Echo Dot countdown boutiques-francophones Introducing Fire 7 tablet, starting at $59.99 WFM Furniture Kindle Paperwhite sports Tools

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 24, 2010
Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up" features David Hemmings as the photographer. This film follows the photographer into a park where he takes photos of a couple embracing and playing. It is later when he develops the photos that he finds out that he has evidence of a murder in the backgrounds of the photos.

The movie is as much about the photgrapher in the film as it is about Antonioni, who is also the photographer of the movie. In the movie when Hemmings develops the photos he is trying to put together the reality of the scene, and he is trying to impose a narrative on the scene he has viewed just as the director himself through a sequence of scenes is creating a narrative. Can reality ever really make sense though? Here, the photographer is going over photo after photo in order to try and recreate the past moment that he witnessed. Interestingly enough while we are watching the scenes there is no sound or music except the haunting sounds we heard in the park of the leaves of the trees rustling in the wind. Through these sequences of shots a marvelous build up of drama is created as we speculate about what he is going to find. Eventually he does find a man in the woods holding a gun, and believes that he has prevented a murder. It is through a series of shots like these that Antonioni's genius for film making is conveyed. After blowing up a few more photos he finds a body and realizes that someone was killed after all.

There is a scene that is important in the film that shows an artist in his studio who makes a comment that he often doesn't know what he has made until after the fact. And it is only after he has had some time to view the painting that some aspect of it begins to have meaning for him. It is at this point that he has then imposed meaning on the image. This could be said to be the way Antonioni works through his own work as a director. When the photographer goes back to the park to see if the body is there it is to verify the reality of what he has seen in the photos. After he sees the body in the park he then must find someone else in order to verify his view because reality only has meaning in a social context. But then when he goes back to his studio he finds that someone has stolen the photos, and so the evidence of the murder is gone. When he returns to the body in order to photograph the body it also is gone. Now he can't prove that there was a murder. The blown up photos look like one of Bill's abstract paintings where there was no meaning until the artist imposed one on the image, just as Hemming's character too has imposed meaning on the photos he has taken. By blowing up the photos it is as if he has revealed layers under layers to find meaning, but has he found any meaning if he can't now prove it to anyone else? Vanessa Redgrave's character appears again and then disappears. Constantly we are led through this labyrinth where the truth remains elusive. Meaning is shown as only having meaning if it is in a social context as meaning is a social construction. Hemming is never able to verify his reality since he can never get anyone to see the corpse.

In the last scene, with the mimes, we have a group of people participating in the illusion of a tennis game which the photographer witnesses. We are shown that the imaginary tennis game has meaning because this group of mimes buy into this reality. Eventually Hemming's character also buys into this reality as he goes to retrieve the imaginary ball that was hit over the fence. Even the camera buys into this reality as it too follows the flight of the imaginary ball which flies over the fence and rolls over the grass. Ultimately Hemming's character disappears which seems to reaffirm that this is the director's reality that he has created.
