Saturday, 21 February 2009

Antonioni's Blow Up

There cannot be many people that have not seen Antonioni's Blow Up this film on one satellite cable channel or another. I saw it in Oxford in 1966 when created media interest beyond cinema critics, It was the British response to La Dolce Vita of the sixties.

It was the film which made David Hemmings. It was meant to say something about contemporary personified by David Bailey The begins with students on a rag event which I never understood the reason for except to indicate the new anti authority we will do what we like decade. Hemmings is then seen exiting from a doss house where he has been on a secret photoshoot. He runs an open top Rolls Royce which with a radio phone and has a flat studio Chelsea news type residence. His live in girl friend ( is she) is the beautiful and hen very young Sarah Miles, there is something wistful about that smile.

After a tetchy studio shoot a couple of teenagers try to get him interested (one is Patsy Kensit). Is his artist friend John Castle. He has been told about an antiques store by phone full of statues and bric a brac. The old owner does not like this visitor. He is looking for landscapes. The owner is out so he leaves and decided to visit the park which is nearby. It is quite a big park with a tennis court and on different levels. He sees a couple go up a bank and follows them. They look young thy are not. He sort of highs behind a low fence and then tree to take photos when they kiss. This intrusive photography without permission or conscience. The man look much older than the young woman. The girl sees him and is upset tries to get the photos from him. She says they have never met and runs off. He returns to the shop

His agent has been before to try and but the premises. He buys a propeller. The London he passes is not attractive concrete and the book is about violence and he hopes to end the books with peaceful pictures from the park. There are indications of the changing fashions and population of the city.

There is a small CND demo A peaceful march with posters and he is given one which blows off and away. The girl in the park finds where he lives and asks for the photos. The phone rings he asks he girl (Vanessa Redgrave) to speak to his wife hen admits she is not his wife, they have kids, they do not have kids, she is easy to live with this why he does not live with her, he appears to have contempt for pretty girls. He asks her listen to what appears to be a Barney Kessel record. I have it. I think. He gives her a cigarettes, she takes it and laughs, perhaps it is a joint but does not look home made. She asks for water. And uses the time to try and find the film. Going off with his camera but he is waiting for her saying that he is not a fool. She offers to sleep with hi m going topless. He tells her to get dressed.

He develops the film and prints large size pictures and becomes interested in one where the girl appears to be looking distressed at something, what? You will have to see the film to find out but the mystery continues.

However we are treated to an interlude which attracted most of the media interest and controversy but his mind is on what he believes he has discovered. He blows up a section of film, hence the title and goes back to the park to at night and confirms what he suspected.

He goes to visit his female friend but she is otherwise engaged. He returns to his flat and finds that he photos have all disappeared His photo labs have been ransacked His girl friend but is she arrives in a string see through dress and it appears well what does it appear?

He goes in search of his agent booking making friend and is distracted when he thinks he sees the girl, He is distracted further goes into a cellar club where a rock band is playing with a packed still emotionless audience, until one break his guitar and throws parts in to the crowd who go hysterical, Hemmings joins in the scrum escapes with the handle which he throws away. He goes to party where the friend is, a typical sixties party with recreational drugs and his friend is too high to go back to the park. Hemmings goes there in the morning and finds nothing except the rag week students arrive in a great noise rushing around the park in a Jeep.

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