‘Blow Up’ Part of the British film festival 2017. Films from the British Isles. Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.
‘Blow- Up’ is a film based on a short story ‘Las babas del diablo’ written by Julio Cortázar in 1959. ‘Blow- Up’ directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1966 was his first English language film, now newly restored for its’ 50th anniversary.
Historically, at this time there was a crisis in Art. The tradition of painting was being questioned. The dominant style was Abstraction. There was debate about the ‘end’ or ‘death’ of painting and the status of photography, and conflict over its’ acceptance as Art.
The camera is a mechanical device that records. The individual who uses a camera privately or publically has rights and responsibilities. The resulting photographs provide visual information. But, after viewing the question that remains; ‘What is truth?’
Visually the film acknowledges the tradition of painting. The events of the film are linear in sequence and taker place over a short period of time.
The protagonist in the story is successful London fashion photographer Thomas, who takes photographs of a couple in a park. At his studio he develops and blows up, almost to abstraction the black and white photographs. He sees what appears to be someone holding a gun and a prostrate body. Returning to the park he finds a dead man. Later, the body, the photographs and the film all go missing.
The final scene of the film shows two individuals on a tennis court. By their actions they appear to play tennis. The actions of a small crowd of onlookers appear to confirm this. The two players have no racquets and no ball but the sound of a ball being hit is heard. With this event the film audience is being asked to consider the question; ‘What is truth?’
‘Blow- Up’ won the Cannes film Festival Palme d’Or in 1967. It was picked as the best film of 1967 by the National Society of Film Critics and got Oscar Nominations for screenplay and direction.
‘Blow-Up’ is a ‘fab’ murder mystery that retains its’ contemporary relevance today, 50 years after it was first screened. Essential viewing. See it!
Words through the lens of reviewer Barking J. Hownd.