Q&A with Brian De Palma, who features a ballet sequence in his new picture, "Passion."
The ballet sequence is a highlight of the film. It reminded me of when Francis Ford Coppola placed a ballet scene in Tetro. In both cases it seemed there was a purpose beyond them just fitting in the films. Was that the case?
It's interesting you bring that up, because what I find interesting about Francis’s film, as well as Marty [Scorsese], is they all go back to The Red Shoes. When I saw Tetro you could see the influence of The Red Shoes in there, and Marty is a great admirer of the film; he did a fantastic restoration. And it's one of the most important films in my life. I saw it when I was very young. So the ballet for a movie director is all just motion and music, and I'd always liked Jerome Robbins’s Afternoon of a Faun and wanted to use it somehow. When I saw Love Crime, and Corneau had Isabelle going to the movies, I said, “Why doesn't she go to the ballet?” It's something I had never done before, but I liked thematically the sexual interplay between the dancers and what's going on with Rachel and her waiting for her lover.
"That was the most fun thing for me, because I love that ballet, and I had a chance to re-create it with an extraordinary dancer (Polina Semionova) now dancing with the American Ballet Theater, and this juxtaposing this fabulous Jerome Robbins ballet against the murder," De Palma said from his home in New York. "I'd never done anything like that before, and it created a tremendous aesthetic challenge. I thought it worked out quite well."