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Wednesday, July 15, 2015
AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY ON 'BLOW OUT'
FOCUS ON LINKS/CONTRAST BETWEEN ZAPRUDER FILM & WATERGATE TAPES; ALSO ARGENTO/HITCHCOCK/ANTONIONI

That Synching Feeling from Insane Horizon on Vimeo.

In the audiovisual essay above, That Synching Feeling, Yusef Sayed focuses on the way that Brian De Palma's Blow Out is concerned with synching sound and vision, and how two key references (the Zapruder film and the Watergate tapes) each lack either audio or image, respectively. Along the way, Sayed also includes riffs on three films that strike him when thinking about Blow Out (read about those below or in Sayed's accompanying tumblr text). Don't expect to find any references to Chappaquiddick or The Conversation here, but what is here is rather interesting, nonetheless. Here is an excerpt (all but the first two paragraphs) from Sayed's essay (or read the entire essay at the Insane Horizon tumblr) :

"Jack Terry’s desire to prove beyond question that Governor McRyan was murdered depends on his ability to reconcile image and sound; to succeed where the Zapruder film and the Watergate tapes failed; to provide as full an account of the event as possible, to resolve as many unanswered questions as he can. But does truth really exist at the point of sychronisation? The irony is that Jack himself makes his living by fabricating reality, dubbing heterogenous audio onto low budget exploitation films. This paradox is what structures That Synching Feeling. The eyes and ears must strive to put things into place.

"It draws upon two key cinematic influences, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-up (1966) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (1954) and source materials relating to the political events described. It handles these different materials in a way that reflects the techniques of Jack’s own working practice. Sound is aligned precariously with image and at times it will fool the viewer. We are displaced from one reality to another, as we are in the opening moments of Blow Out when the slasher pic we are immersed in is suddenly revealed to be the film that Jack is currently foleying for.

"The essay calls for the viewer to question what they are seeing and what they are hearing, to notice a detail that might stick out – a punctum, in Barthes’s term – a sudden puncture, that impacts on our senses and creates meaningful engagement with the matter at hand. All the while it aims to put all the pieces together into a meaningful whole; to create a pattern; to create resonances; to reconstitute a stable order amidst the violence and lies, with attention to shot composition, camera movement and gesture, aural echoes.

"Surprising connections are also presented, of a sort that might thrill a conspiracy theorist – or an auteurist, seeing links, intentional or not, among the works of their favourite directors in an attempt to root out some sort of consistent voice: There’s the fact that Jack is an audio specialist who finds himself in the middle of a political murder; that a professional drummer named Steve Barber heard police radio frequency recordings from Dealey Plaza, released on a ‘paper record’ with an issue of Gallery magazine in 1979, and was prompted to develop his own view on the assassination of JFK; that a drummer, too, is at the centre of another murder mystery, Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) – directed by Dario Argento, whose style bears intriguing similarities with some of De Palma’s best work – moments of which echo Blow Out; that Jackie Kennedy’s last words to her husband were 'Jack, can you hear me?' a line of dialogue which also appears in Blow Out.

"That Synching Feeling is intended to enter the world of the film and to immerse the viewer in the shifting realities, the doubts, the history, the fabrications, secrets and the melancholy that it evokes."


Posted by Geoff at 8:22 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, July 16, 2015 1:02 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015
'BLOW OUT' JULY 4 @ THE NEW BEV, MIDNIGHT

Posted by Geoff at 10:54 PM CDT
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Monday, May 25, 2015
CHASSOL RECALLS DONAGGIO'S 'BLOW OUT' SCORE
FOR SONG COLLABORATION WITH FRANK OCEAN
French pianist Christophe Chassol was interviewed recently on Gilles Peterson's BBC Radio 6 Music show, and talked about working on Frank Ocean's new album, which will be released in July. NME's Luke Morgan Britton transcribed part of the interview, including this bit in which Chassol talks about what it was like to work in the studio with Ocean: "The guy is smart. He’s really smart. The way he works in the studio is really cool. He has a printer, he has a lot of pictures of architecture, contemporary art, a lot of pictures of different kinds of things. So we start to work on a track and he says, this track is this - that car that you can see. He makes me work on a song, and I'm like, 'oh this sounds like Pino Donaggio's score for Blow Out, by Brian De Palma'. I start to work on a song and five minutes later on the pro-tools screen you have the movie, the score, stretched to fit the song - just to try. I’ve never worked with that much money in music. It's good sometimes to have money, because you can try things."

Elsewhere in the BBC interview, Chassol tells Peterson that he likes classic film composers such as Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, and Peterson plays a cue from Goldsmith's acore for Planet Of The Apes, which Chassol says is his favorite. Chassol tells Peterson that aside from Jonny Greenwood and Alexandre Desplat, the composers working today do not really compare with the older ones.

