Blow Up

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Blow up (1966) - Michelangelo Antonioni

I stepped into my first viewing of this film with a sort of a childish eagerness. After all, this is a film that, time and time again, has been referred to as a huge inspiration on many of today's "important" filmmakers. Chalk up another tick on the "Big let down" board.

The story revolves around a photographer in the swinging London of the 60's. He is great at what he does, but he happens to be a bit of a prick.
One day, while taking pictures in a park, he stumbles across two people frolicking among the trees. He decides to take photos of them, and at home, while viewing these photos, spots a man, concealed behind the bushes, pointing a gun at them. He goes back to check on the site at night, and finds a dead body.

There is also one or two small side stories, like one with him trying desperately to buy a local antique shop... but none of these things are really touched upon with detail. In fact, nothing in the film is really resolved, including the actual "main story". This is the type of thing that the art crowd goes bonkers for, pretending to get some meaning from all of the non meaning, in order to be accepted within the "in crowd".

Though, in contrast to my previous comments, the ending of "Blow Up" is in some strange way, admittedly brilliant. Even though it has nothing to do with the actual film.

THE ENDING (POTENTIAL SPOILER):The main character, after going back to the site of the murder, finds nothing where the body once lay. He walks away sullen, with his camera, and spots some mimes playing tennis with an invisible ball on a tennis court. He decides to follow the path of the ball with his head - back and forth, back and forth. We cut to an extreme high, and wide shot of him standing alone on the desolate grasslands - cut to credits.

END OF SPOILER WARNING.

Because of my dislike for this film, I may come across as a philistine of sorts, a cinematic nihilist if you will. Though I assure you, I've adored many "art" films in my day, and this film just doesn't cut it. In my opinion, I may be on the lonely side of the fence, but at least I share that side of the fence with Pauline Kael, possibly the most respected critic of films in history. She also hated it. ( I found that fact out AFTER I made up my mind).
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I am having a nervous breakdance
Thanks for your recent reviews of classics, Travis! I have never seen all of it though myself but I want too as soon as possible.

Have you seen Zabriskie Point by Antonioni? I recommend it.
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The novelist does not long to see the lion eat grass. He realizes that one and the same God created the wolf and the lamb, then smiled, "seeing that his work was good".

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They had temporarily escaped the factories, the warehouses, the slaughterhouses, the car washes - they'd be back in captivity the next day but
now they were out - they were wild with freedom. They weren't thinking about the slavery of poverty. Or the slavery of welfare and food stamps. The rest of us would be all right until the poor learned how to make atom bombs in their basements.



Originally Posted by Piddzilla
Have you seen Zabriskie Point by Antonioni? I recommend it.
I have seen Zabriskie Point. Though more enjoyable than Blow Up, I still found it a bit messy. I really enjoyed the opening political discussion with the students, and the explosions at the end (which was filmed at around 10000 frames per second).



I am having a nervous breakdance
Originally Posted by Travis_Bickle
I have seen Zabriskie Point. Though more enjoyable than Blow Up, I still found it a bitt messy. I really enjoyed the opening political discussion with the students, and the explosions at the end (which was filmed at around 10000 frames per second).
The first time I saw it I thought it was soooo boring. But the second time I really liked it, especially for the really beautiful cinematography and the scenery. There is one thing that I didn't care for too much though and that is the love scene in the desert. It was a bit too "groovy" for me. Yes, the political discussion and the scenes at the university are good.



The two of you are such good reviewers. I definately have to see Blow Up now. Thanks.

(Baby, why haven't you suggested this film to me before?)
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I am having a nervous breakdance
Originally Posted by piddzillas_girl
The two of you are such good reviewers. I definately have to see Blow Up now. Thanks.

(Baby, why haven't you suggested this film to me before?)
Which one? Blow Up? Because I haven't seen it. Zabriskie Point? I probably have, but you've forgotten about it.



Originally Posted by piddzillas_girl
I definately have to see Blow Up now. Thanks.
Despite my comments about the interesting ending, I thought that it was basically a trashing, and non recommendation of the film.



I am having a nervous breakdance
Originally Posted by Travis_Bickle
Despite my comments about the interesting ending, I thought that it was basically a trashing, and non recommendation of the film.
I saw L'Aventura which I think was Antonioni's breakthrough film and I thought it was extremely dull and slow. Apparently the whole point in many of Antonioni's films is that they are boring because that is what life is: boring. They are about nothing. A lot of times the plot in his films just vanishes and we are left with a look on our faces. I need to see Blow Up though before I can say something about it.



" The plot of "L'Avventura" became famous because, it was said, nothing happened in the movie. What we saw was a search without a conclusion, a disappearance without a solution. The title in English means "The Adventure," and it was not hard to imagine Antonioni's dry smile as he penned those words on the first page of his screenplay" - Roger Ebert

I found "L'Avventura" to be long, and boring myself, though I can appreciate it as indeed a beautiful looking film with some depth.

One of the most "foreign" of all foreign films.



I am having a nervous breakdance
Originally Posted by Travis_Bickle
" The plot of "L'Avventura" became famous because, it was said, nothing happened in the movie. What we saw was a search without a conclusion, a disappearance without a solution. The title in English means "The Adventure," and it was not hard to imagine Antonioni's dry smile as he penned those words on the first page of his screenplay" - Roger Ebert

I found "L'Avventura" to be long, and boring myself, though I can appreciate it as indeed a beautiful looking film with some depth.

One of the most "foreign" of all foreign films.
Which is the world's most "foreign" film, you think?

About what Ebert said, yeah, I couldn't have said it better myself. And I guess that L'Aventura's lack of conclusion is something that it has in common with Blow Up, no? You could actually say that about Zabriskie Point too. In the end of the film, what except from living, has the young protagonist accomplished? Nothing.



I saw this movie awhile back... early last year, I think. It was pretty funny, I thought. David Hemmings plays a slimey photographer who gets caught up in scandal and intrigue and ends up chatting it up with Vanessa Redgrave. It was interesting to get a window into London in the '60s! Moderately entertaining movie, all in all!



All good people are asleep and dreaming.
The only cool thing about Blowup was The Yardbirds.

When Jeff Beck has an equipment failure and smashes his guitar, that was the peak of the movie.

Strange seeing a young Jimmy Page.

The crowd was lame.

But back to the movie, style over substance, outdated style at that.



I agree with this judgement. The theme of modern alienation/ennui is hardly unique and it's just too cringily 'sixties'. It really doesn't stand the test of time.
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Nothing much to say which I haven't said elsewhere around here so I'll just post my ratings for the movies discussed in here.

Zabriskie Point

L'avventura

Blow-Up
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Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
L'avventura

Blow-Up

I have to see Zabriskie Point. Why only
, mark f?
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L'Avventura and Blow-Up are both essential, IMO. The first is probably the most beautiful black-and-white film I've ever seen, and a fascinating examination of people's inability to reach one another on a personal, emotional level. The latter is the definitive time-capsule of the 60s and a look at how people can find happiness and transcendence through their passions. What's interesting about both movies is how they each have such a strong sense of atmosphere. Antonioni has other movies worth seeing but based on what I've watched, those two are a cut above the rest.
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Sorry Harmonica.......I got to stay here.
I would've written a review too, but I don't have confidence I could know when to stop when spelling the directors' last name.
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