Friday, September 7, 2012

Brian de Palma's Passion in Venice



(Venice, Italy) Brian de Palma says that Passion is a woman's film. Perhaps that's true, since several of the reviews I've read that were written by men are scathing. I thought the chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace was real and dynamic. From the production notes, de Palma responds:

With the sexy scenes and provocative dialogue, is the film an erotic thriller?

It's hard to say. In the original movie [the 2010 French film Crime d'Amour] Alain Corneau tiptoed around the sexual attraction between the characters. But Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams played it straight out. I did not say to them: "kiss each other and be erotic." They just did it. And it was quite effective.  


Still, there is the shower scene, the black underwear, the sex toys, which are part of your film's DNA. Are you a voyeur like some of your protagonists?

As I said over and over again, I prefer photographing women than men. And here we have absolutely drop dead gorgeous women who were not afraid of nudity. However, this film is about women, but it is also for women, which is why I wanted to make it more elegant and refrained. The same goes for violence: I did not make it too explicit because women are turned off by it.


Even though Passion is billing itself as "an erotic thriller in the tradition of 'Dressed to Kill' and 'Basic Instinct,' it's way too campy for that. But if you look at the film from a steamy romance-novel point of view, it works. I could definitely see it as a cult chick flick, a Fifty Shades of Grey kinda thing, a girl's night out -- and that's how I would market it.

I grew up with Brian de Palma movies playing in the background. Back in 1974, Brian de Palma had directed one of my absolute favorite films, Phantom of the Paradise. I was living in California and must have seen that film a dozen times; it was a cult classic. A couple years later, I was an extra in Robert Zemeckis' first feature film I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Nancy Allen, who was a little bit older than me, played one of the four leads. I was actually kind of a "special" extra. I worked every day, and I had specific action to do, but no lines; it was my first time on a movie set. So, Nancy Allen made a big impression on me.

Then, Nancy Allen married Brian de Palma! He seemed so old for her back then, but now I see he was only ten years her senior -- he will be 72-years-old on Tuesday, September 11th. He sexed up her and stuck her in films like Dressed to Kill, eroticizing his wife with great success like only a Catholic man can.

Rachel McAdams
Nancy Allen

Anyway, something about Rachel McAdams reminds me of Nancy Allen thirty-five years ago.

Noomi Rapace
 I thought Noomi Rapace was terrific. She said she knew she was playing an emotionally disturbed woman who was cracked inside, and actually had her character's illness diagnosed by a psychiatrist. She said the part got into her brain and her soul, and gave her crazy dreams -- when you see the film, you will understand exactly what she means.

The film is set in an international advertising agency in Berlin, which I thought worked extremely well. I loved the euro-look; the fashion; the 'tude. Change the marketing and you can get the girls out to the theaters just to look at the sex toys and cartoon-kink.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Even though Passion is billing itself as "an erotic thriller in the tradition of 'Dressed to Kill' and 'Basic Instinct,' it's way too campy for that. But if you look at the film from a steamy romance-novel point of view, it works. I could definitely see it as a cult chick flick, a Fifty Shades of Grey kinda thing, a girl's night out -- and that's how I would market it.

    ReplyDelete