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Blowup (1966)

Blowup (1966)

David HemmingsVanessa RedgraveSarah MilesJohn Castle
Michelangelo Antonioni


Blowup (1966) is a English movie. Michelangelo Antonioni has directed this movie. David Hemmings,Vanessa Redgrave,Sarah Miles,John Castle are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1966. Blowup (1966) is considered one of the best Drama,Mystery,Thriller movie in India and around the world.

A successful mod photographer in London whose world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and easy sex, feels his life is boring and despairing. Then he meets a mysterious beauty, and also notices something frightfully suspicious on one of his photographs of her taken in a park. The fact that he may have photographed a murder does not occur to him until he studies and then blows up his negatives, uncovering details, blowing up smaller and smaller elements, and finally putting the puzzle together.


Blowup (1966) Reviews

  • Success and image; fantasy and reality (SPOILERS)


    Antonioni's Blow-Up was the biggest hit of the Italian director's career, the superficial elements of the fashion world, Swinging London and orgies on purple paper ensuring its commercial success. Models such as Veruschka (who appears in the film), Twiggy and fashion photographers at the time have complained about its unrealistic depiction of the industry and claimed that its central character, Thomas (played by the late David Hemmings) was clearly based on David Bailey. To look at Blow-Up as an analysis of the fashion business in the Sixties is to misunderstand the film's intentions. In any case, when watching this film it may be difficult to tell what its all about if you're unfamiliar with Antonioni's films but it obviously has little to do with the fashion world which is merely the setting for the story and nothing more. Antonioni made the clearest statement of his motivation as a filmmaker at the end of Beyond the Clouds when he talked about his belief that reality is unattainable as it is submerged by layers of images which are only versions of reality. This is a rather pretentious way of saying that everyone perceives reality in their own way and ultimately see only what they want to see. With this philosophy in mind, Blow-Up is probably Antonioni's most personal film. Thomas' hollow, self-obsessed world is shattered when he discovers that he may have photographed a murder when casually taking pictures in a park. He encounters a mysterious woman, Jane (Vanessa Redgrave) who demands he hand over the film and when he refuses she appears at his studio, although Thomas never told her his address. When the evidence disappears shortly afterwards, Blow-Up seems to deal in riddles that have no solution. Redgrave re-appears and then vanishes before the photographer's eyes, Thomas returns to the park without his camera and sees the body. The film concludes with Thomas, having discovered the body has disappeared, watching a group of mimes playing tennis without a ball or rackets in the park where the murder may have taken place. It is only in the final scene of the film where the riddle is solved. Thomas throws the imaginary ball back into the court and watches the game resume. The look of realisation on his face is all too apparent as the game CAN BE HEARD taking place out of shot. There is a ball, there are rackets and this is a real game of tennis. What we have seen up until this point is the photographer's perception of reality: the murder, the mysterious woman in the park, the photographic evidence and the body. The following exchange between Hemmings and Redgrave is the key to the film: Thomas: Don't let's spoil everything, we've only just met. Jane: No, we haven't met. You've never seen me.

