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John Travolta listening to people via surveillance equipment.
Blow Out


Blow Out


Eyes Without a Face: Surveillance in Cinema

9 Oct - 25 Oct

In Brian De Palma’s paranoid thriller, John Travolta stars as Jack Terry, a sound recorder for a sleazy B-movie company whose stock and trade is exploitation films. One evening when he is standing on a bridge capturing night sounds, he inadvertently records and witnesses a car accident. What was an apparent accident, however, soon takes on political and nefarious dimensions, putting his life and that of a woman (Nancy Allen) he saved from the accident at risk.

Tickets: $13 - $17. Member Discounts Available.
  • Borrowing his film’s title and basic plot from Michelangelo Antonioni’s masterful Blow Up (1966), De Palma ultimately taps into his biggest influence, Alfred Hitchcock, fashioning his lurid and suspenseful thriller around the idea that cinema is voyeurism in its purest form. Blow Out plays this out with devastating consequences as paranoia takes hold and the film-within-a-film takes on tragic dimensions.

    The basic structure of Blow Up is used to explore the deep cynicism and paranoia Americans felt after the Watergate scandal and the Kennedy assassination.

    Not unlike Antonioni’s haunted photographer, who keeps on enlarging a photo he took in order to uncover a supposed crime, Terry replays his sound recording again and again, his obsession leading down a destructive and ultimately dangerous path.

    De Palma, however, saves his blackest and bleakest joke for last as an incongruous scene from a trashy horror film becomes a haunting expression of hopelessness.