Blow-Up is about these layers of meaning that are constantly being pealed away as if there is no true reality that can be seen since reality is constantly shifting depending on the context or point of view.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 12, 2004
Michelangelo Antonioni's breathtaking masterpiece is without a doubt one of the all time greats(probably around #25-30 ever). It had almost become a forgotten gem until it finally got released on DVD. Nows a chance for everyone who says that they are film buffs to indulge in one of the best mind game movies ever. This is probably the second best art film ever, behind David Lynch's "Eraserhead" of course. The plot is not really important in the grand sceme of the movie. It is more about the arc of the main character, how he feels about his love life, career, and his place in society. The symbolism and imagery in the film is endless. Even though Blow Up has been analyzed and watched frame by frame by so many people, for so many years, I still doubt that anyone has discovered the true meaning of the film. But enough of the praise for the film, and on to the DVD. The quality is amazing. The colors that Antonioni chose so carefully are shown so clearly that they begin to bleed right into your head. You will be seeing colors and images from the film in your mind for weeks afterward, as I have. The sound is also great. The DVD is well worth the relatively low price. The commentary track is not as bad as everyone says, it is just that the author does not really take a stand on the films multiple meanings. But all in all, you can't say you know movies until you have seen Blow Up. And if you don't like it the first time, I recommend seeing it a second time. Little details become alot more interesting & clear on second viewing. You will be treating yourself to a masterpiece.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on February 5, 1998
To watch Blow-Up, you are confronted by two aspects. One is that the film can be taken purely as a straight forward mystery thriller; or secondly, you can approach the film as a snapshot that pours in every garish '60's cliche possible. The plot is minimal, and revolves around a wealthy young photographer (based loosely on David Bailey) who accidently photographs a murder. But no one believes him, even though he has blown up the image of a person hiding in the bushes of an inner city park, clutching a gun that is pointed at a man. The man is clearly the murder victim, that has been lured into the park by a young woman (Vanessa Redgrave), who herself disappears after trying to retreive the film from the photograher (David Hemmings). After this the film is bombarded by all the images that make this film so british. The pop stars (played by the Yardbirds) the colourfully trendy people, and a group of mime artists - which seem to accentuate Hemmings' own isolation. I particularly enjoyed the tennis scene with the mime artists and Hemmings, where Hemmings picks up the imaginary ball and throws it to them. And there the film ends, almost surrealistically, but if you liked the 60's and all that it embodied, this film is for you. It is as essential as the Mini and the E-Type Jaguar, a wild ride of beautifully filmed scenes that is pure arthouse. Sit back and enjoy. END
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on July 29, 2002
This is a classic film about two days in a fashion photographer's life in London in the 1960's in which a mystery occurs. For those of us who are fascinated with photographing various subjects that we encounter, posed as well as candid, and have some appreciation of the process of how the image goes from camera to paper in a darkroom, this film is very interesting. However, one aspect of the tape version is very disappointing. There is a scene in approximately the middle of the picture when Hemmings is wrestling with two girls in his studio. This scene has obviously been censored. In the original release of the film, this scene was much longer and had additional action occurring. The censoring in the tape version is obvious because for a brief period, Hemmings has a different hairstyle and hair color. Very disappointing! Perhaps if it were put on DVD, the original version of the film could be included. Even with this most unfortunate censoring, the film is still a classic and I am likewise surprised that it is not yet on DVD.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on February 26, 2004
I used to check out the video of this from my local public library (not the kind of thing one finds on the shelf at Blockbuster), and found myself going back to it again and again, over time. I was drawn into its pace, its quiet, its wandering. Now, the DVD - not a perfect package, certainly, but well worth the price. Cheap-o case, slim "extras" - what the hell is with that "music-only" soundtrack, anyway? It really is just the visual of the film playing with the added music (what little there is), no dialog or other sounds, not even the Yardbirds stuff!
While the audio commentary is potentially off-putting (be prepared for obligatory academic fussing about male dominance, "male gaze" etc), the guy manages to stay focussed on what's on screen at the moment, and even comes through with a few worthwhile observations - particularly the film's motif of things losing their meaning when placed out of context (the one photo left behind after the burglary, the broken guitar fretboard taken from the club). While a regular viewer might observe the photographer being kind of snippy (and - gasp! - rude) toward his models, the critic complains of his "brutal" treatment of women; when Hemmings is taking pictures of Veruschka, and then stops when he feels he's done taking pictures, our audio professor sniffs at the photographer/male oppressor using and discarding the poor, sensitive, victimized model. Sheeesh! What was he supposed to do, cuddle her?
I suppose it is a relevant topic in the context of Antonioni's other work, but the guy takes too much delight in skewering the main character, who we are supposed to like, after all. (Pretty much the same thing happens with the critc's commentary on the Criterion DVD of "Straw Dogs").
