Blast of Silence

A while back Anto and I watched the Criterion Collection release of Blast of Silence (1961) which is a low-budget, independent noir narrated in the second person. That’s right, this film is narrated in the second person. How many films (or even books for that matter) can you name that are narrated in the second person? As the trailer above suggests, the film tries to associate the viewer directly with a hired gun, it’s a really compelling visual and narrative experience. What’s more, NYC in 1961 looks pretty awesome.

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6 Responses to Blast of Silence

  1. Paul says:

    Second-person narration is something I always associate with old EC comic book stories, like Master Race ( It has an interesting effect – kinda pushy, kinda hypnotic – that suits tales of suspense. I think I’ve seen this movie before, but after watching the trailer I’ll be getting it again.

  2. Reverend says:

    Interesting, the way that comic starts out really takes on the theoretical vision of the Holocaust for the next 50 years, basically remembering, and understanding your place within such a bit of historical horror. Interesting to read that alongside Art Speigelman’s Maus—in fact, I’m wondering if there is some lineage there.

    EC Comics, so good! I focused on the horror themes, but I’d love to incorporate crime graphic fiction into our class somehow. But to that point. I am working on a proposal for the True Crime class this weekend. it is due next Friday. You still in? Perhaps we can talk sometime soon to see what that might look like 🙂

  3. Paul says:

    There is The Big Book of Thugs ( for a true crime graphic novel, although it was kind of uneven as I recall. I’ll take another look at it.
    Yeah, I’m still in. What are your ideas for the course? There are so many ways to go with it.

  4. Ben Harwood says:

    The only book I’ve ever read in the second person is Michel Butor’s, “La Modification” where the use of “vous.”

  5. George Meadows says:

    Jim, I was packing up some books to donate to the library today and came across a copy of The Big Book of Thugs and a copy of The Big Book of Little Criminals. I decided to donate them to the Bava instead and left them on your desk. Not to carry tales, but when I was at DTLT today dropping off the books your co-workers were planning lunch at a place that serves tofurkey – you better return quickly.

  6. Reverend says:

    I’ll be in touch this weekend, we have until next Friday to come up with general course description, logic, etc, and I got a department’s support to run it, so it might actually fly 😉

    Wow, so you only read a second-person narrative in French? That is highbrow, indeed 🙂

    You rule, I love that you had those books! Nobody like Meadows, NOBODY! As for DTLT, the cool factor goes down considerably when I am out. The unspoken limits of geeks, by definition they aren’t cool.

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