person in this movie." Butler also told Pearlman that "They're still working on the financing and finding the right Capone."

Meanwhile, Ain't It Cool News has posted a teaser trailer via MTV for Frank Miller's upcoming adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit. The teaser uses Ennio Morricone's theme from De Palma's The Untouchables.
(Thanks to Space Ace!)

Posted April 17 2008

Above is a trailer for a DVD (Outside The Wire) featuring three short documentaries shot by former Marine JD Johannes while he was embedded with troops in Iraq. According to Karina Longworth at Spout Blog, the "pro-victory, pro-troop" DVD is being promoted in opposition to documentaries such as Body Of War and The Ground Truth. But Longworth takes Johannes to task for targeting Brian De Palma's Redacted as the "Hollywood" film to beat when it comes to the sales goal for his DVD. Longworth writes:

But what is a little illogical to me is that Johannes has chosen Redacted as the target to beat. Redacted, a film widely panned by critics and pundits from all points on the political spectrum. Redacted, whose box office gross was potentially diluted by its day-and-date release on VOD and DVD. Redacted, instead of an actual documentary, such as Iraq in Fragments (also shot independently, by a cameraman/director, on the streets of Iraq) or Taxi to the Dark Side or The War Tapes (which, to my mind, is as honest a documentary about troops on the ground in Iraq as is conceivable, being that it was shot by the troops themselves), all of which grossed many times more than Redacted’s pitiful $65k domestic.

Johannes has given himself a deadline of May 7 2008 to sell 2,900 copies of his DVD (to beat the domestic box office gross of Redacted), and keeps a "Beat Hollywood!!!" graph on the front page of his site to keep track of how close he is to his goal (currently, 34% of the way to beating Redacted's gross). On his blog, Johannes explains his rationale:

My thesis is this: If it can be demonstrated that a pro-troop, pro-victory documentary can succeed in the market place by beating the domestic box office gross of an anti-war film like Redacted the money loving side of Hollywood will back a pro-troop movie.

If 2,900 documentaries sell , Hollywood's spin of "No one wants to see Iraq war movies" will be exposed and blame for the failure of movies like Redacted and Home of the Brave will be recognized: the public doesn't want to see anti-war, anti-troop crap.

Then we can test Allahpundit's theory :

"They keep making 'em even though we keep not watching 'em, which shows you how committed they are to the message and/or fearful of testing that "America's not ready yet" hypothesis with a pro-war flick."

So, what would you like to see happen on May 7th? Hollywood's 'America's not ready yet' spin confirmed or exposed?

Johannes writes that if he does not reach his goal by May 7th, he will go back to Iraq and make another series of documentaries.

Posted April 9 2008
Karl Rozemeyer interviewed Brian De Palma recently for's month-long "Sex on Film" series. De Palma falls under the heading, "THE DIRECTORS: THE OLD HAND". The "Sexessentials" are listed as: Blow Out, Obsession, Dressed to Kill, and Femme Fatale, although page one also features a picture of Melanie Griffith in Body Double. De Palma discusses that "so-called magic" that he looks for when casting his femme fatales, the magic being a combination of connection to the camera and emotional power. "We see it in Kim Novak in Vertigo, [Barabara] Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, Rita Hayworth in the right part and you just go: 'Wow!'" De Palma was a little thrown off when asked about his favorite sex scene:

Favorite sex scene in a movie? That's a good question. I think sex scenes are extremely difficult to do. I don't think I have ever really done a straightforward love scene. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious. Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo.

De Palma also mentions the scene between Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Rie Rasmussen in Femme Fatale as a standout sex scene from his own films. When Rozemeyer suggests that "there is no traditional romance in your movies," De Palma counters that "Obsession is very romantic." The series also includes an interview with Paul Verhoeven, "The Dirty Dutchman," among others.

By the way, you can see a bonus 1981 interview with Angie Dickinson discussing Dressed To Kill on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder DVD that was released this week. The DVD features Snyder's late-'70s/early-'80s interviews with ex-Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, as well as with the people they were working with around that time. The reason Dickinson ends up on the DVD set is because she happened to appear on the same program as Starr.

