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The Conversation. Regie: F.F. Coppola. VS, 1974, 113min.
Blu-ray screening

Met dit nog altijd (of juist nu meer dan ooit) actuele drama tast Francis Ford Coppola de morele grenzen van de privacy af. Gene Hackman vertolkt de rol van Harry Caul, een ervaren surveillance-expert in San Francisco. Een routineuze afluisterklus ontaardt echter in een morele nachtmerrie wanneer de paranoïde Harry tijdens het tapen van een jong koppeltje iets vreemds opvangt. Als hij de opnames aan zijn opdrachtgever doorspeelt, brengt hij hun leven in gevaar. Doet hij het niet, staat zijn eigen leven op het spel.

//ENGLISH//

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a devout Catholic and a lover of jazz music who plays his saxophone while listening to his records. He is a San Francisco-based electronic surveillance expert who owns and operates his own small surveillance business. He is renowned within the profession as being the best, one who designs and constructs his own surveillance equipment. He is an intensely private and solitary man in both his personal and professional life, which especially irks Stan, his business associate who often feels shut out of what is happening with their work. This privacy, which includes not letting anyone into his apartment and always telephoning his clients from pay phones, is in part intended to control what happens around him. His and Stan's latest job, a difficult one, is to record the private discussion of a young male/female couple meeting in crowded and noisy Union Square.

The scenes with the microphone pointing at the couple on the square are truly unique, and make The Conversation not only a cinematographic masterpiece, but also a sheer delight for anyone working with sound recording.

The arrangement with his client, known only to him as "the director", is to provide the audio recording of the last discussion of the couple.

Shot just between the two first Godfathers, The Conversation is maybe an atypical Coppola, since it lacks the focus on family. Yet, the obsessive nature of a solitary protgonist can be found in Coppola’s other masterpieces as well.

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