Enthusiasms and NoDirectionHome present Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, with Walter Murch Q&A, hosted by Matt Harlock (director of American: The Bill Hicks Story and founder of NoDirectionHome).
Walter Murch is one of the pivotal figures of New Hollywood, working variously as a first sound designer and later as film editor on, among many others, THX 1138, American Graffiti, Apocalypse Now and all three Godfather films. An innovator in sound, he began experimenting with tape recording as a child and, before studying film in the 1960s, worked in radio. His closest collaboration has been with Francis Ford Coppola, from 1969’s The Rain People up to 2009’s Tetro.
Coppola’s 1974 movie The Conversation is about Harry Caul, a socially withdrawn surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) who is employed by a mysterious figure (Robert Duvall) and his assistant (Harrison Ford) to surreptitiously record a conversation between Ann (Cindy Williams) and Mark (Fredric Forrest). As Harry pieces together fragments of recordings, he uncovers a mystery - perhaps a murder - but as he finds out more, does he actually know less? The Conversation is a classic study of trust, intimacy, suspicion and paranoia.
Coppola researched the latest in tape recording and surveillance technology for The Conversation. Murch drew on his background in audio technology in the innovative and striking sound design which is incorporated into the overall shape of the film, this being first feature film Murch also edited.
The Conversation won 1974 BAFTA awards for best film editing and best sound mixing (the first time those awards went to the same person on a single film).
The original release coincided with the Watergate scandal and today the film continues to have an eerie prescience, especially in the scene where a surveillance salesman demonstrates simple techniques for phone tapping.
The event will be a chance to get a unique insight from Murch into the filmmaking process and also to talk about his overall career, which in recent years has also steered towards documentary.
NoDirectionHome is the informal Soho directors community. It put on regular events, guest interviews and screenings for invited directors in London. nodirectionhome.com