Sometimes a film will speak directly to a person in an audience: A preternatural, unearthly tendril of luminous light tapping you on the shoulder, a benevolent yet mysterious voice reminding you of an obligation, or a musical, colorful Dream Message entering your eyes and speaking to your soul with wonder, awe and truth. Like other Art forms, film can do amazing things.
For me, there are definitely a few choice films of overwhelming, pristine power. Yet one cinematic work is not just great, deeply special to me: ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’ Directed by the Wonderkind, Steven Spielberg, directly after his landmark suspense-adventure film, ‘Jaws’.
Now, his new flick, released in 1977, also dealt with the fantastic, with riveting moments of terror… but its endgame was something quite dissimilar.
I think it would take either a first-rate Psychologist or an Exorcist with a lot of
Having spent the latter half of the eighties trying out new styles of filmmaking – Wise Guys’ knockabout comedy, The Untouchables’ prestige gangster pic, Casualties of War’s Vietnam movie and The Bonfire of the Vanities’ satirical misfire – Brian De Palma returned to what he knew best, the Hitchcockian psycho-thriller, for Raising Cain.
John Lithgow plays three roles: child psychologist Carter, his evil twin brother Cain, and their Norwegian father, Dr Nix, who likes to experimental on the young. Carter’s wife is concerned that her husband isn’t quite paying their daughter the right kind of attention; she’s also having an affair which, upon discovery, threatens to send him into a psychotic rage…
A relentless blend of murder, multiple personalities, cross-dressing, crazed parents, bizarre dream sequences and stunning cinematic assurance,
More than just an imitation though, he was able to build on his techniques and formal expertise to further the cinematic language of suspense, and today we have a video essay that shows his sprawling influence. “Hitchcock & De Palma: Split Screen Bloodbath” by Peet Gelderblom (via RogerEbert.com) is an
In “Dog Eat Dog,” Schrader says he wanted to explore the current state of the crime film genre, something that’s changed in a post-Scorsese and post-Tarantino world. For his latest film, Schrader gathered a group of people from fields outside the film industry to work on it. He calls them the “post-rules” generation: A group of filmmakers who aren’t even aware of the classical film rules that have been utilized, broken and codified over the decades. For these filmmakers, says Schrader,
Prior to the screening, this writer had the opportunity to speak briefly with Allen—who also serves as the executive director of weSPARK—about reuniting with her Carrie family for such a truly special occasion.
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.
Even De Palma’s structure is straightforward: we start at the beginning, when the future director of Carrie and The Untouchables was a kid,
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:
Little White Lies‘ Nick Chen on how Brian De Palma influenced the films of Noah Baumbach:
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
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,
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
But when it came to the art heroes who let me down,
Director Brian De Palma followed Carrie with another gory vaunt into the supernatural. Here's why The Fury deserves a revisit...
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,
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
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.
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.
Vilmos Zsigmond, with fellow cinematographer Yuri Neyman (Liquid Sky) founded the Global Cinematography Institute in 2012. Two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler for Hal Ashby's
News of Zsigmond’s passing was confirmed by his long-time business partner Yuri Neyman, revealing that the Oscar-winner died on Friday in Big Sur, California.
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
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.
Zsigmond and Kovács got their foothold shooting B-movies under the Americanised names William Zsigmond and Leslie Kovacs before they embarked on more illustrious projects.
Zsigmond’s career spanned collaborations with Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma and Woody Allen.
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.
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