Posted March 27 2008
Movie Geeks United did a tribute show to Paul Schrader last night-- you can listen to the show at this link. The program featured interviews and discussions with several Schrader collaborators, including actors Thomas G. Waites, William Forsythe, Dana Delany and Jeff Goldblum. The Movie Geeks will top it off this Sunday night when Schrader himself pops in for an interview about his work. Schrader collaborated with Brian De Palma on 1976's Obsession before going on to write several films for Martin Scorsese (it was De Palma who suggested that Scorsese take a look at Schrader's script for Taxi Driver), and then directing his own films. Schrader began his career as a film critic, and wrote a rave review of De Palma's Sisters in 1973.

Posted March 26 2008

Filmmakers continue to show interest in stories surrounding the current war in Iraq. According to Michael Fleming at Variety, Patricia K. Meyer (writer and director of The List) will write a screenplay based on the life of Jamie Leigh Jones, the Houston, Texas woman who claims she was drugged, gang-raped, and then held prisoner by coworkers of Halliburton/KBR while working at a camp in the Baghdad Green Zone. Although the incident happened almost three years ago, Jones claims that the U.S. government is colluding with the company to cover up the incident, according to an ABC News report last December. The rights to Jones' life story have been acquired by Paul Pompian Prods. and Silver Hills Pictures.

Meanwhile, Variety's Fleming also reports that studios are "showing keen interest" in Jon Krakauer's upcoming book about Pat Tillman, the NFL star who quit to enlist in the army and fought in Afghanistan. After Tillman was killed in an ambush, the U.S. government turned him into a legend for its own patriotic propaganda. However, his family later discovered that the government covered up the true details of his death. Krakauer's Into The Wild was made into a phenomenal film by Sean Penn last year. The title of his Tillman book is The Hero, and will be published in October.

Brian De Palma's Redacted dealt with the real-life rape and murder of an Iraqi girl by U.S. troops. De Palma has been talking about some ideas for a potential new film about Iraq, with a key theme being the creation of false heroes by the U.S. propaganda machine. The Tillman story might actually be a good fit for De Palma, given his current concerns.

One other project of interest: The Long Road Home, a book by ABC News' Martha Raddatz that details an ambush of an Army platoon by insurgents in a Baghdad neighborhood in 2004. Eight soldiers were killed and more than 70 were wounded. Phoenix Pictures is developing a film based on that book. Fleming talked to Phoenix's Mike Medavoy about the timing of such projects while wars are still being fought:

As a studio exec, Medavoy has supervised war pics such as 1978's Coming Home, 1986's Platoon and 1979's Apocalypse Now. Medavoy said it is difficult to tell when enough time has passed to make a subject palatable to film audiences -- he passed on All the President's Men because he thought Watergate was too recently in the headlines -- but he is prepared for a long development road on The Long Road Home because he believes in the subject matter.

"Clearly, the time is not now," Medavoy said. "But you don't shy away from a great story, either. Read this book and see if you don't cry. You see the futility of the whole enterprise, but you are engaged on human and not geopolitical terms. My sense is it's better to be patient, get it right and make sure that enough time has elapsed so that people will be receptive."

Posted March 24 2008
At Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, you can read a review of Eyal Peretz' recent De Palma study, Becoming Visionary: Brian De Palma’s Cinematic Education of the Senses, reviewed by Syracuse University's Gregg Lambert. Here is an excerpt from Lambert's review:

Following Nietzsche, the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze redefined the Platonic sense of education according to the more disciplinary sense of paidea, or a "violent retraining of the senses." When we consider the great cinematic pedagogues, Eisenstein comes to mind as one who considered the modern technological art of cinema as a disciplinary tool for retraining the senses in a larger curriculum of public education. By comparison, it is odd to think of a director like De Palma in this regard. However, Chapter One of Peretz's book chooses to frame the discussion of De Palma's cinema by focusing upon the opening shot of Carrie, which takes place in a schoolyard showing a group of high school girls playing volleyball during gym. The scene of education is already there in De Palma's meditation on the question of cinema, particularly physical education in which the body is organized and disciplined by being codified through a game of volleyball; although, De Palma will quickly oppose this coordinated image of the body to another image of the body that is determined by the horror of sexuality and is graphically represented by Carrie's bleeding and enigmatic wound. Peretz sees the game itself as an allegory of the cinematic image itself, or what Deleuze called the "movement image," in which the movement of bodies between states of motion and rest is codified by the convention of the horror genre.

