Monday, November 2, 2009

The Conversation

In “The Conversation” by Francis Ford Coppola the scene in which Harry Caul encounters the woman in the elevator is an important scene that conveys many themes of the film.  When Harry spots her in the elevator the use of shot reverse shot shows the woman and then Harry who is staring at her from behind.  There are also close ups of Harry who seems to cower in the corner instead of warn her of her pending murder.  A high angle shot makes Harry seem smaller who is paralyzed with fear in the elevator. Harry is incredibly guilty from his the deaths that have resulted from his previous recordings and is a paranoid character. The use of shots in the scene conveys this well.

Mise en scene also emphasizes the paranoia and guilt that the protagonist experiences during the scene. The lighting is dim and helps to set the suspenseful mood.  The use of other characters and having the elevator extremely crowded creates a claustrophobic feel, which helps to create a stronger sense of panic and intensity in the scene.

The use of diagetic and non diagetic work well in this scene to help emphasize the fear and panic experienced by Harry.  When Harry steps onto the elevator there is eerie non diagetic music playing that has a suspenseful tone.  There is also a diagetic whoosh of air that grows increasingly louder as the scene progresses and plays on Harry’s increasing fear after spotting the woman.  At the end of the scene there is a loud screeching sound and it is unclear where the sound is coming from until it cuts to the next scene and it’s established that its diagetic sound from the reels Harry is listening to.  Diagetic sound is an important theme of the film since the recorded conversation is an important motif that is constantly revisited. 

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