Posted by Geoff at 5:57 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 21, 2015
'BLOW OUT' THURSDAY NIGHT IN ASHEVILLE, NC
HOSTED BY XPRESS MOVIE CRITICS KEN HANKE & JUSTIN SOUTHER


Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 2, 2015
A STRIP OF 'LAWRENCE OF ARABIA' ON 70MM
REMINDS OF THE STORY BEHIND 'BLOW OUT'
The Criterion Collection posted this photo on its Facebook page today, showing someone holding up a film strip from David Lean's Lawrence Of Arabia. It reminded me of Brian De Palma talking about the formation of the ideas that led to Blow Out. And it seems rather timely, after yesterday's post of audio between De Palma and Noah Baumbach, to post the following link and excerpt from someone who saw and heard Baumbach introduce a screening of Blow Out as part of BAMcinématek's De Palma retrospective in 2011 (it was around this time that De Palma's film was released as part of the Criterion Collection, and included, as one of its bonus features, Baumbach interviewing De Palma about the film).

Here's the excerpt from 2 Or 3 Things I Know About Film:

Before the screening of BLOW OUT, Noah Baumbach offered some interesting stories about his experiences with Brian De Palma. According to him, the idea for BLOW OUT came about when De Palma was doing some sound editing. Apparently, in order to separate sound effects on a reel, film was spliced in between each sound. Upon examining a reel closer, De Palma found that cut-up film from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (a film he cites as one of his favorites) was being used as this garbage filler. Therefore, applying this to BLOW OUT, something of great importance (much like De Palma’s discovery of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, in this instance) can be found in between sounds, just like the gunshot within the context of his own film. Also, Baumbach said the scenes within the recording studio in BLOW OUT were also inspired by a real event where De Palma was sick of using the same old sound effects for his films, and wanted something fresh to work with. This is similar to the wind sound effect and the scream in the opening scene. And, if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know that the “need” for this new scream sound effect shows up at the end.

Posted by Geoff at 11:49 PM CDT
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015
'CANON' PODCAST MAKES CASE FOR 'BLOW OUT'
DEVIN FARACI & AMY NICHOLSON WELCOME GUEST JEREMY SMITH TO TALK ABOUT DE PALMA


The Canon is a podcast that premiered last November in which Badass Digest's Devin Faraci and L.A. Weekly's Amy Nicholson discuss a movie with the aim of deciding whether or not it should be included in "The Canon" of the greatest films of all time. Sometimes the two disagree fervently, but not always. This week, they invited "Mr. Beaks" himself, Jeremy Smith, who chose Brian De Palma's Blow Out as the film up for discussion. And it is a lively discussion, touching on other De Palma films, his style, his themes, etc. All three are very positive about the film, and eager to talk about it. There's an interesting back-and-forth about style, and how much is too much. Well worth a listen, and afterward, listeners can have their say about whether Blow Out belongs in "The Canon" by commenting here.
(Thanks to Andreas!)

Posted by Geoff at 12:33 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015
CRITICWIRE LOOKS AT 'BLOW OUT'
"CLASSIC OF THE WEEK"
IndieWire's "Criticwire Classic of the Week", posted earlier today, is Brian De Palma's Blow Out. "John Travolta is presenting at the Oscars this weekend," writes Max O'Connell, "no doubt in an attempt to make fun of that 'Adele Dazeem' slip-up that stopped being funny about a week after it happened. Before he became an irrepressible ham and punchline with questionable taste in scripts, however, Travolta was one of the most exciting stars to emerge in years, and he got the best showcase for his talents in Brian De Palma's masterpiece Blow Out. Mixing the hooks of Antonioni's Blow-Up (murder mystery caught via photograph) and Coppola's The Conversation (murder plot uncovered via sound recording), De Palma made his best film about the power and the limits of film and voyeurism, as well as his most emotionally devastating work." O'Connell writes a bit more about the film, and then includes excerpts from several reviews of Blow Out over the years.

Posted by Geoff at 11:46 PM CST
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Monday, February 9, 2015
'BLOW OUT' TUESDAY AT TRYLON IN MINNEAPOLIS
PART OF MASTERPIECES OF PARANOIA SERIES IN FEBRUARY
This month, the Trylon microcinema in Minneapolis is running a series called "Masterpieces Of Paranoia" on Mondays and Tuesdays. This week's film is Brian De Palma's Blow Out, which screened last night and tonight (Monday and Tuesday, February 9 & 10) in 35mm. The film will play at 7pm and 9pm. The other films in the series are John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (which kicked things off last week), Alan J. Pakula's All The President's Men (Feb. 16 & 17), and Sydney Pollack's Three Days Of The Condor (Feb. 23 & 24).

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 12:03 AM CST
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Sunday, January 18, 2015
ALLEN, TRAVOLTA, ZSIGMOND & HIRSCH REUNITED
YESTERDAY, FOR DOC ABOUT CAREER OF VILMOS ZSIGMOND


Nancy Allen shared three pics from the set of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on her Facebook page today (the pics were originally posted to Facebook by Marc Olry). Allen then added a comment to her post, writing, "Wonderful reunion yesterday with John Travolta, Vilmos Zsigmond and Paul Hirsch. We were filming part of a documentary about the extraordinary talent and career of Vilmos Zsigmond."

Posted by Geoff at 5:22 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 18, 2015 5:24 PM CST
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Sunday, October 26, 2014
'CROSS-CUT' VIDEO ESSAY BY DREW MORTON
BEAUTIFULLY EXPLORES CONNECTIONS BETWEEN 'BLOW-UP', 'THE CONVERSATION', 'BLOW OUT'

CROSS-CUT from Drew Morton on Vimeo.


Posted by Geoff at 6:49 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 26, 2014 6:52 PM CDT
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