Friday, March 11, 2011

Brian DePalma - The AV Club

Ed here: For all the ups and downs of his career, Brian DePalma still intrigues me as a director. His troubled, almost incestuous relationship with the work of Alfred Hitchcock notwithstanding, he's brought real style and truth to several of his movies. I don't know if he's able of dealing with the new century the way he did with the eighties and nineties but I'd like to see him a try a thriller as perverse as Sisters in this new world.

The AV Club posted an imposing interview with DePalma, one well worth reading.

Primer is The A.V. Club’s ongoing series of beginners’ guides to pop culture’s most notable subjects: filmmakers, music styles, literary genres, and whatever else interests us—and hopefully you. This installment: a guide to watching Brian De Palma's movies about watching.

101: The Thrillers
Before Brian De Palma dedicated himself to making movies, he was a teenage science whiz, which may explain how he became such a peerless technician. Like his fellow “film school brats” Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, De Palma is a filmmaker who thinks cinematically, using visual quotes from other movies and the grammar of cinema itself as his way of expressing something more personal than just what’s in the script. Frequently derided as an Alfred Hitchcock imitator, De Palma actually uses the trappings of Hitchcockian suspense as a cage in which to hold his pet themes: the thrill of voyeurism, the fear of helplessness, and a motion picture’s paradoxical power to explicate the real world through blatant artificiality. At his best, De Palma constructs movies that have the surface of crowd-pleasing entertainment but the guts of high art, filled with bravura sequences that don’t so much pay off as let go.

De Palma first impressed critics with his documentary shorts and shaggy underground comedies, then made his first unmitigated foray into the genre that would define him with 1973’s Sisters, a wacko Psycho/Rear Window homage starring Margot Kidder in a dual role as a Quebecois model and her detached Siamese twin sister. Kidder murders a man while neighbor Jennifer Salt watches from the building across the street, which leads Salt—a crusading journalist with a radical streak—to hire private detective Charles Durning to help her investigate both the crime and Kidder’s association with creepy doctor William Finley. A tense Bernard Herrmann score and scenes of graphic violence make Sisters pretty harrowing, but the movie displays the puckish wit that would also become a De Palma hallmark...

for the rest go here:,52964/

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Well, Megan Abbott and Sara Gran are with you on this one...I still think his less bad films are mostly due to wise casting choices.