17 items from 2016
Ryan Lambie Published Date Friday, September 23, 2016 - 06:17
If director Brian De Palma was sometimes criticised for settling for style over substance in his thrillers, this feature-length documentary about his career is reassuringly basic in its approach. Barring archive footage and one, solitary moment, directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow divide their retrospective between sequences from De Palma’s movies and interviews with the filmmaker himself, seated in front of a grey fireplace.
It’s the kind of move that could be regarded as lazy or tentative in some circumstances, but Baumbach and Paltrow are shrewd enough to recognise that a director known for his technical flourishes needs room to breathe; and besides, De Palma and his movies are interesting enough subjects that they hardly need further embellishment.
Dailies is a round-up of essential film writing, news bits, videos, and other highlights from across the Internet. If you’d like to submit a piece for consideration, get in touch with us in the comments below or on Twitter at @TheFilmStage.
Edward Yang’s little-seen The Terrorizers will get its first theatrical run at BAMcinematek from October 21 through 27.
Watch a video essay on the search for family in There Will Be Blood:
If Hitchcock is a language, then De Palma has been fluent in it for decades: Obsession is Vertigo, Body Double is Rear Window, and so on. “I was the one practitioner that took up the things he pioneered,” De Palma asserts in Baumbach’s film. Alternatively, there’s Blow Out – often deemed the most representative of his aesthetic – which »
- The Film Stage
There’s an alternate version of Brian De Palma’s career where 1972’s Get to Know Your Rabbit stands as one of the most seminal entries. The last of De Palma’s early-70s comedies, the film is most readily recognized as a prelude to his directorial turning point. Just a year later, he began a string of legacy defining films: Sisters, Obsession, and Carrie.
But this early-period black sheep is more than a mere historical footnote. It’s the transitional fiasco that De Palma needed. Coming after the modest hits of Greetings and Hi, Mom!, this was the big leagues, a chance for the nascent but rising director to work with Hollywood and establish himself as a conjunction of artistic and financial impulses.
It’s only inevitable that even De Palma’s crowd-pleasing comedy scans as commentary about the prison of working with studios. In an impish reversal of the artist’s own circumstances, »
- Michael Snydel
Becky Lea Sep 5, 2016
Welcome to the very first instalment of our journey through the world of Stephen King screen adaptations and oh, what a varied bunch it will be. We shall begin as all things must, at the beginning, with the first of King’s adaptations to appear in the cinema, Brian De Palma’s high school classic, Carrie. What better place to start than with a cautionary tale of why you should never bully the quiet girl with the latent telekinetic powers?
Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is the shy and quiet girl at the back of the gym class. When she heads into the showers after the lesson, she gets her period. Having been raised by a nightmarish mother (the imperious Piper Laurie) who neglected to mention any of these biological developments to her daughter, »
These days, there’s the buffer of Redacted to shore up Brian De Palma’s credentials as a Godardian ironist. Perhaps in the time when it was fashionable for high-minded critics to bolster De Palma’s significance while decrying the filmmakers he cited as influences, the takedowns by card-carrying auteurists might have seemed a necessary antidote to all the doting. De Palma long represented the negative end of a New Hollywood excess, championed by one side of a polemic and lambasted by the other.
De Palma’s bad taste and his love of schlock discounted him from the pantheon erected by auteurists, while the same characteristics attracted the attentions of less-serious-minded populist critics, who saw the director’s near-indistinguishable alternations between facetiousness and sincerity as a plus. Still, even these De Palma diehards generally struggled to explain why he was significant, outside of an anti-intellectual impulse towards celebrating baroque kitsch »
- The Film Stage
The camera tracks towards a gate leading to a Victorian mansion, the shot coming to center on the home’s front door. It’s the evening and lights are on in the house, tinting the window in the door a translucent yellow. This block of color is interrupted by an alternation of total blackness and person-shaped silhouettes, evoking the action of a shutter masking a frame of a film strip as it passes by the aperture of a projector. This shadow play veils the activity occurring inside the house: a slideshow of photographs. Thus begins the post-opening-credits scene of Brian De Palma’s Obsession. In this reading, it functions as a metonym of the film’s concern with dissimulation, an abiding theme in De Palma’s body of work. Perhaps, in bringing to mind the operation of the film apparatus, this image is also the director’s ontology of cinema. »
- The Film Stage
Back when I was a kid, and a lot more naïve about how the motion picture industry works, I had expectations of filmmakers that were completely unreasonable in their very reverence. If I saw a masterpiece, and then placed the person who directed it high atop my superstar pedestal of art heroes, I longed for him or her to go forward and make 10 or 20 more masterpieces (hey, why not!), and I always felt keenly disappointed if it didn’t work out that way. It was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that even a movie as enthralling and visionary and apparently brilliantly orchestrated as “The Godfather” or “Nashville” was, among other things, a kind of fantastic accident: a coming together of elements that even the director isn’t always (or ever) in full control of.
But when it came to the art heroes who let me down, »
- Owen Gleiberman
When it comes to telekinesis and gory visual effects, the movie that generally springs to mind is David Cronenberg’s 1981 exploding head opus, Scanners. But years before that, American director Brian De Palma was liberally dowsing the screen with claret in his 1976 adaptation of Carrie - still rightly regarded as one of the best Stephen King adaptations made so far. A less widely remembered supernatural film from De Palma came two years after: De Palma’s supernatural thriller, The Fury.
