Ava Changnon Intro to Film Studies Blog

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The Conversation

October 11th, 2018

The Conversation provokes feelings of guilt and paranoia that are only enhanced by the sounds the movie is set too. The most interesting aspect of sound in the film is the diegetic sound. The tapes played over and over again, the tv, the jazz music and so much more add to Harry Cauls impending sense of regret and remorse. Specifically, the tapes are haunting as their scratchy audio illustrates a reality in which someone is going to be killed. Caul plays the tapes and rewinds them trying to scrape out what he can from the conversation. The background sounds of the square drowns out parts of the conversation and add to this trilling exchange. Ultimately, the tapes are stuck in his brain as he struggles with the consequences of his work. The tv in the hotel room next to the scene of the crime is also very intriguing as it adds to his mania in the moment. He is feeling immense responsibility for what he thinks is the women death. The static sounds create disorientation and mayhem as he wrestles with the bed sheets. And finally the jazz music in the last scene as he plays along on the saxophone. This scene is the height of his anxiety and the music provides a juxtaposition to his internal feelings. As he tears apart his apartment in efforts to find the bug that is recording him, the music goes on, perpetuating this disposition. The diegetic sounds in The Conversation are not only haunting but also construct a feeling of anxiety and calmness.

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