Monday, July 31, 2017


It's astonishing how well Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966), currently being revived at Film Forum, holds up after 50 years. There’s practically nothing dated about it and it’s lead figure Thomas, the photographer, famously played by David Hemmings even talks on a proto-cell phone. The movie derives from a Julio Cortazar short story and the subject is narrative and the meaning in which experience is encapsulated. Like Thomas, Antonioni is a photographer too and he famously told Rothko “Your paintings are like my films--they're about nothing...with precision.”  Antonioni was prescient and his movie has the stamp of postmodernism. Has a murder occurred or is it a piece of artifice like the mimes, playing tennis, who bookend the movie? There’s almost a tone of exhilaration in Thomas’s voice when he tells his agent, Ron (Peter Bowles) “Somebody was trying to kill somebody in the park.” Amidst the superficiality and materialism of the 60’s London in which Thomas gallivants around town in a Rolls Royce convertible, sexually assaulting models like Verushka, reality is the only commodity in short supply. The chief characteristic of Jane, the femme fatale played by Vanessa Redgrave is her evanescence. One of Thomas’s friends is an abstractionist whose works he attempts to parse much the way he does the photos of  the purported crime scene and there are wonderful symbols and leitmotifs peppering  the film which act like Macguffins in a classic mystery. The propeller discovered in an antique shop is one, along wtth the rushing sound of wind through trees and the clicking of the camera that constitute the soundtrack over which the photographic images are "blown up." Violence appears amidst silence and the noisiest scenes like the famous one in which two would-be models rip off each other's clothes exemplifies a form of nomadic spiritual chaos masking as innocent play.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.