Click here to read the entire review.

Posted March 19 2008
"If you've come to see Scarface or The Untouchables, you're going to be sorely disappointed...

Brian De Palma introduces Redacted at Guadalajara March 9 2008

However, if you happened to see Casualties Of War, you would have some idea about what this picture is about. This is a serious picture about a very serious subject. I had the opportunity to make this movie because a small company offered me five million dollars to make a movie about anything I wanted. I chose a subject, our involvement in Iraq, a subject that no one in America wants to see. We are fighting a terrible war, and I hope it will be brought to an end quickly. And this picture deals with a group of soldiers who are driven crazy by this war. And I hope it brings some kind of understanding in the madness in which they are living in. It is a difficult picture, and some people say an unwatchable picture. So fasten your seatbelts—you’re in for a funky ride."

Posted March 14 2008
Brian De Palma presented his latest film, Redacted, at the 23rd Guadalajara International Film Festival this past Sunday (March 9) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The director was accompanied by the film's producers, Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss. The following day at the festival, De Palma was a guest on the panel Visionary Campus Guadalajara, where one of the main topics revolved around the interplay between fiction and documentary.

According to an Associated Press article, De Palma criticized Hollywood's images of Mexicans during his press conference at Guadalajara. Attributing such images to an imperialistic attitude, De Palma said, "What impresses me is the history, the art and the culture of Mexico, as well as the beauty of its people. But what one sees in the cinema is fat women making tortillas, men as criminals always shooting their guns... it is a mystery to me." De Palma said that Americans are not very curious about what happens outside their own country. "How many times do we hear them saying 'we are the best country in the world-- why should we worry about what happens in other countries'... it surprises me." And this extends to the very language of the films themselves. "People do not want to read the subtitles and the thought is that the others must make their films in English because they speak English and the others must be like them", De Palma said. "Right there is the first conflict of interests." De Palma said he would not rule out making a film in Mexico, but the financing is difficult to find. Even so, the director said he would love to film a murder scene in a Mexican opera house. "You have a beautiful opera house", De Palma said, referring to the Palace of Beautiful Arts. He also mentioned that he is still in preproduction on the Untouchables prequel.

Meanwhile, Redacted opens in Britain today, and there have been several interviews, reviews, and other discussions about the film. David Gritten at the Telegraph interviewed De Palma at last September's Venice Film Festival. Gritten felt that De Palma was combative during interviews, even though the film had met with widespread approval at Venice:

But, when I ask him if he thinks the US government habitually manipulate news of its foreign policy adventures, De Palma, picking up on my English accent, snaps: "Well, you Brits were with us all the way! What was going on in your country?" "Well," I say mildly, "I marched against the war. Tony Blair's popularity took a nosedive. And…" "But the press were co-opted!" he interrupts with a roar. "How did we do that? We made them rich! They didn't want to lose their talk shows!"

Later, after this astonishing non sequitur, I eavesdrop as a Norwegian reporter makes a perfectly sensible observation to De Palma: "People say the Vietnam war was lost because of the pictures, the media coverage…" "The Bush administration could use you!" De Palma yells, wrongly anticipating the point of the question. "So do you think we should keep the media away from what [the US military] is doing? You obviously don't want them covering the war!"

Nigel Andrews interviewed De Palma last week for the Financial Times. Andrews writes:

Redacted seems like the beginning of a new De Palma period, if not of a new De Palma. I mention the astonishment felt by Venice festival-goers when they saw The Black Dahlia one year - which seemed the exhausted last gasp of De Palma's exploration of the classic Hollywood thriller - and Redacted the next, which might have come from a different director or one unrecognisably rejuvenated.