The Fury was made with a more generous budget than Carrie, had a starrier cast (Kirk Douglas in the lead, John Cassavetes playing the villain), and it even did pretty well in financial terms. Yet The Fury had the misfortune of being caught in a kind of pincer movement between Carrie, »
Bringing up Brian De Palma as if he’s still some kind of marginalized or misunderstood figure is now heavily contentious, not just in the sense that “the discussion” has, with the presence of the Internet, become so heavily splintered that every figure has at least seem some form of reappraisal, but in that this is being discussed on the occasion of a new documentary and retrospectives in New York, Chicago, Austin, and Toronto (the lattermost of which this symposium will be timed to). Yes, the line has probably tipped past “divisive,” but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for debate.
It’s not hard to understand why De Palma’s work strikes a cord with a new cinephilia fixated on form and vulgarity. Though, in going film-by-film — taking us from political diatribes against America to gonzo horror to gangster films your parents watch to strange European »
- Ethan Vestby
Since any New York cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.
The Brian De Palma retrospective has its best weekend yet: Carlito’s Way and Raising Cain on Friday; Body Double and Femme Fatale on Saturday; and, this Sunday, Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes, and the underseen, Paul Schrader-penned Obsession.
A program of Chuck Jones shorts plays on Saturday; Party Husband screens this Sunday.
Museum of »
- Nick Newman
The setup to De Palma, Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's engrossing new documentary about the life and career of controversial filmmaker Brian De Palma (opening in theaters on June 10th), couldn't be simpler: The 75-year-old director dissects most of his films and shares analyses and behind-the-scenes anecdotes in between clips. Forget talking-head testimonials from collaborators, flashy visuals or dramatic reenactments. You just get the man himself, looking back and holding court in all his verbose, insightful glory.
And that is more than enough. Known primarily for his obsession with voyeurism, »
Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who won an Oscar for his work on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, died on New Year's Day at his home in Big Sur, California at the age of 85. The legendary collaborator with Robert Altman (McCabe And Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye), Brian De Palma (Blow Out. Obsession, The Bonfire Of The Vanities) and Woody Allen (Cassandra’s Dream, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Melinda And Melinda), also received Oscar nominations for Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, Mark Rydell's The River and De Palma's The Black Dahlia. The Cannes Film Festival in 2014 presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Born and raised in Hungary in 1930, Zsigmond’s eye for cinema started early, when he would go on to study at the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest, earning a Master of Arts in cinematography. After nurturing a series of low-key B-movies in Austria, his big break arrived in the form of Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller in the early 70s, before earning critical acclaim for his work on Close Encounters in 1977, along with The Deer Hunter the following year.
Throughout his long career, Zsigmond also stepped up to the plate to try his hand at directing, though »
- Michael Briers
Vilmos Zsigmond, one of Hollywood’s greatest cinematographers, died on New Year’s Day at the age of 85. Ironically, his death came less than a week after the death of Haskell Wexler, another great cinematographer of the 1970s. (Check out the memorable Budapest episode of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" which focused on Zsigmond and his 1956 escape after the Soviet invasion with canisters of film under his arm.) Credit for good films is usually given to the director and then to the actors. Yet Zsigmond’s stamp on Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” and “Heaven’s Gate,” on Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” for which he won his only Academy Award, on Brian De Palma’s “Obsession” and “Bonfire of the Vanities,” and, most clearly on Robert Altman’s “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” is unmistakable. Asked what makes good cinema by Filmmaker magazine two years »
- Aljean Harmetz
Visionary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who escaped his native Hungary to set up in Hollywood and became one of the most acclaimed practitioners of his generation, has died aged 85 in Big Sur, California.
The cinematographer fled Budapest in 1956 with his hidden footage of Soviet forces crushing the Hungarian Revolution and along with his dear friend and fellow émigré the late László Kovács went on to establish a brilliant career in the United States.
He shot Altman’s McCabe & Mrs Miller and won the Oscar in 1978 for Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. He was nominated subsequently for The Deer Hunter, The River and The Black Dahlia, a collaboration with frequent associate Brian De Palma.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Vilmos Zsigmond, the Academy Award-winning cinematographer of Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well as films like The Deer Hunter, Deliverance and Heaven's Gate, passed away Friday, his business partner Yuri Neyman confirmed to Variety. Zsigmond was 85.
The Hungarian-born Zsigmond – who filmed the Hungarian Revolution alongside his friend and fellow cinematographer László Kovács before they both relocated to Los Angeles – began his Hollywood career as a director of photography on low-budget exploitation and horror films and TV movies before he was hired by director Robert Altman – another veteran of »
Hungarian-born cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, winner of an Oscar for his achievements on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and a nominee for “The Deer Hunter,” “The River” (1984) and the “The Black Dahlia” (2006), has died at 85. His business partner Yuri Neyman said he died January 1.
Over a period of five decades in Hollywood, his other outstanding achievements included “Deliverance,” “Blow Out,” “The Ghost and the Darkness” and such Robert Altman films as “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “The Long Goodbye.” And he considered it the ultimate compliment that no two of his movies looked alike.
Working into his eighties, Zsigmond also shot a number of episodes of the Fox sitcom “The Mindy Project” from 2012-14. Zsigmond ranked among the 10 most influential cinematographers in film history in a 2003 survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild.
Belying his comment to Rolling Stone that “a cinematographer can only be as good as the director, »
- Carmel Dagan
17 items from 2016
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