Friday, October 2, 2015

DePalma (2015) New York Film Festival 2015

Baumbach, De Palma and Paltrow at the conclusion of the NYFF screening
Jake Paltrow and Noah Baumbach sat Brian De Palma down and talked to him for five days about his films and films in general. When they did it they weren't sure what they were going to do with it, they simply wanted to record all of the stories they had heard over the years. Eventually they decided to put it together as a film for the world to see.

The film is De Palma sitting in a chair talking for almost two hours about his life, his films and his influences. Its filled with film clips and stories and the man himself holding court. Its a great ride.

This is De Palma's story and if the details aren't always 100% true, they are the one's that he remembers. I say that because Baumbach in the post film screening at the New York Film Festival inferred that's the case. I haven't fact checked it but I suspect it's probably true because we all get things wrong, that doesn't mean it's not a great story.

The film itself is a great deal of breezy fun as De Palma talks about the films he's made and the careers he started (say Robert DeNiro). The film is full of great stories about how and why films were made and cast-DePalma takes great jot in making fun of Cliff Robertson in OBSESSION who was unnaturally tan and worked to derail his co-stars. The film is also a kick as primer on why some films work, some don't and why things get made or never see the light of day as De Palma explains why films went as they did.

The problem  with the film is that he's made so many films over the years that there is a great deal left out. Some stories say some of the yelling over REDACTED is never mentioned and some films are barely mentioned. PASSION is only noticed via a film clip (though to be fair the recording was done five years ago according to the Q&A so PASSION wasn't made yet). I want to see the unedited material which I suspect has many hours of great-and probably unpublishable stories.

This is a really good film about a great filmmaker. Its a really fun look at Hollywood via an outsider who is sometimes an insider. Definitely a must see for anyone who loves films.

(A word of warning - if you don't know DePalma's films you may end up a little lost since the films are not put into context nor are their plots revealed. At the same time in a couple of cases the twist endings of his films are revealed- so this film may act as a spoiler.)

The NYFF screening is done. It is due for a release soon from A24

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