Capital Celluloid 2024 — Day 109: Thu Apr 18

Blow Out (De Palma, 1981): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This is a 35mm presentation.

Full review here:
Blow Out
is among Brian De Palma's very best films. It entertains a close relation with a very strong (and better respected) American film of the '70s, Francis Coppola's The Conversation (1974). Both these films are about the art and the act of sound recording; both are about the uncovering of conspiracies. Through The Conversation, De Palma reaches back to Michelangelo Antonioni's famous (and somewhat overrated) Blow Up (1966), where it was still photography that inadvertently uncovered a mystery. All three films trace a sad arc of failure: the conspirators rise up and crush the would-be everyday investigators, with their cameras and sound recording machines. All are about the treachery of appearances, and the ease with which technological evidence can be tampered with (photos can be falsified, audiotapes can be erased), something which usually happens mysteriously, off-screen, in the dead of night. Finally, all three films, from the '60s to the '80s mark a certain kind of moral, or rather amoral mood. Their heroes, whether played by David Hemmings (Blow Up), Gene Hackman (The Conversation) or John Travolta (Blow Out), tend to have pretty soft, flabby, moral senses to begin with – they're cool, indifferent, cruising, sometimes repressing very effectively some past crisis or trauma. And although fate spurs all three into some daring action, they eventually take the blows of the world as some kind of sad, tragic or just matter-of-fact confirmation that no ordinary person can effect or change anything in this dirty world – so you may as well sink back into sloth, and keep drifting off to the big sleep.
Adrian Martin

Here (and above) is the trailer.

No comments: