Surveillance

The Conversation

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For many people, privacy is a matter of being able to speak one’s mind or exchange ideas without the fear of consequences.  However, our actions always have consequences.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the stunning motion picture, The Conversation.  This seemingly quiet ode to secrets and security, from 1974, was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  The plot centers on a surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) and the moral dilemma he faces when the recordings he makes reveal a potential murder.  In discussing the film, Coppola often cited Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up as a key influence.  However, since the film was released to theaters just a few months before the resignation of Richard Nixon as president, many observers saw The Conversation as a reaction to the Watergate scandal, and even a cautionary tale on the limits of what we can know.

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