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From Blow Up to Blow Out: Tracking the 70s Engima between 1966-1981

by Devon Gallant
From Blow Up to Blow Out: Tracking the 70s Engima between 1966-1981 by Devon Gallant
Where does the 70s aesthetic begin in film and where does it end. If you begin in 1970 then you omit a host of films that align themselves much closer to the films of the 70s than the films of the early 60s or even late 50s and portray a cinematic landscape unfaithful to its development. Personally, I think the greatest example for the cinematic shift in aesthetic can be found in Mike Nichols filmography. In 1966, Nichols made Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf a film which pushed the boundaries of a cinema mode that had been slowly evolving since the 1940’s. Then, in 1967, Nichols made The Graduate, a film which, in my opinion, broke all ties… Read more

Where does the 70s aesthetic begin in film and where does it end. If you begin in 1970 then you omit a host of films that align themselves much closer to the films of the 70s than the films of the early 60s or even late 50s and portray a cinematic landscape unfaithful to its development. Personally, I think the greatest example for the cinematic shift in aesthetic can be found in Mike Nichols filmography. In 1966, Nichols made Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf a film which pushed the boundaries of a cinema mode that had been slowly evolving since the 1940’s. Then, in 1967, Nichols made The Graduate, a film which, in my opinion, broke all ties to the established aesthetics of film. The Graduate, for me, really is the launchpad for the 1970s film movement; gritty saturated colors, contemporary, natural. However, I found myself drawn to both Blow Up and Blow Out as bookends to this movement. Blow Up feels like its right on the crest of it, while Blow Out feels like the last crashing wave, not quite a part of it but reminiscent. These two films seem to perfectly contain in between them that time and place I was searching for. This list is very particular, as extensive as it is, it places an emphasis on directors that debuted and shaped this time period as well as on films that embody the new cinematic aesthetic. This is why great films and directors have been excluded, like John Huston or Ingmar Bergman for example. The films I have focused on are contemporary as opposed to period pieces, urban opposed to pastoral, and in color as opposed to black and white.

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