"What amazed me in many of the reviews," he says, "was that they completely misunderstood the form of Redacted. If it doesn't fit into a genre they're familiar with, they reject it out of hand as 'amateurish' or 'slipshod'. They bring all kinds of critical preconceptions that completely miss the point."

No, no, I protest (thinking De Palma has missed the point himself). I mean, people thought this was a good departure. Instead of De Palma movies in which the aesthetic determines or directs the content, here was one in which the content - the human content - seems to have burst through the form. But an unrecanting formalist won't have even this. "What fascinated me was that here was a new set of styles that provided a new way of telling a story I'd told before [in Casualties of War ]. I also tried to make you aware, as a viewer, that the images you're seeing and the way they're constructed can be presented to create any point of view. You think this is real because of the form it's in, and of course it's all fictionalised. So maybe you should think twice when watching a report by an embedded journalist who's running around convincing you everything is real, authentic and spontaneous."

The Guardian's Simon Hattenstone interviewed De Palma in Paris, and his article discusses Redacted in conjunction with Nick Broomfield's Battle For Haditha and Paul Haggis' In The Valley Of Elah. Hattenstone asks De Palma about the pictures we are not seeing from Iraq:

Have there been fewer pictures from this war than previous wars? "Oh, of course. Of course." How come, when everyone is out there making their own home movies? "They never make their way into the mainstream media because the mainstream media is a big corporation now, and they've got stockholders, and they don't like to put unpleasant pictures up on the air because you can't sell advertising and you're showing a depressing view of the war." In Vietnam, he says, at least sufficient images found their way home to enable people to make an informed decision on the war. But that was the lesson the US government learned from Vietnam - if you're going to fight an unpopular war, make sure photographs of scorched girls running for their lives don't reach the public.

Did he anticipate such hostility to the film? "I knew if I was critical of the soldiers I would get a very strong reaction, because the way the soldiers have been portrayed in the mainstream media has always been as valiant warriors making the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and liberty of America." He talks about his other controversial movies - Dressed To Kill, the erotic thriller Body Double and the über-violent Scarface for starters - and says he's used to the pickets and incendiary headlines. Then he stops. Actually, he says, they weren't quite the same. "What I didn't think is that nobody would want to see Redacted. Even the good reviews said, 'Well, this is very difficult to watch.' So that was surprising - that they just don't want to see any movies about Iraq."

He says the mistake that his detractors make is to see this film as simply an attack on the US military. It's an easy mistake to make - their behaviour is unforgivable. Yes, says, De Palma, but that's not the point. "When you have a terrible crime, you want to know how these boys were brought to do this, and that's what the movie shows."

Coco Forsythe interviewed De Palma for Future Movies. Forsythe asks De Palma about his characters:

Q: Some of the soldiers are very negative characters, with not much humanity in them, don’t you think?

A: I protest! I protest! If you do read about it, we’re recruiting people that are sub-standard, because we can’t get anybody to join the army. So they’re taking people they would not normally take. People with emotional problems, people that have criminal records. Who would want to go to Iraq now? Who wants to sign up for this tour, unless you’re extremely desperate and they offer you a lot of money? So we’re getting the bottom of the gumbo barrel. And, yeah, nobody really starts to change. You try to show these circumstances that makes these soldiers become the unpleasant characters they emerge as: the endless repetition, the hostile environment, you can’t trust anybody. Then one of your buddies gets blown up next to you. It’s all there. It’s the same thing in Casualties of War. They had a beloved Sarge, who was trying to help the kids out and they’re set up for an ambush. That’s when the Sean Penn character just goes south. He’s like the most responsible guy, had been there longest, then suddenly he just gets this look – ‘I hate all these people and I’m going to get my pound of flesh.’ That’s what happens to Flake. The other guys are trying to hold onto some sense of morality.

