Monday, September 2, 2013

Passion (2012)

WHO: Brian De Palma directed this.

WHAT: I have not seen Passion or the Alain Corneau film it was based on (Love Crime) but I love what De Palma had to say when Fernando F. Croce asked him what drew him to remake the latter film:
I liked the way of the plot. I liked the power struggles between the main characters. I didn't like the way Corneau revealed the murder, but that's okay, because if we're planning on remaking a film, then let's remake one that has room for improvement.
It seems to me this is exactly the right attitude for a director to take toward a remake: with confidence that he or she can improve on the original. Then again, De Palma is no stranger to other common approaches as well: the Hollywoodization of a well-known commercial property (The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible), the reconfiguring of setting and character of a respected classic (Scarface), and even the oblique homage that isn't quite a remake but resembles one (Blow Out from Blow-Up, Obsession, Dressed to Kill, etc. from the collected works of Alfred Hitchcock). As a De Palma fan I'm interested in all of these approaches, and am very excited to finally see Passion a year after its world premiere.

WHERE/WHEN: Screens multiple times daily only at the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael today through Thursday September 5, and at 2:45 and 7:00 at the Castro Theatre only on September 4 & 5.

WHY: I don't know why the Rafael is the only Frisco Bay theatre showing Passion for an entire week-long run (which began this past Friday), but it ought to be a good place to see it, with its 4K digital projection. It's also the only cinema where it's possible to see David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints now that the latter has left San Francisco and Berkeley theatres. Of course the Rafael is preparing to be one of the main venues for the Mill Valley Film Festival in October, which is slowly revealing a few of its programming selections. Since I last checked in on this subject, it's been announced that filmmaker Costa-Gavras will be present at the venue October 4 for a tribute and screening of his latest film Capital, and that on September 17th, a couple weeks prior to the festival's official start date, the U.S. Public Premiere of Metallica Through The Never will occur there. 

But since San Rafael is out of my way, I'm very glad that the Castro will also be screening Passion this week, if only for two days. I find it a little delicious that the venue has booked a De Palma film to screen so shortly after its (approximately) annual 70mm presentation of Vertigo, which ends with three showings there today. Any De Palma fan knows that Hitchcock is the director's biggest cinematic inspiration, and Vertigo in particular (along with Psycho and Rear Window) frequently alluded to in his filmmaking style and content.

HOW: Passion is (as far as I know) only being distributed on DCP. It was shot on 35mm but I've yet to hear so much as a rumor of a physical exhibition print existing. The Castro screenings pair it with 35mm screenings of prior De Palma films, however; Dressed to Kill on Wednesday, Sep. 4 and Femme Fatale on Thursday, Sep. 5.


  1. Brian: I've written both the Canadian and U.S. distributors of Passion to hear if they have a 35mm copy or will at some point for those in North America who want to see the film the right way, I'll let you know but so far no one has gotten back. By the way I loved the Corneau (I think he's an underrated director) and put it on my top ten for that year.

  2. Let me know if you hear anything or anyone else about that, Larry. But I wouldn't get my hopes up. It's a shame that De Palma's bad experience at the New York Film Festival last year attending the premiere only to have the DCP malfunction, wasn't able to spur a distribution print.