  • My extended review of the film


    Spoilers; limited review due to word limit. This film is an intense character study, essentially about emptiness in life. Thomas feels that everything in his life is superficial, and he wants to do something more than just take photographs. If he could solve a mystery, then his life would have a definite purpose. Therefore, he sees what he wants to see, and invents a mystery from one of his photographs. What he sees is essentially part of his imagination. There are many factors that indicate this, such as his friend the artist who mentions that a detail in a painting "is like a clue in a detective story". Thomas plays detective in the film, however life is full of distractions, and ultimately he is unable to solve the mystery. Time management is a key idea through the film, as Thomas is a procrastinator. He knows that there are many things that he needs to do, and he uses them as an excuse at one point, saying "I haven't even got a couple of minutes to have my appendix out", even though he fiddles with a coin, and just before that he had visited some friends. He has lost his dedication to his work. He does things because they need to be done, not because he wants to. He indulges himself in antiques, then on the spur of the moment, goes to a park. Ultimately, Thomas wants to escape from his life. Reminders of escapism follow him about, such as a sign that a protester places in his car, with the words "go away" on it. The sign later falls out and is run over by another car, indicating how futile trying to escape life is. He meets an antiques dealer who wants out her job, and from her he purchases a propeller - a device that can be used to fly away with. Thomas is often presented in an isolated environment, whether it be running down alleyways or wandering through a park. He is removed from the world, with no real friends or family. At one point he says that he has a wife, then he changes his mind and says that they just have kids together. Then, he admits that he has no children, and that his wife is not beautiful, but just easy to live with. Following this, he changes his mind once again and says that she is not easy to live with. Thomas wants a family, but he does not have one. He wants a wife (who need not be beautiful, since the models who he photographs are superficially beautiful) and children. Thomas feels that his life is empty, and his photography - his work - has replaced his sex life. In one scene he photographs a model by sitting on top of her in a sexual position, and the things he calls out could be used as expressions during sex. However this is not pleasure for him - it is work. He later indulges himself with group sex, but after watching two of his friends making love, he realises how meaningless sexuality is for him. For all these reasons, Thomas sees what he wants to see - a possible murder - something that he can take credit for. Much of the film involves this notion of seeing what one wants, which is represented by the mimes. The mimes are contrasted in the opening sequence against the gloomy England workers. At nighttime, Thomas visits the park where he photographed the supposed murder, and lo and behold, a corpse is lying there. This scene is unrealistic, as it is highly unlikely that someone would leave a corpse lying around, or that no one else had spotted it yet, however Thomas is seeing what he wants to. After visiting the park, he tries to find someone who he can confide in about the body. He treks through a building where a rock band is playing along his journey. The fans are mostly just standing or sitting around with blank expressions. Their lives are as empty as Thomas feels that his is. They idolise rock musicians who are crazy and smash their guitars. From there, he goes to a party for sophisticated, upper-middle class people, however they are mostly smoking dope and wasting away their time. Their lives are empty too. In the morning, Thomas visits the park again, but he is no longer as excited as he was before, and this is shown through his slow pacing and long distance photography. After seeing that others have empty lives - and are happy with them - he is unsure if he should be happy too. In the park, there is no longer the body, as he not seeing what he wants to see anymore. The mimes return, and Thomas watches them 'play' tennis. The camera follows the imaginary ball around. The mimes seem so happy, and therefore, Thomas joins in when he has a chance. After he throws "the ball" back to them, we can hear tennis rackets hitting a ball. Thomas is still alone and isolated, even though he is finally seeing what he wants to see. His life is still empty. There is not much of a resolution to the film, and from what there is, it is bleak, but as a character study, it is engaging stuff. The technical side of the film is great - especially the sound in some scenes, showing how isolated Thomas is that he can hear soft sounds. Every shot is set up with care, and Hemmings is superb. 'Blowup' is not the type of film that will satisfy every taste, but it has quite a lot to it.

  • You always miss something


    I would recommend that people who are considering watching this film for the first time not read the following. I don't mention the film's ending, I just believe its far more satisfying to let the films potent details nervously sink into place on their own. It is not about cameras. It is not about seeing. It is about our perception of our individual world. It throws shadows on the very judgments we build our lives upon. Without mentioning the obvious references to illusion (the mimes, the abstract picture of the corpse, etc.), I offer the following expert signposts Antonioni leaves for us to find. 1) The guitar neck David snatches at the rave-up has value only until he is not being chased for it, whereupon he discards it in the street. The pedestrian who then picks it up sees it only as junk. 2) Dialogue with his model friend at the pot party: DAVID - ` I thought you were in Paris.' THE GIRL - `I am'. 3) Appearances and Disappearance (2 of the many). The Lynn Redgrave character pops up as he arrives at his apartment. His question `How did you find me' is not explained. Later in the story, it is notably odd when David wakes up the following morning after the pot party that there is no one to be seen in the party house. Even the decorations like the clothes hung on the statue the night before have vanished. 4) David teaches the affectations of smoking to the woman. She must create an impression. 5) His painter friend describes his painting. `They don't mean anything to me while I work on them. Its only later that I ascribed something to them. Like this leg.' Whereupon he points out a place in a painting that might be a human leg. When he paints, he is tapping subconscious language, something apart from subjective and objective reality. Its as if Antonioni is offering us an even further vantage point to the events to come, dream reality. 6) The rambling diversion of events shows David's inability to `focus' on working through his mystery. 7) So much is hidden from the viewer. Its almost suggested that the real end to the narrative takes place someplace after the movie has already finished, jarring our sense of story, insinuating an ending we never get to `see'. 8) David announces at one point to his friend, `If only I had more money I'd be all right.'. Meanwhile he drives through the whole movie in his Rolls Royce. This is a very remarkable film. I was irked by the pacing and the diversions as I watched it, but that was exactly why it all kept coming and coming at me for hours after until finally in bed it all rushed through me like a gorgeous musical event. I know for certain there are many more hidden corners to it, but this is what I got in my first viewing. Just that gut feeling that I missed something, I believe, is exactly where Antonioni was going. You always miss something.

  • A confusing but thought provoking film!