Forsythe later asks De Palma about the film's relationship to truth. De Palma replies:

What I’m trying to do is to make the viewer aware of the techniques that are used to present supposedly the truth to them. They sit there and watch their television screens, and see these embedded reporters and infomercials from Iraq, and how well things are going in Iraq, and they think that’s the truth. In anything on television, somebody is selling something – whether it’s a product, whether it’s a policy. You look on television, this is a commercial medium and everything is for sale. Once you understand that, then you can understand the medium a little better. The web is not so corrupted because there is not that much money involved. Believe me, when the money gets in there, it will probably go the way of television. We’re living in an era where everybody is performing all the time, and posting their performances on the web. Plus there’s reality television, where you’re supposed to believe all this stuff is real, and of course it’s made up.

At the end of the article, Forsythe asks De Palma if the scorpion sequence was a nod to Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. De Palma replies:

I had to find boring activities. The fact is there are a lot of big insects over there and there are a lot of ants. So, yes, it goes back to The Wild Bunch. But we had other insects – a camel spider and a centipede that were overtaken by the ants. Unfortunately, the downside of digital, unlike film, is that it can be erased and be gone forever. And the first shot of the ants overtaking the camel spider was erased. So I had to send Eric out to shoot it again, but it was so cold that the ants were lethargic and the centipede was sleeping…so we had to settle on the scorpion. It was a whole day of prodding insects!"

Finally, in the very country where De Palma was awarded a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival for directing Redacted, there will be no theatrical release for the film. Instead, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Redacted premiered this week on satellite broadcaster Sky-Italia. The premiere is part of a plan to play first-run movies as a challenge to rival broadcasters. Redacted will play through the end of March on Sky-Italia's pay-per-view Prima Fila channel. A DVD will be released sometime in the near future. (Thanks to Maurizio for the info!)

Posted March 10 2008
Doug Buck's remake of Brian De Palma's Sisters is finally released Tuesday (March 11) in the U.S., although it does not have the cover image pictured at left. On the U.S. DVD cover, Stephen Rea is pictured in between larger images of Chloe Sevigny and Lou Doillon. Fangoria interviewed Buck and Sevigny on the set of the film a couple of years ago, and has published the interviews in the most recent issue of the magazine (#271, on stands now). In the article, Buck mentions that he had become friends with Gaspar Noé, the infamous French director who has mentioned the influence of De Palma in interviews. According to Buck, Noé had been in talks with Edward Pressman about possibly directing the Sisters remake. Buck eventually pursued the project himself, and Pressman asked him if he saw the remake as more Hitchcock or Polanski (De Palma's original film is inspired by both filmmakers). When Buck replied that his vision was more "Polanski," Pressman told him he liked that idea, and gave him the job. Although Roger Avary had written a draft of a screenplay, Buck decided he wanted to start fresh with his professor and frequent writing partner John Freitas, and so the two wrote a new screenplay. Sevigny tells Fangoria that when she watched Doug Buck's short films, they haunted her to the point where she really wanted to make a horror film with someone who can bring that intensity to the screen. The remake credits read: "Based upon a screenplay by Brian De Palma and Louisa Rose, from an original story by Brian De Palma."

Posted March 7 2008
Five years ago, Dark Star published a beautiful book by Luc Lagier titled Les Mille Yeux de Brian De Palma, which translates into "The Thousand Eyes of Brian De Palma." The oversized book opened with an interview with De Palma about his work in the 1960s, and then followed with Lagier's analyses of most of De Palma's key works. The book was generously illustrated with anamorphic captures from De Palma's films, as well as those of films that influenced De Palma. Now, Cahiers du cinéma has published an updated version of Lagier's book. The cover for the new edition is a picture of De Palma in front of an American flag that was taken around the time of Carlito's Way (the Dark Star edition featured an eye-popping cover of images from De Palma's films in a grid of little boxes that visually suggested shifting perspectives). An ad for the book in the latest issue of Cahiers features the tagline: "It's the story of a man who saw Hollywood in color and America in black." Romain Desbiens has reviewed the new edition over at Virtuoso of the 7th Art, and says that the new format makes the book a more comfortable read. According to Desbiens, Lagier has taken the opportunity to expand some of his analyses of the films, while also shortening at least one section considered too long in the prior edition. Lagier has also added sections on The Black Dahlia and Redacted, the two films De Palma has released since the book's first edition. Les Mille Yeux de Brian De Palma can be ordered through

