Friday, November 20, 2009

Cinematography - The Conversation

In The Conversation, The cinematography works to provide more image/sound relationships and more incite into Harry Caul’s mind. For example, many times, the camera will remain static in a place where the foreground, mid-ground, and background are separated by frames within the frame creating a sort of fractal image. Though Harry is moving from room to room, disappearing and appearing, the shot will not follow him. Every now and then it will lag far behind his movements, but it rarely moves at all. By having Harry Caul be obstructed from the audience’s view, the director manages to further the development of the character and the story by drawing parallels to how both Harry’s subconscious and the truth of the conversation the couple had are greatly obscure in their meaning.
We see this when William P. 'Bernie' Moran [Allen Garfield] is asking Harry about how he pulled off a certain surveillance job in New York. Harry does not want to talk about this case. It troubles him greatly. He also will never disclose any of his secrets to his competitor. So, to represent this with the image, Harry meanders over to the drinks, which lay behind a sheet of privacy glass. Now, aside from the obvious connection between Harry’s secrets and the privacy glass supporting it, you also see that the area of his shop, which contains his secret inventions, lays in the next fractal of the image behind Harry. This is another example of the image/sound relationship. Just as the truth of the target audio hides behind electronic and ambient garbage, Harry hides his secrets (and self) deep within his subconscious (or privacy glass). The cinematography gives the audience more incites into Harry Caul and the situation he is in.

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