A mash-up of Blow-Up and The Conversation, Silencer begins as an audiovisual reconstruction of my attempts to scratch a personal cinephile itch, but morphs into a commentary on the limits of sensory perception and the often illusory nature of subjectivity.
Having recently re-watched Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, I was somehow—though appropriately—reminded of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up. In particular, a nagging question resurfaced for me: that of the apparent murder of a man in a lonely London park by a gunman, the shot from whose gun I distinctly remember not having ever heard. For years I’ve quietly wondered about the curious absence of an audible gunshot, eventually conceding to the possibilities that (a) there is in fact a gunshot which I have for some reason failed to hear; (b) there is in fact a gunshot and a practical reason why I have never heard it; (c) a gunshot which should ideally be present and audible has been knowingly omitted by Antonioni and his technicians; (d) the ‘murder’ is, like the ending of the film itself, a moment designed to undermine/question the very concept of reality, one’s perception of reality, and one’s memory of such perceptions.
Well, having been gifted with the character of Harry Caul, the surveillance and sound guru who obsessively interrogates sneakily acquired audio recordings in The Conversation, I decided to create something of a video mashup in which Harry works to uncover the hidden/absent gunshot from Blow-Up. What Harry ‘unearths’ and what I personally discovered in the making of this video only confirms the fascinating limitations of sensory perception as it pertains to experiencing images and sounds, and how I – and many others, including Harry Caul in the context of The Conversation– inadvertently try to circumvent these limitations by accentuating the irrelevant or inventing the non-existent. As a result, I would be extremely curious to know how a viewer’s own experience of these films, what they remember seeing and hearing, influences their experience of this little video.
NB: I managed to include elements of a certain Brian De Palma picture, completing something of a trifecta.