“De Palma” Review

30 January, 2017

Directors: Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow 
Starring: Brian De Palma

Synopsis: A comprehensive interview with filmmaker Brian De Palma who trawls through his entire back catalogue of movies while musing over the struggles and triumphs of over half a century in the film industry.


 

De Palma Review:

Unmissable for film buffs young and old, “De Palma” is a magnificently assembled documentary from Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow who condense over fifty years of footage into a casual discussion about filmmaking practice and production. While the creators energetically piece together stacks of footage, Brian De Palma recounts the story of his filmography while making warm references to ‘Bobby’ (De Niro), ‘Marty’ (Scorsese), ‘Benny’ (Bernard Herrmann) and dozens of other film industry icons with the same fondness as an ageing man recalling fantastical tales from his youth.

Like a vibrant Film Studies lecturer, De Palma talks about his movies in a perceptive manner, focusing on both the macro and micro elements that make up his career while making affectionate nods towards his major influences. Confirming his love for Hitchcock, Godard, and Antonioni, De Palma unpacks the technical side of things, commenting on his use of framing, split-screen, and the long take alongside an assessment of the emotion that goes into his unique breed of visual storytelling.

Acknowledging his position as a polarising director within the world of film, De Palma uses his incredible memory to validate both his successes and his failures with a cynical yet always passionate perspective on the unexpected nature of the movie-making business. Like his own biographer, De Palma’s mind sifts through the past, conjuring up bizarre stories about veteran actors refusing to learn their lines and unexpected cult movies like “Scarface” going on to influence an entire era of Hip-Hop music. “De Palma” is a film about a man who learned from the best and one who knows how to create texture out of suspense or overplay theatrics with buckets of blood. A rewatch of many of his classics is a compulsory follow-up to this wonderful documentary.

 

   

Summary
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De Palma
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