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Brian De Palma

Blow Out

Director Brian De Palma Composer Pino Donaggio Cast John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow
Edition 2024
108' - 1981 - Crime, Mystery, Drama - Dialogue: English

In this political thriller about the cover-up of the assassination of a governor, Brian De Palma smartly makes use of the material essence of film (the merging of image and sound) to solve a murder mystery. The director's brilliance here results in an ingenious adrenaline rush somewhere between Antonioni's Blow Up and Coppola's The Conversation.

John Travolta is a soundman who witnesses a car accident concealing a political assassination, which he sets out to prove by purely audiovisual means. De Palma turns the tragic accident and its aftermath into a synthesis of a number of true political scandals and tragedies from the second half of the 20th century: the sniper assassination of JFK in Dallas; Nixon and his ‘plumbers’ in the Watergate affair; Ted Kennedy's accident in Chappaquiddick to which the premise of Blow Out explicitly refers. In 1980s America, hardly anyone sees any harm in covering up a shady assassination. The cover-up is considered the most ordinary thing in the world. The media do not fulfil their duty; instead of bringing the truth to light, they exploit, without any moral scruples, all the sensational material up for grabs.

Tickets & screenings: from 19 September 2024.

Image gallery

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Brian De Palma


Pino Donaggio


John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow


Brian De Palma

Director of Photography

Vilmos Zsigmond


Paul Hirsch


Fred C. Caruso, George Litto

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Countries of production

United States of America