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BLOWUP

FEBRUARY 2011

SYNOPSIS:
Blowup is a 1966 British-Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, his first English-language film. It tells of a photographer's accidental involvement with a murder, inspired by Julio Cortázar's 1959 short story, Las babas del diablo or The Devil's Drool, and by the life of Swinging London photographer David Bailey. The film was scored by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, although the music is source music, as Hancock noted: "It's only there when someone turns on the radio or puts on a record." Nominated for several awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Blowup won the Grand Prix.

Critical Comments
Time magazine called the film a "far-out, uptight and vibrantly exciting picture" that represented a "screeching change of creative direction" for Antonioni; the magazine predicted it would "undoubtedly be by far the most popular movie Antonioni has ever made".

Andrew Sarris said the movie was "a mod masterpiece". In Playboy Magazine, Arthur Knight wrote that Blowup would be "as important and seminal a film as Citizen Kane, Open City and Hiroshima, Mon Amour – perhaps even more so".

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called it a "fascinating picture, which has something real to say about the matter of personal involvement and emotional commitment in a jazzed-up, media-hooked-in world so cluttered with synthetic stimulations that natural feelings are overwhelmed". Crowther had reservations, describing the "usual Antonioni passages of seemingly endless wanderings" as "redundant and long"; nevertheless, he called Blowup a "stunning picture- beautifully built up with glowing images and color compositions that get us into the feelings of our man and into the characteristics of the mod world in which he dwells". Even film director Ingmar Bergman, who generally disliked Antonioni, acknowledged its significance: "He's done two masterpieces, you don't have to bother with the rest. One is Blowup, which I've seen many times, and the other is La Notte, also a wonderful film, although that's mostly because of the young Jeanne Moreau."

Blowup was controversial as the first British film to feature full frontal female nudity. MGM did not gain approval for the film under the MPAA Production Code in the United States. The code's collapse and revision was foreshadowed when MGM released the film through a subsidiary distributor and Blowup was shown widely in North American cinemas.

[edit] Noted cameos
Sundry people known in 1966 are in the film; others became famous later. The most widely noted cameo was by The Yardbirds, who perform "Stroll On" in the last third. Antonioni first asked Eric Burdon to play that scene but he turned it down. As Keith Relf sings, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck play to either side, along with Chris Dreja. After his guitar amplifier fails, Beck bashes his guitar to bits, as The Who did at the time. Antonioni had wanted the Who in Blowup as he was fascinated by Pete Townshend's guitar-smashing routine.[3] Steve Howe of The In Crowd recalled, "We went on the set and started preparing for that guitar-smashing scene in the club. They even went as far as making up a bunch of Gibson 175 replicas ... and then we got dropped for The Yardbirds, who were a bigger name. That's why you see Jeff Beck smashing my guitar rather than his!"[4] Antonioni also considered using The Velvet Underground in the nightclub scene, but according to guitarist Sterling Morrison, "the expense of bringing the whole entourage to England proved too much for him."[5]

Michael Palin of Monty Python can be seen briefly in the sullen nightclub crowd[6] and Janet Street-Porter dances in stripy Carnaby Street trousers.

A poster on the club's door bears a drawing of a tombstone with the epitaph, Here lies Bob Dylan Passed Away Royal Albert Hall 27 May 1966 R.I.P., harking to Dylan's switch to electric instruments at this time. Beside the Dylan are posters bearing a caricature of Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Source : Wikipedia

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