Archive for February 13th, 2011

February 13, 2011

The Brian DePalma Film Club

by Sara Gran
phantom of the paradise

I hereby bring to order the first meeting of the Semi-Official Abbott Gran Medicine Show Brian DePalma Movie Club.

I love Brian DePalma. But the first thing I want to say about Brian DePalma, just to get this out of the way, is that he’s made some abysmally awful movies. In addition to brilliant little nightmares like Blow-Out and Body Double, it’s true he’s also responsible for Phantom of the Paradise, a movie so awful it’s hard to believe it’s real. I mean, if you were to watch in a theatre with friends and drugs it might be good-awful, but if you try to watch it home like a regular movie it’s just so awful you’ll think you took drugs. Bad ones. And of course there’s the big Hollywood mistakes like The Black Dahlia.

That doesn’t make him a lesser filmmaker to me. Instead, to me, it makes him a brave and admirable artist. You can’t make art/entertainment that matters unless you’re willing to take risks. And when you take risks, by definition, you sometimes fail. It takes courage to do that, and I admire courage. I also know, from experience of working in the arts for nearly twenty years now, that a willingness to fail is the only way you come to create anything worthwhile. I respect and learn from Brian DePalma, with a few incredibly shitty movies under his belt, about a thousand times more than Steven Spielberg, who has delivered us a lifetime of mediocrity and safety (thanks, Steven!).

I will start with THE FURY, which I have at home now from Netflix and will watch over the weekend. Unfortunately it looks like some of his best films are hard to come by on DVD, but we will soldier on nonetheless. Film Club Members, we will meet up one day here next week to discuss the Furyand the awesomeness of DePalma in general. Decoder rings and badges to follow. Any takers?

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