Corporal Moddie! wrote:I can quite see why The Conversation is often the Coppola film of choice for cinestes, it's certainly the most subtle thing he's done and the closest thing to a European art movie. In fact it's hard to place in his ouevre, it is spartan and low key; a marked contrast to his usual extravagant style. Amazing how well it conveys the paranoid Watergate zeitgeist of the time.
If I'm being honest it is a little too cold and remote for it to be my own favourite, but it is a very interesting film.
Like Marios, I saw this film in a new print at the cinema and it was probably one of the films that changed the way I viewed (and heard) them. You've mentioned before how it's very 'locked into its misanthropy,' but I think that's the most fascinating aspect of it, the premise of it is at once incredibly tense and utterly banal in terms of action and the accumulating details seem to make the film seem more enigmatic, rather than less so.
Of course the key scene is where Hackman finally realises what the pair were actually saying (or more accurately, the emphasis on the words, because he hears the line exactly, he just can't pick up the intonation), but I think my favourite scene is the closer, with Hackman reduced to searching for a 'bug' that may or may not have been planted in his house, just the way he completely unravels, yet still tries to maintain some form of control. I think a modern director (say Christopher Nolan, for example) would've played around with the framing of that scene a lot, maybe even jumbled the chronology, whereas here the camera seems to stay completely trained on the location, almost as unblinking and remote as the protagonist. I found the scene oddly moving, actually, or at least quite sad.
As for the film's influences, I wouldn't put it past Coppola taking some of his cues from Blow Up
, both are concerned with the nature of perception (in Blow Up
's case it's what Hemmings's photographer may or may not have seen), although The Conversation
has a resolution of sorts (though you're left in the dark as to what will happen to Hackman's character)
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.