Posted February 28 2008
Brian De Palma’s Redacted was released in France last week, and Romain Desbiens at Virtuoso Of The 7th Art has some photos of the ads that are currently all over the streets of Paris. According to Variety, the film has been well-received in France, where it was acclaimed “a tour de force” by Les Inrockuptibles (and by clicking on that link, you can watch a video interview with De Palma from last September’s Deauville fest). Philippe Azoury at Libération calls it a film “of an infinite theoretical power,” while Le Monde’s Jean-François Rauger is enthused by the film’s experimental play with images, stating that the film “brilliantly” shows the spectator that they are a prisoner of their own reflexes.

Cahiers du cinéma’s Stéphane Delorme, however, takes issue with both Azoury and Rauger for suggesting that in Redacted, De Palma is simply compiling images lifted from the internet. “All the images are worth the same, we are told,” writes Delorme. “But who could argue that images of Angel Salazar in his barrack are worth as much as a rape filmed in night shot or a final panorama on war victims?” Arguing that De Palma banks on viewers’ intelligence to interpret the alternating levels of images in the film, Delorme writes, “The images are staged, edited, interpreted, signed De Palma, to such a degree that it is impossible not to get it. To think that De Palma has abandoned directing and has contented himself with re-filming haphazard images is a delusion.” (Be sure to check out Delorme’s and Jean-Philippe Tessé’s ongoing “Genealogy” of Redacted-- part one here, and part two here.)

De Palma was interviewed recently by Stéphanie Belpeche at Le JDD, and he mentioned a new detail about his idea for a second film about the Iraq war. De Palma had previously mentioned to Movie Geeks United that the project, tentatively titled Shoot The Messenger, would be a “sort of George Orwell take on this war,” showing how myths are created through editing and reediting. Now he tells Belpeche that a key part of the potential film project deals with the way journalists and the media have manufactured heroines out of women in the military (see the Jessica Lynch story for a prime example). Meanwhile, in an interview by Rob Nelson published in the winter 2008 issue of Cinema Scope, De Palma again mentioned that he had an idea for another film about Iraq that would progress from the form of Redacted. “I’ve got a lot more to say about this war,” De Palma told Nelson, “and believe me, the war will be going on for many years to come.”

De Palma also told Belpeche that as a citizen paying the taxes that financed the conflict in Iraq, he seeks a way to get at the truth of what is happening there. Saying that American citizens have been manipulated by lies, De Palma said that “to intervene in Iraq was a mistake. It has caused chaos. I don’t want any more Bush at the White House.” When asked how he would vote in the upcoming presidential election, De Palma replied, “For a Democrat, of course. We will come out of this quagmire.” De Palma said he did not have a favorite candidate yet, but would choose one somewhere down the road. When the discussion turned to the low turnout of the recent wave of Iraq films in American cinemas, De Palma said, “Are you surprised? They prefer to forget and go see Transformers! Redacted will be better received in Europe, but I’m preaching to the converted. (Laughter.) In the United States, they accuse me of not being a patriot.” When Belpeche mentioned that Oliver Stone is making a film about George W. Bush, De Palma replied, “A caustic portrait. It’s about time that someone is interested in the most dangerous man in the world.”

De Palma also talked about Redacted and the Iraq war to Emmanuel Burdeau in the February issue of Cahiers du cinéma. De Palma agreed with Burdeau when he stated that Redacted is a “double remake,” of Casualties Of War and of things the director found on the internet. Yet they both pointed out that there are many differences between Casualties and Redacted. De Palma continued:

But the first question you ask when you’re talking about a war like this one is always the same: what are we doing there? [spoken very slowly] It’s a question I asked myself when I was being drafted to go up to Viet Nam. It’s the same question I ask about Iraq: what are we doing there? [spoken even more slowly]

When Burdeau then asked De Palma what his answer is, De Palma replied:

There are many complicated answers, but of course, none of them make any sense. You know… You can read all the books you want, listen to learned professors give you all kinds of reasons to explain our being over there. But at the end of the day, there’s absolutely no reason that could explain our being there. It’s only the failure of an absurd policy. As happens all too frequently, the ball starts rolling and you can’t keep it from going down the hill.

