Blow Up

Blow Up 15

Films About Looking: Mark Cousins Sunday Brunches


Please note: This was screened in Oct 2017

 Michelangelo Antonioni
David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles
111 mins, 1966, USA

Michelangelo Antonioni's landmark thriller about a fashion photographer in Swinging Sixties London who develops a set of pictures only to discover a sequence of shots that apparently proves a murder, is a countercultural masterpiece about the act of looking and the art of image making.

Taking the form of a psychological mystery, a fashion photographer (David Hemmings), fed up with the birds and the mod fashion shoots, goes off in search of fresh air and fresh mischief. Finding himself in a park, in the distance he sees a man and a woman together, canoodling. Pointing his camera, he takes a few snaps of them. But when the developed film reveals a gunman in the bushes, and a body lying on the ground, has he unknowingly photographed a murder?

Transplanting his existentialist ennui to the streets of swinging London, Antonioni’s first English language film was an international sensation upon its release. With a meticulous aesthetic control, an intoxicating colour palette that breathes life into every frame, and the jazzy sounds of Herbie Hancock, Antonioni’s film feels like a transporting time capsule from a bygone era. A seductive immersion into creative passion that brilliantly captures a perfect moment in London’s history, Blow Up marked the career high point of one of cinema’s greatest artists.