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Mystery and Suspense > Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Hope to watch ZABRISKIE POINT here in the next week or so as I try to work my way through Antonioni's entire film catalogue...at least, the films available on DVD.

BLOW-UP (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966, UK) Thomas experiences the world through the sharp focus of empty eroticism and carnal delight, his perspective a f-stop removed from reality; to fill the void of apathy he imagines a murder and elaborate plot to destroy him. Or does he? Director Michelangelo Antonioni guides us through London chic: from a fashion model’s mannequin beauty to the livewire underground of Page and Beck, the diegetic vinyl score of Herbie Hancock, and ending upon an empty park’s soft dire whisper. Thomas captures an affair through his telephoto lens, an emotional close-up that a woman would rather keep discreet; she is unable to seduce him, his curiosity piqued, he develops the photos and believes he has stumbled upon a murder. As he enlarges the pictures vague and amorphous forms become ominous: an obscured visage peering through branches, a pool of reflective light a body, and is that a gun? A stranger walking away from a café window is an agent, his stolen photos a conspiracy, and the mysterious woman walking the busy night streets more than coincidence. When he finally arrives back to the scene, Antonioni shows us the body from Thomas’s perspective bathed in stark moonlight. But are we to believe in the omniscient observation or understand that Thomas has willed himself to subconsciously fabricate this tale? When he arrives again, there is no sign of the body except matted grass, which could have been made by the wind, or a lover’s daytime affair. There is no trace of blood or other evidence to offer objective proof. As he wanders into the park he stumbles across a troupe of Merry Pranksters who begin to mime a tennis match. As he watches with sublime understanding, he realizes that the boundary between reality and imagination is indeed tenuous and malleable. Thomas disappears into thin air while acknowledging the power of make-believe. (A+)


message 2: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9612 comments there are a lot of things to like about this film, but david hemmings really turns me off. i realize he's SUPPOSED to be an arrogant p$^%k, and he certainly plays the part well. the thing that works for me about this film, is how he changes as the plot develops. and the whole idea of paying attention to our environment is one of antonioni's great concerns...and he really illustrates that obsession of his well in this one.


message 3: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 469 comments I saw this while I was in high school (Reagan was president).
I remember thinking I was going to watch something borderline erotic and forbidden, I had heard about the mod London scene of the 60's and how this film represented that era.

I thought it was incredibly dull and didnt understand any of the nuances of direction or narative.

Perhaps its time to see it again?


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Yes, see it again:) And you get to see a young Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck smash his guitar ala Pete Townsend...which has nothing to do with the narrative but is only too cool in retrospect.


message 5: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 469 comments Thanks Alex,
I love reading your reviews, even when I dont agree with your critiques, I always learn something new.

keep up the good work.


message 6: by oi ling (new)

oi ling | 23 comments Thanks Alex, I watched this film because your review mentioned Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. The best part for me was watching Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck (Yardbirds) performing in a club near the end of the movie!

I enjoyed the film, but David Hemmings, not at all.




message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Yes, Hemmings is cold and self-centered, imagining a conspiracy that makes his pitiful life seem important...maybe that's why he disappears into thin air at the end?

I read somewhere that Antonioni wanted THE WHO for the club scene but they were unavailable. That's why Beck smashes the guitar! Alas, we can only imagine the madness of Keith Moon...


message 8: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9612 comments that is the yardbirds playing in that scene...


message 9: by oi ling (new)

oi ling | 23 comments Imagine what song THE WHO would've played for the club scene?


message 10: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9612 comments my generation?


message 11: by Liz (new)

Liz (HisSheep) Whoa ... this brings back memories! Maybe I should watch this again, since I was in my early 20s when first I encountered this film ... ;o)


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I was really impressed with this movie when I watched it a few years ago. Shortly beforehand I had watched The Passenger and, as much as I liked that, this felt like Antonioni just got everything right with no frills or unnecessary moments. A really good exploration of distance, disconnection and the desire for something hard to express.


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