Leading Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni, attempted to capture London during the swinging sixties in his first British film, Blow-Up. The central character, a young, rich, petulant photographer played by David Hemmings, was himself very much a symbol of the period, and is established at the start, having slept in a dosshouse so that he can gain photo-reportage material for a book, driving away in a Rolls Royce. While photographing in a London park he sees a man and a woman embracing. The woman runs over to stop him taking pictures but he returns to his studio. The woman appears, demanding the negatives, and he gives her a substitute roll. On developing his picture he is startled to find what appears to be a man with a gun in the bushes and, in a later shot, a body. Rushing back to the park in the middle of the night he finds the body, but on his return to the studio all his pictures have disappeared. —Britmovie.co.uk
Michelangelo Antonioni once described his work as “archeological research” which sifted through “the arid remains of our times”. If Fellini claimed to treat the past as science fiction, Antonioni gazed deeply into the future already visible in the present (L’Eclisse) or a past which uneasily hung onto a present that had outlived it (L’Avventura). Born in an upper-middle class family in Ferrara in 1912; Antonioni studied economics at the University of Bologna, where he staged works by Luigi Pirandello as well as original work written by himself. Antonioni’s time as a film critic for the Roman Cinema magazine brought him in contact with Cesare Zavattini, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and others. For Rossellini, he would co-write Un pilota ritorna and with Fellini, he collaborated on the screenplay of his first feature The White Shiek.
Antonioni, however, yearned to begin his own career in film. To this end, he enrolled at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinemografia… read more
There's an incisive reading of Blow-Up in Antonioni: Centenary Essays. Laura Rascaroli argues for the film as Antonioni's discourse on objectuality and the dissolution of the modernist's individuality in the face of a then-burgeoning post-modernity. An intelligent rupture in the usual reading of cultural surfaces, opening on a violent thesis of history. Highly recommended.
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