The Conversation dir. Francis Ford Coppola (C)
Blow Up dir. Michelangelo Antonioni (A)
Francis Coppola was inspired by Blow Up, and there are several elements in The Conversation that borrow from or pay homage to the Antonioni’s film.
Both films follow the same three-act story structure also know as the Hollywood Paradigm.
Similarities: both films have the same theme: “finding a clue in a detective story,” discovering a new reality.
Differences: one reality is true, objective, and philosophical (A); the other one is imaginary, subjective, and psychological, rooted the character flaw of the protagonist (C). One focuses on the visual image--picture (A), the other one of the aural image--sound (C).
True theme: privacy, eavesdropping on an eavesdropper, his personal life,
The differences between the media as the subject matter: visual (A) versus sound (C), determine the overall differences of the cinematic styles, camera work, and frame composition. Coppola uses a surveillance camera style, semi-documentary at times, always spying on the characters and action, Antonioni—a refined and stylized visual image very much reflective of highly artistic and refined still photography.
The camera is an eavesdropper, an automated eavesdropping device
Similarities: despite the differences in style, they both closely reflect the very character and profession of the protagonist. One is a surveillance expert (C), thus the surveillance camera; the other one is an accomplished still photographer (A), thus the artistically refined and stylized visual. Both the visual and the sound are manipulated and stylized in the respective films, visual in Antonioni’s and sound in Coppola’s.
Mise-en-scene and Editing
Despite the differences in the overall visual style, the key investigative scenes (discovering the clue) employ exactly the same blocking and visual narrative: progression of image sizes...
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