DIRECTOR: Michelangelo Antonioni
COUNTRY: Italy 1966
CAST: Vanessa Redgrave, David Hemmings, Sarah Miles
SHORT STORY BY: Julio Cortazar
SUPER FEATURES: Good story, with an indulgent film.
Antonioni has been around quite a long time, and the majority of his work pretty much ended with the film ZABRISKIE POINT, a film that was raped by American producers, and from the likes of it ruined. However, when talking to Roger Waters about the music, his comments suggest that Michelangelo himself had no idea what to do with the film.
Antonioni's style, from his earlier work, and specially vivid in BLOW UP is that of a person looking through a key-hole, something which he has alluded to many times. It is his curiosity as to 'what else is there, that we can't see" that defines his films. BLOW UP is that and more.
It is the story (more an event, really) of a London modeling photographer who spends his time working models for the many magazines he works. And on occasion, this photographer gets more than what he bargains for, or is intent on getting anyway. The shoots with the models usually end up in a veritable orgy, with the camera clicking away. And one day, during a stroll, he is simply shooting to his heart's content. When he finds a particular negative which stands out, he proceeds to make a larger print of the negative. Lo and behold, there is a small detail which catches his curiosity. Just a few feet from the people he has caught on the camera is a detail which he has to investigate. And it turns out
it was the detail of a woman, who was killed. And the scene he caught may have been the continuation of that event or not.
And the film develops the idea, with the photographer ever more intrigued by the event.
Perhaps, what makes Antonioni, a good film maker is that his camera is a very active subject. There is always a hint of more to come, or
happen, and adds to our curiosity. As a story itself, almost all of his films are simple, which may hint that the story itself is not as important as a single detail which misleads us away from the main thread, and adds another. And at times, these are not resolved.
Aside from that, these films are good to watch, because they really are the windows into what created a 'mod' generation in the 60's, of which
film may very well have been the defining form. If not, at least it showed others another way of living, since the films around this time, with the french new wave ( Godard and Truffaut ) were espousing newer styles of filming and story telling. Godard even went so far as to make sure that he never told a story, just caught moments of action, and played little perception games with the camera, which at times were annoying, but always refreshing, in that we could never really predict what would happen. This type of feeling is very prevalent on Antonioni, even in Federico Fellini, and the majority of the well known film makers of the time, aside from Hollywood, which stuck with the technical developments more than the art, or literature, of film itself.
An interesting aside is how photography changes things, and a similar situation is found with the Internet these days, when you end up finding things that change the everyday walk of life in very similar and strange ways.
ARTSY FILM FOR THE THOUGHT ORIENTED VIEWER.
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