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The Reeler Blog

The Drama of De Palma

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Covering the New York Film Festival requires tough choices -- like the one I faced yesterday that ultimately placed me in Catherine Breillat's hotel room while Brian De Palma was meeting the press about Redacted over at the Walter Reade Theater. But now, thanks to Ray Pride and Jurgen Fauth, we can have the best of both worlds -- in words and pictures!

First, the video, which Fauth caught and uploaded over at his Muckworld blog. Jump forward to the 10:40 mark for the call-and-response between De Palma -- who claims the gruesome death-photo montage that ends the film has itself been unjustifiably redacted at the insistence of executive producer Mark Cuban -- and Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles, who attempts to articulate the distributor's legal issues. Then it gets boring for a while (though someone does offer the mildly amusing inquiry, "Did you intend to make a horror film for hipsters?"), and then ex-HDNet boss Jason Kliot actually climbs onstage to further detail Cuban's position. Just watch it:

I know what you're thinking: "What a set-up." I remain skeptical myself, but over at Movie City Indie, where Ray Pride yesterday blogged an account by NYFF gadfly Jamie Stuart, an upset Bowles responded in decidedly unequivocal terms:

the sole reason that the photos are redacted, is that it is legally indefensible to use someone's unauthorized photo in a commercial work. any claim to the contrary is either hopelessly naive or willfully false. And any indemnification does not preclude getting sued, and considering the asset bases of cuban and wagner versus depalma, there's no issue about who's purses will be attacked (not to mention the presumption of agreeing to the image of one of your loved one's mutilated body living on in the world wide media). the fact of the matter is, none of the companies that have released depalma's work in the last 30 years would ever touch this film. and because our company, which has had it's fair share of controversial, uncompromising films, actually was the one stupid/brave/committed enough to do so, we end up being the evil force trying to shut down a director's vision. file this under no good deed goes unpunished.

Showdown or not, consider it mission accomplished: I doubt we've heard the end of this one.

Posted at October 9, 2007 3:29 PM

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