Saturday, November 2, 2013

Decode the Dream,Solve the Crime: Brian De Palma's Passion

Remember how Rebecca Romijn watches Stanwyck in Double Indemnity at the beginning of Femme Fatale, as if taking notes? The characters in Passion have taken notes from Femme Fatale: an abstraction based on a fiction based on a fantasy.  -  Daniel Kasman

Brian De Palma's new film Passion might at first have you wondering to yourself "Why am I watching this?". at first the film has a LifeTime movie atmosphere but as the film moves past this LifeTime atmosphere and sharply begins to morph into a perverted dark world that is full of cynical characters. I guess the closest this in comparison would be some of the works of David Lynch, especially Mulholan Drive. The suspense is the work of fantasy and dreams, just like how agent Cooper says in Twin Peaks " Decode the dream, solve the crime" 

De Palma has said that he want's to become the "American Godard". He is championed by the Vulgar Autuer criticts and while watching Passion you can see why. In some ways he is the most Vulgar of these directors reminding me of Paul Verhoeven if his films were consulted by Hitchcok. 

The film's themes have most in common with Olivier Assayas' "EruoTrash" Trilogy ( Demonlover, Closer, Boarding Gate). De Palma is obsessed with technology and global capitalism and there are littereally phones recording everybody everywhere. The Locations are in the non-spaces that Steven Shaviro talks about in his essay on the film Boarding Gate in the book Post Cinematic Affect. Non-space's being , in what anthropologist Marc Auge describes as being places of transience like motel rooms, airports, corporate centers, places that don't hold on the the significance of being a "place".

Passion and Femme Fatale have a certain kinship to J.G. Ballard novels. I specifically thought of this while watching Femme Fatale and how the beginning suspence scene takes place at the Cannes Film Festival just like the beginning of the last act is Ballard's swan song Super Cannes. I like this notion of Cannes being some sort of center stage of neo capitalist culture, teetering on the edge and potential violence happening behind every closed door. 

Passion will be playing at the Cleveland Cinematheque at 7:30  11/2