    Antonioni was not a director that worried too much about people completely understanding his films. In fact I'd bet that he actually hoped they didn't understand everything. So I did not find it strange or surprising when after finishing the movie I felt quite confused. But the movie made me think for a very long time, which in my opinion is what a good film should do. There are so many aspects to this film that if you give them a chance and think about them, they will keep you reeling for hours on possible interpretations. The first and probably most important aspect of this film dealt with love. From what I have seen of his films, love is Antonioni's favorite subject. But this love was different than that of past films; it is much more shallow and un-centered. Thomas, the photographer, is surrounded by women, he goes from one to the next without thinking twice, treating them like dogs the entire time. But he can do this and get away with it because he is a famous photographer and can make the women what they all desperately want to be, Beautiful. For The first half of the movie I honestly did not like his character whatsoever. Whereas in the past the director has chosen mainly to explore the ups and downs of married life, or the problems of being hopelessly devoted to one person, he now points the camera at the single, care free, over sexed, youth of the sixties. Half an hour into the movie I found myself wondering what the heart of the film was going to be. We were introduced to Thomas and his world, but there seemed to be no conflict driving the story forward. Then came the quasi-murder mystery. This is what is really interesting and unique about this film in my opinion. Antonioni for a while leads us to believe that the movie is going to turn into some suspense thriller, or murder mystery, but never seems to quite get there. He has all the elements ready to go, but never follows through with them. He introduces this alluring and mysterious woman who is in on the murder and then never brings her back. The murder victim is discovered, but his identity is never revealed, nor a motive given for his murder. Thomas, after a very energetic and exciting photo investigation seems to not really care too much as to what happens with the investigations results, only telling a couple of his friends who couldn't care less. Antonioni seems to have used this whole murder mystery convention as some sort of glue to hold the rest of the real story together. The story of a mindless, beauty obsessed, celebrity idolizing, drug addicted, and violence obsessed culture. Probably my favorite scene in the film is after fighting over the piece of broken guitar with the other fans; Thomas just discards his prize as garbage. Something that kept bugging me was the antique shop. I kept wondering what in the world it had to do with anything in the movie; it stuck out like a sore thumb. But I knew it that there was some major purpose or explanation for its existence in the film, and then it just kind of clicked. Upon his first entry into the Antique store Thomas encounters an angry old man who we eventually find out is not the stores real owner, the true owner is a beautiful young woman who is planning to sell the old place and travel the world in search of something new. All this stuff she owns, the gold of past cultures, is old and useless now. She has a hard time making a living because nobody wants the stuff any longer. Here is where I think Antonioni's major message is hidden: That is the way life is, it moves on constantly, things change, people die, cultures evolve and the only thing that remains in the end is nature itself. Antonioni finishes the film beautifully, Thomas stands alone in a large field of grass, the only thing heard is the wind and the trees, as the camera backs away slowly, he disappears leaving nothing but the grass blowing in the wind, for like all the antiques and all the people that created them in the past, eventually Thomas's life will end and so will the current popular culture in which he takes part. Change is life's only constant.

  • Undeservingly hated.


    It is hard to find people who will readily defend this movie these days. It is commonly thought of as pretentious, overly artsy, and lacking coherence. If you don't connect with the film that is fine, but to call it trash is a mistake. Many people try to pin this as being a 60's statement. It is not however. Antonioni was a veteran filmmaker who got lumped in with the new wave scene because he was around at the same time. This was initially a hit, though that probably had little to due with it's actual merits as a film. It is the story of an artist. The photographer Thomas, who has lost all feeling of passion for his work. He hangs around London taking fashion photographs. He is cruel to his models and other women in his life. He seems interested in other's art but cannot be roused to create any of his own. He will soon be releasing a book of photographs, all of which are uninspired photos of the poor, sick and dying. While in the park he takes a series of shots he hopes will be a nice epilogue to his collection. They are of a couple playing in the park. These pictures, however, are not what they seem. Antonioni makes great use of insinuation. He tantalizes us with the possibility of what could have been. In us he insights the same passion that is in Thomas. In the end, I don't think he disappears so much as he returns. He does not return as the same person, though. He is changed by the passion for his art and the challenge of reality. He is no longer playing the game of catch the murderer, or faking the motions of being a photographer, or posing as a deep artist by taking sad pictures. He is now truly inspired. Today many people hate Thomas. And with good reason. He is definitely not a nice person, but he is one of my favorite anti-heroes. There is a scene many people may miss. It is short. He is driving in his car, I think after speeding off from some want to be models, he turns on the radio, and starts bobbing his head and making funny faces to the music. This is the scene that redeems his early self to me. When he is alone, we see he still has an innocent streak despite his cruelty. All that being said, I only recommend this to the more serious moviegoer. 10/10


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