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June 1995, Week 3


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Edmond Chibeau <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 19 Jun 1995 12:19:00 -0500
text/plain (51 lines)
Don Larsson says
<Needless to say, the relevance of these audio cues isn't easily apparent on a
single viewing (or even after several), which has led a number of commentators
to remark that Coppola is engaging in a display of epistemological uncertainty,
not unlike Antonioni in BLOWUP--but he's not.  (At least, I don't think so!)>
I think Coppola is indeed <engaging in a display of epistemological
that is foregrounding epistemological questions.  But, as always with
Coppola there
is a huge ethical question.  For Antonioni's hero the existential alienation
is never quite broken through but in Coppola it gives way to concern for
human responsibility.
There is a big difference between the way they question the episteme.  If we
give a
close reading (or close listening) to Coppola's Conversation it all adds up,
it is *realistic* in that we (movie goers familliar with the Hollywood
protocols) can imagine that someone might hear within hisorher head
a conversation that had been previously heard on tape.   And that interior
might be mixed with live conversation from the room next door or anticipated
conversation of some time in the future.  But except for the fact that we
hear what
is going on inside the head of the protagonist it is within the rules of
physics and
perception as we know it in our quotidian world.
For Anotonioni (and Julio Cortasa sp?)there is the extra element
of the fact that the rules of physics are broken. Tennis balls don't appear
and disappear, we can't explain the sensory contradictions that had been
shown at an earlier point, it is fantastic. Of course Cortaza, who wrote the
of Blow Up, was influenced by South American literary traditions of
fantastic realism.
But both situations are diagetic, In *The Conversation*  the hero actually
hears and sees those things however difficult they may be for him to
understand; and in *Blow Up* the hero really sees those things, even if they
are contrary to the laws of physics.  In neither case are they non-diagetic
commentaries seen by the audience but not the characters.
[How does one spell Cortaxa? ]
Edmond Chibeau
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