Blow-Up Screen 20 articles



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  • The ultimate failure of this fascinating film goes back, I think, to its basic premise: the clothing, in the most contemporary fancy- dress, of an almost hazardously abstract con- cept. Inaccuracies of perception on the part of Antonioni and his English dialogue writer, Edward Bond, leave fragments of the fancy- dress looking bedraggled or grotesque; and a shaky intellectual generalisation—particularly when it's about perception itself—can't stand so much exposure.

  • As often with Antonioni, a film riddled with moments of brilliance and scuppered by infuriating pretensions; full of longueurs, it works neither as a portrait of Swinging London, nor as a bona fide thriller. But as it establishes its metaphysical mystery... it does become strangely gripping, questioning the maxim that the camera never lies, and settling into a virtually abstract examination of subjectivity and perception. Deep stuff, though the surrounding dross makes it pretty hard to watch.

  • A prize ‘60s artifact, Michelangelo Antonioni’s what-is-truth? meditation on Swinging London is a movie to appreciate—if not ponder. Just think of it as the equivalent to the Yardbird’s guitar shard that the protag snatches and then tosses away.

  • The overall tension between psychology and epistemology, however, is breathtaking. Blowup feints at being, in chronological order (1) a portrait of Swinging London; (2) a character study; (3) a murder mystery; and then (4) a character study again and (5) a portrait of Swinging London again ("From Mimes To Yardbirds: London As The Nexus Of Blah Blah"), only to detonate the whole shebang with the tools of cinema.

  • This is so ravishing to look at (the colors all seem newly minted) and pleasurable to follow (the enigmas are usually more teasing than worrying) that you're likely to excuse the metaphysical pretensions—which become prevalent only at the very end—and go with the 60s flow, just as the original audiences did.

  • Antonioni masterfully taunts the audience with the grainy, obscure black and white prints, hanging from the walls, like Rorschach tests... Like many of Antonioni's films, Blowup is a parable of answered prayers: the idea that the distraction of wealth and fame cannot fill the void of loneliness, nor substitute for a soul's unrequited passion.

  • In many ways, this is the best film ever made about movies, because Antonioni recognizes the fragile nature of celluloid and the need to preserve great images. Which is why the film is so profoundly moving—by film's end, Antonioni sadly suggests that one day Blowup won't exist (or mean anything to anyone) if it doesn't continue to be seen, or if its meaning isn't blown-up.

  • Certainly if there is a central informing principle to the narrative matrix of Blowup it is this: that no phenomenon is pure unto itself – especially when human emotions come into play, let alone consideration like guilt, obsession and, finally, fear... Unlike a more conventional thriller, the film offers no cosy or pat solution – we never know, nor can Thomas tell, whether there was a murder, or if all that occurs is a product of a fevered mind in an overheated big city?

  • The Siren just never tires of the look of this movie. The fashions, the glimpses of London, the way the main character's studio/flat is decorated; it all looks great, still. Time hasn't been entirely kind to this film, once the coolest of art flicks. The Siren thinks the main problem is that a lot of its devices have been recycled so often by lesser filmmakers that they make even this, the original, seem stale. But there are many reasons to see Blowup, aside from its place in history.

  • What conflict there is in Blow-Up is captured in the opening clash between vernal greens on one plane and venal blues, reds, yellows, pinks and purples on another. The natural world is arrayed against the artificial scene; conscience is deployed against convention. If you’ve never seen Blow-Up, see it now, if only to see what part of the world was like 40 years ago.

  • As in the movie's entrancing, impeccably shot and edited sequence tracing the photographic enlargements, the images in Blow-Up itself keep suggesting larger scales, darker ramifications, and its sublimity of beauty and terror is of course the greater for leaving these questions unresolved.

  • Blowup is a work of airy, heady conceptualism, but it is also ingenious and highly realistic as portraiture, a triumph of describing a type, one that surely lodged a popular archetype of the fashion photographer in most minds.

  • Even now, 50 years after its release, the enigmatic depths of Blow-Up continue to boggle the mind. Considering the arc of its main photographer character, Thomas—temporarily energized from his emotional disaffection when he discovers he has inadvertently captured a murder—one could read the film as just a cautionary tale of the dangers of being detached from the wider world. This surface theme, however, is enriched immensely by its qualities as a character study.

  • In the end, Blow-Up clarifies the underlying assumption of all films—that the false is as powerful as the real, and even uniquely attuned to insight in particular cases. We arrive through a constant array of memorable, enigmatic scenes and Antonioni’s unique treatment of actors.

  • Upon watching the film, dissociating it from its acquired significance, it quickly becomes obvious that Blow-Up is far more complex than it may seem, or at least has been understood to be. Its dealings with pop culture do not preclude it from depth and worth. In fact, at the end of a year in which politics, personal ethics and entertainment have collided in increasingly disturbing ways, Antonioni’s study on life, death, art and meaninglessness feels more relevant than ever.

  • 50 years later, Blow-Up doesn’t feel as condemning or censorious. The film observes and reports on its new world unflinchingly and with fascination; sometimes that shades into horror or repulsion, but sometimes into humor or (as in the last scene) a sense of immense, shocked, trippy possibility. There couldn’t have been a more fitting gateway through which movie lovers could enter 1967.

  • The debate about the film’s merits and meanings seems endless, commentators arguing that Blow-Up is (amongst other things) a study of 1960s Mod culture, a metaphor for the creative process, a journey of sacrificial gifts leading to enlightenment, a story of impotence, and an autobiographical essay on the nature of perception. There’s as much pleasure to be found in reading the staggering variety of interpretations as there is in watching the film itself.

  • The film is strikingly original because it puts the two technologies of still photography and the cinema, and the formats of black and white and color, into dialogue with one another. As the photographer arranges the enlargements on his studio wall, the movie camera follows the movement of his eyes from one to another, “animating” the separate black-and-white images into a narrative sequence, like a film storyboard.

  • It's moving and influential for the chasms it understands to exist between people, and for its perception of art as unable to bridge those divides. But the film is also weirdly idealistic, as art, for all its pitfalls, does awaken Thomas from his ignorant slumber. The possible murder in the park fulfills the intended function of modernism, highlighting the invisible constructions and frailties of society.

  • Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up has pretty much the greatest, most legendary fuck-you ending in all of cinema history: an imaginary tennis match between two mimes to conclude an oblique murder mystery. Somehow, it’s also an ideal finale to this most hypnotic parable of alienation — and a perfect example of Antonioni’s practically supernatural control of framing and mood.

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