Friday, September 12, 2008

Black + White Friday: Femme Fatale

Inspired by My New Plaid Pants' tribute to Brian De Palma, I thought I'd take a look at one of my absolute favourite De Palma flicks, the much-maligned Femme Fatale. What with it's bountiful hidden clues and amazing setpieces. So, basically like a lot of De Palma's critically lambasted flicks then. Femme Fatale is just pure crazy though. It has two title cards (one for a completely different movie) and it has so many "# Years Later" subtitles that you just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

In the title card up the top, it is only the opening credit sequence and Brian De Palma is already laying it on thick. Images upon images, layers upon layers, Romijn-Stamon upon Double Indemnity. While De Palma surely was having delusions of grandeur if he thought Femme Fatale was to be compared to that film noir classic, he gets props for being crazy and ballsy to not only allude to Double Indemnity, but to feature the film's ending in the opening sequence of his movie.

Somebody is always watching and taking photographs. Just one of the many aspects of the movie is that of privacy and how we don't have any left, but also how this very fact can be manipulated and turned to our advantage.

De Palma always does good opening scenes (even dud movies like Snake Eyes have thrilling opening passages) and I love how this heist sequence at the Cannes Film Festival (set to the music of "Bolero") even has this brief echo to Carrie with it's female hands seemingly lost in the steam (of course, it's just a frosted glass window and the girl is in the throes of a lesbian make-out session, so...)

I just really liked this shot.

For such a high profile director, Brian De Palma sure does wear his inspirations proudly. Not one to shy away from not only referencing, but outright stealing from the likes of Hitchcock. Nevertheless, it always feels fresh coming from De Palma yet if it were almost any other director it would come across as silly and unoriginal. Funny that.

Having watching this movie several times, it still tickles me pink to see De Palma being so obvious with his clues. Deja vu, indeed. Having said that, Antonio Bandares is definitely the weakest part of the film.

Camera lights always provide interesting images in this series due to the high contrast, but this one is especially interesting in that the two people that the light is reflecting off seem like otherworldly ghost figures jumping out the viewers. In fact, they remind me of these two characters from another noir-inspired flick.

Feels like a classically framed image, no?

Man, is there anything quite as beautiful as Paris in black and white? Absolutely gorgeous.

Well done to me on getting a screengrab from this sequence that doesn't show any of Romijn's naughty bits (and they are on full display). I almost expect her character to swim to the top of the water and start doing some Busby Berkeley choreographed dance/swim routine featuring a plethora of other swim dancers all wearing completely impractical outfits.

I reckon this moment looks like she's sitting peacefully in the middle of space and all these beautiful stars are raining down on her - didn't that happen in The Fountain at some stage, too?

Absolutely gorgeous.

No comments: