In the annals of Hollywood film since the artistic glories of the New Hollywood era, few have a better reputation and body of work in the field of suspense films exploring the contemporary darkness in American life than Brian De Palma. Here, the great film writer and director takes, us in his own words, through his professional life and a career that redefined film horror and suspense. All the while, he also confesses the challenges of working in Hollywood and the price even the great artists pay for being a part of it. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Co-director Jake Paltrow on who he made De Palma (2015) for: "For us at first, since we didn't even know if it would be a movie. I think we just spent so much time with Brian and our friendship grew in a way where we realized this would be so valuable if he spoke to us on camera the way he speaks to us at dinner because what he's talking about, and the way he talks about it, is so compelling. I think in the beginning it really was for us. And once he turned it on in a way that was just as compelling and electric on camera as it is in person having dinner with him did we realize this is movie-grade stuff. This is beyond just us recording this thing selfishly, this is probably something that lots of people would be interested in, even if they don't necessarily know Brian's movies."  See more »
Alexander Mackendrick's classic Sweet Smell of Success is wrongly credited as The Sweet Smell of Success. See more »
Brian De Palma is one of those directors whose films are very polarizing (with a few exceptions, of course). Being that he no longer works within the Hollywood establishment and his output has been drastically reduced, I guess a documentary will have to do. And boy, what a documentary! Still, the word 'documentary' doesn't really describe this film that well, since it's more like a one-on-one conversation. De Palma is very candid about his past and doesn't shy away from emphatically stating his opinions on people he's worked with and his own work. One thing that did surprise me was how little Hitchcock, his clearest influence, was brought up. Not a criticism, just an observation. Clips from VERTIGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and REAR WINDOW are shown, though, in the context of techniques or stylistic features that De Palma learned from them. If anything, the range of artistic influences was much wider than I had ever realized before. Even if he never made another film, De Palma has left behind an incredible body of work that deserves serious study and consideration, and this documentary fills a void for everyone. It provides a nice retrospective for those already familiar and, for those not, a great place to start.
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