Burdeau told De Palma that he ahd heard that his initial idea was to make a documentary. “No,” replied De Palma. “My idea was to tell the story by using apparently documentary methods in a way that you’re aware that it’s all made up but you’ll believe it anyway.” De Palma told Burdeau that he was extremely surprised by the American press’ hostile reaction to Redacted. “Nobody wanted to know. We’ve been so thoroughly brainwashed by mainstream media propaganda that nobody could conceive of this film having anything to do with reality.” When asked about the criticism that the actors in the film were overacting, De Palma replied:

That’s absurd. I mean… That’s absurd. Have the people who say that taken a single glance at the videos soldiers post online? All the soldiers have cameras, they shoot diaries. The fact that some journalists think the actors are overacting only proves one thing: they have no experience with the documents that inspired the film. The soldiers clown around, they make faces. It’s all out there! It just takes a single click to access these images! I didn’t make up a single thing! I simply tried to equal what I found!

De Palma also told Burdeau that as filmmakers get older, they get very careful about what projects they take on. “When you’ve made a lot of films in a lot of different genres,” De Palma said, “both very expensive films and really cheap ones, when you’ve told a lot of stories and you’re getting older, you become very careful about what you’re going to do. The idea has to be an extremely good one. You also need a really good way of telling it, or it’s not worth it. You have so much experience, you’ve made such different kinds of films that you’re bound to become very critical about what you want to put your time into.” De Palma said that he and his friends such as George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola are returning to experimental filmmaking because they’ve all had major successes and aren’t exactly struggling to make ends meet. “They don’t have to worry too much about never being able to make another film, especially not for financial reasons. Therefore, they’re very careful about what they choose to do. We’re all in our sixties now. What’s the point? Who cares? It’s not as if we have anything to prove to anybody!”

In the Cinema Scope interview, Nelson and De Palma get into a discussion about the war and torture porn. “I’m not a big horror film fan,” De Palma tells Nelson, “but I was certainly curious about these Saw movies and Hostel. Basically, these movies are torture. They’re not just about torture, they are torture!” The discussion continues:

Nelson: But maybe that’s the only means by which we can process these agonizing feelings. Screen violence has gone to unprecedented new extremes at a time when we seem more squeamish than ever about actual violence.

De Palma: Yes, you’re quite right about that. But in terms of these torture porn films, you look at them and you think, “Who the hell wants to watch people being tortured?”

Nelson: Anyone who wants to deal with repressed feelings about the war, perhaps?

De Palma: I don’t know the answer to that yet. When you see behavior that is so repugnant to you, it’s hard to understand. I mean, I make movies about people who do unspeakable things to each other, and the reason is that I’m trying to make the audience understand what got those people to that place. These torture movies are just pure sadomasochism. Normally, if you want to make a movie, you’ve got to find the subject within yourself in order to put it on the screen, in order for somebody in the audience to understand it. You have to have some affinity for what you’re dramatizing. But Hostel is something I don’t quite understand.

Posted February 19 2008
Brian De Palma's latest film Redacted is released on DVD today in North America. Also released on DVD today is American Gangster, a film that De Palma considered directing back in 2003, when it was still called Tru Blu. Ridley Scott picked up the project years later, and now Universal has included it in a box set, also released today, called Gangsters - The Ultimate Film Collection, which is a fancy way of saying the four best gangster movies that the studio happens to own the rights to. In any case, two of the four films included in the set were directed by De Palma: Scarface and Carlito's Way. The fourth movie is Martin Scorsese's Casino. The set includes bonus discs for each film with the same extras as the most recent single-movie releases. Not a bad deal if you don't own any of these discs yet.

