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Domino is
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straight-forward"
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us to reexamine our
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-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
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I was not involved
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mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
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De Palma/Lehman
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in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

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"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
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Monday, January 10, 2022
'SENSATIONALISM VS. REALITY' IN 'BLOW OUT'
AT THE SMART SET, MATT HANSON LOOKS AT DE PALMA'S FILM, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY CAMILLE VELASQUEZ
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/smartsetblowout.jpg

"Blow Out might be the greatest film De Palma ever made," states Matt Hanson in the opening paragraphs of an article posted today at The Smart Set, "and it grows increasingly relevant in its unsentimental wariness about the potential for hidden forces at work through the highly charged space where media and politics meet. Blow Out contains premonitions galore about where conspiratorial thinking, and the technology that encourages it, ultimately leads us."

Here's an excerpt:

As a character, Terry is defined by his capacity to listen. His professional responsibility is to capture sounds that most people would either not notice or otherwise ignore. Terry’s receptivity is similar to the forever wired, content-soaked world of today, where we’re constantly getting information stimulation from everywhere, all the time. It’s been widely remarked that the ubiquity of cell phones and social media allow us all to become amateur filmmakers, eagerly posting the daily rushes of our lives for public consumption. But we shouldn’t assume that this constant videotaping of the world around us will make us wiser. As Blow Out reminds us, just because you get something important on tape doesn’t mean that people will listen.

If anything, recent history has demonstrated that, alas, mere documentation isn’t proof. Orwell once said that seeing what’s directly in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle. If anything, that’s even truer now. Anyone can choose to see what they want to see in a certain picture or video, especially if they have an agenda or a preconceived notion of how they are supposed to respond. How visual information gets processed, and who decides how it’s interpreted, all too often ends up as more fodder for our national melodrama — another exciting plot twist in an interactive live socio-political soap opera that never ends because secretly, whether they want to admit it or not, nobody wants it to.

When Blow Out was released, paranoia and conspiracy theories tended to trend left. De Palma himself explained that he became obsessed with the Kennedy assassination and its disturbingly incomplete official narrative about who was where when: “the more you blow it up, the less clear it becomes.” Assuming that operatives are trying to influence elections and alter the country’s political life was, in hindsight, a very realistic response to the bright shining lies of Watergate and Vietnam.

The obsession with surveillance and how that purloined information is bent to the will of nefarious corporate or political actors was definitely a major theme in films of the late ’70s. Consider The Conversation, made by De Palma’s longtime friend Francis Ford Coppola, and Alan Pakula’s trilogy Klute, All The President’s Men, and The Parallax View, all of which interrogate who’s watching the watchers.

Now the tin foil hat points rightward. No doubt conspiracy theories exist on the left as well, but the right has openly mainstreamed its paranoia. Major figures promote it in campaign speeches, cite it in fundraising drives, and keep it circulating throughout their media echo chambers. Fast and loose, postmodern approaches to truth are no longer the purview of radical academics. Treating truth as a socially constructed puppet of power is a rhetorical gambit that routinely fills stadiums. “Alternative facts” will do just fine for an excited crowd that already knows what it wants to hear.

Yet maybe Terry’s solitary anguish, caught in the crossfire over who will get their hands on his recording, still contains a residue of hope. De Palma described Terry’s plight in self-sacrificial terms: “he has to sacrifice to solve this mystery that no one cares about.” Exactly. Terry loses his own peace of mind and the woman he loves precisely because of his idealistic refusal to ignore the empirical truth of what happened on that bridge.

It’s not just that Terry can’t bear to think of the darker implications of the recording, which are indeed troubling — he refuses to give up on what he knows to be true. He can’t understand why people want to accept the idea that no one else cares. Instead, Terry insists that his recording should be on the evening news. Terry’s not a particularly heroic figure — after all, he’s just a B movie hack who feels guilty over a mafia wiretap gone wrong — but nevertheless, he insists on committing to the truth even if no one else believes him or bothers to listen. This refusal to be gaslit is rather noble if a bit quixotic.


Posted by Geoff at 7:40 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post

Monday, January 10, 2022 - 8:00 PM CST

Name: "Harry Georgatos "

Time for a Blow Out reboot in today's technological landscape and geopolitical environment. Plus The Parallax View is being done as a limited series on Paramount Plus.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 7:24 AM CST

Name: "Raven Mockery"

This article makes sens. "Blow Out" is the antithesis of "All President's Men". Maybe Orwell was wrong. Our vicious and morbid indulgence in tools of surveillance and control has turned us all into "Big Brothers" and, as in "Phantom of the Paradise", the image of Swan is more important than the person himself, as on social networks today.  In "Blow Out" nobody cares about the conspiracy. There's this wonderful shot when Jack is running through the crowd that's there for fun. Among so many docile and unconscious people who nourish the celebration. But beyond the truth about a conspiracy that must be exploded, it is above all about the masochistic and destructive journey of a guy eaten away by guilt. Unconsciously, perhaps, he does everything he can to punish and destroy himself with the objects that he thinks he controls. Corso's death will dominate him until the end. It's not a coincidence that his car crashes into a window in which there is a hanged man. Everything is connected. And in this field, Brian De Palma is the best.

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