Saturday, October 29, 2011


6/9/10 From what I understand about Michelangelo Antonioni and from the few films of his I have seen, he must have been one of the most maddening directors. In L'Avventura, he criticized the idle rich, and the film was anything but an adventure. Now here in Blow-Up, a film that comes packaged as a murder mystery, or rather a film that most who have not seen it understand it to be a murder mystery, it is really a criticism of the 1960s British mod lifestyle. Released in 1966, and what should have been considered very risque for its time, Blow-Up follows a cad London photographer who is tired of photographing beautiful women all day, and who basically takes what he wants from life. One nice day in the park, he is taking pictures and stumbles across a couple whom he begins to photograph. The woman sees him, becomes irate and demands the photographs. After much debate, he agrees to return the negatives, but, enthralled by what may be in them, gives her a different set of negatives. When he develops the photographs she wanted, he discovers that something sinister may have been going on in the park that day. Blow-up is wonderfully filmed, in marvelous technicolor (it has even been said that Antonioni had the grass in the park painted green to achieve the film's effect). There are also largely effective silent segments throughout the whole picture. Though this movie may not appeal to everyone, and I believe movies should be made not for the director but for a larger audience, Blow-Up should be seen by any film lover, if only to see a master technician at work.

I revisited this film again and while I still find it maddening, I think it is a hypnotic, incredible example of filmmaking. The scene where David Hemmings develops the negatives of his trip to the park is one of the most spellbinding in the cinema's history.
*** 1/2