Meanwhile, Gonzalo sends word that the FilmoTeca of Catalunya began a complete retrospective of De Palma's films on February 5th (it continues through March 9th). The retro includes the shorts Wotan's Wake and The Responsive Eye, and every one of De Palma's feature films except Murder A La Mod.

Posted February 11 2008
We already knew that Brian De Palma's Redacted would be at the Glasgow Film Festival this month (that fest runs February 14-24), but now we have learned that the film will also screen at this year's Dublin International Film Festival, which runs February 15-24. De Palma, who attended the premiere of Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light at the Berlin International Film Festival last week, appears to be fest-hopping this month, and may show up at Glasgow and Dublin.

Posted February 7 2008
Romain Desbiens interviewed Brian De Palma in Paris this past weekend about his latest film, Redacted. In the interview, De Palma also briefly discussed the recent films that have been made about Howard Hughes, and the current projects he has in the works. You can read the interview now at Romain's site, Virtuoso of the 7th Art. By the way, Redacted will open in France on February 20th, in Russia on February 21st, in Belgium on February 27th, and in the U.K. on March 21st.

Posted February 6 2008
Brian De Palma's Redacted is the "Event of the Month" in the February 2008 edition of Cahiers du cinéma (thanks to Jon Rubin at the 24liesasecond forum for the heads up). The print edition features an interview with De Palma, and several critical articles about the film. Right now online you can read a critique by Stéphane Delorme (a piercing analysis titled "Farce Attack"), which states that Redacted is a "heavy blow," and that its principal weapon is the joke. Delorme writes, "Impossible not to think of the formula of Marx: the history is repeated, the first time in tragedy, the second in joke. For De Palma, Iraq is the bad remake of Vietnam even more than that of the war of the Gulf." Delorme suggests that the joke suppresses the film's pathos like a dam up to the end, the dam finally breaking under the sound of Puccini's Tosca and becoming a heavy blow that is like "Hi, Mom! multiplied by Blow Out." Regarding Redacted's final image, Delorme concludes that "De Palma had missed it with the corpse cut into two by the Black Dahlia, he remakes it with an almost identical one, and here it 'succeeds'. It is an image redacted, re-examined and not corrected. A true image."

Also in the online edition, you can read a critique by Emmanuel Burdeau, who posits that with Redacted, De Palma has finally found "images zero," pure images which, as "made by anybody and everyone, seen by anybody and everyone," strike like lightning. For Burdeau, the film marks a change in cinema: "Its pact, from now on, is that of a documentary restitution; fiction undoubtedly, but not lie." Also in the online edition is the lead-off editorial by Jean-Michel Frodon, who states that the reason Redacted is their "Event of the Month" is because it calls into question the nature of images today.

According to a press release, De Palma is expected to be one of the celebrities attending the opening film of the 58th Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday, February 7th. The film is the latest by De Palma's longtime friend Martin Scorsese-- the Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light. With bandmembers Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood all expected to attend, it is worth noting that early in his career (around 1964), De Palma had shot the Rolling Stones at London's Fourteenth Street for a concert film to be titled Mod. That film was never finished, as the producers ran out of money, but not before De Palma had also shot The Who and Peter Gordon on stage. Nobody seems to know what ever became of the footage shot for this unfinished film. Meanwhile, according to the blog Montage, De Palma may attend this month's Glasgow Film Festival, which will screen Redacted several times between February 14-24.

Brian De Palma Sites:

Directed By Brian De Palma
Brian De Palma's Split World
Le Paradis de Brian De Palma
The Virtuoso of the 7th Art
Brian De Palma...e i suoi FILM
De Palma's Way

Check out

for film criticism
under the De Palma umbrella

Sites Devoted to Specific
Brian De Palma Films:

Blow Out
Carrie... A Fan's Site
The Swan Archives
Phantom Of The Paradise
Make Way For The Bad Guy

Carlito's Way
Carlito's Way Page
Deborah Shelton Official Web Site
Paul Schrader's Official Website


Greetings/Hi, Mom!
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Phantom of the Paradise
Phantom of the Paradise
Mission: Impossible
Snake Eyes Review Page
Mission To Mars Review Page

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