Overall though, the commentary is not too intrusive, and the more relevant insights, and the power of the film itself, offset any rhetorical groaners one might hear. I'm not sure if I ever noticed the apparent glimpse of the Vanessa Redgrave character on the street at night, quickly vanishing in the crowd. The use of the director's camera-eye to separate itself from the main character's point of view is another element to the sense of mystery. About the only moment in the film that doesn't ring true for me is the catatonic audience at Ricky Tick's - one cannot listen to the Yardbirds (live, no less) in such a state.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on October 15, 1999
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film adaptation of Julio Cortazar's "Blow-Up," perhaps Antonioni's best known work, represents a truly great adaptation of a short story, though the film on its own still stands as a great artistic acheivement. It is a remarkable example of an international work (an Italian director working with a British cast), a project which can easily go awry. David Hemings and Vanessa Redgrave both give excellent performances, but most important, it is a highly stylized somewhat avant-garde work, but in the end, the story has direct meaning and still makes perfectly clear sense- a true rarity. "Blow-Up's" value as a literary adaptation is only one virtue the film possesses, but this virtue includes several positive aspects. "Blow-Up" centers around a photographer named Robert, who, while walkng through the park one afternoon, photographs two lovers from a distance. The woman furiously demands that Robert hand over the negatives. Instead, he returns to hs studio to develop them. After studyng the photographs carefully, Robert discovers that the woman, working with a third firgure situated behind the hedge, is murdering the young man. As he studies the photos, Robert is watching an actual murder take place, but he is powerless to stop it, because it is only taking place in the photographs. Here, the line separating reality and imagination has become completely blurred. As events unfold, the photographer comes to realize that the entire sequence may have only taken place in his head. The recurring theme of both the short story and the film is that people ultimately construct their own reality. Cortazar helped establsh this theme from the beginning by writing his story alternately in first person and in third person, sometimes in singular, sometimes in plural, the implication being that the narrator himself isn't even certain whether or not any of this actually took place. In his film adaptation, Antonioni took what was represented as a few short scenes in the short story, and integrated his own material, bringing the film to a reasonable running time. The impressive part of this is that the integrated material, while completely fabricated by the filmmaker, still manages to make itself relevant by being in compliance with the story's main theme. The mime troupe is the most interesting of these additions. They appear in the beginning, their only apparent purpose to create havoc in the city. Though in the end, it is the mime troupe who make the film's theme most apparent. While playing a mock game of tennis, the mimes knock the "ball" out of the court. Robert goes to retrieve it for them. He bends over, picks up an imaginary ball, and throws it back on the court. The camera stays on Robert as he watches them play, and slowly, we begin to hear the sound of a tennis ball being bounced back and forth. Once again, Robert has immersed himself in the reality of his imagination, so to speak. Antonioni, an absolute master of sound control, pulls this effect off as no other director could have. The short story's theme of imagination and reality could so easily have been lost on film, since film is by its nature a third person limited storytelling medium. Antonioni's uses of sound, as in all of his movies, is truly astounding, and he uses this medium very effectively to enter Robert's personal reality. This is perhaps the greatest genius of the film adaptation.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 6, 2002
Ever since I first saw this movie in the late 60's, it seemed clear to me that the whole picture was not really about the veracity of the crime that the photographer supposedly shot, but rather about the unreality of the life of the mod world, and by extension of the pop world as a whole. The two different chromatic tones used by Antonioni to depict the real life, as represented by the flop house, and the illusory pop world, the main theme of the movie, are indicative of the contrasting realities portrayed in the film. Hunger, poverty, old age, diseases, and dead are painted in subdued mate tones. On the other hand, the harlequins, mimes, drugs parties, rock concerts and other happenings populated by those zombies that represent the pop culture, their unreality notwithstanding, are filmed with bright fluorescent colors. These specimens of what now is considered the "beautiful people", are empty of true emotions. And just by chance, to one of its members, the photographer, the opportunity to escape from that unreal world is offered in the form of the photographing of a murder, without meaning to. Confronted with the absolute truth, death, this superficial human being does not know how to behave. That surreal world to which he belongs has ingrained so deeply into his soul, that instead of behaving like a normal person would do by going to the police, he instead unconsciously invents as many circuitous, roundabouts ways as possible to avoid the confrontation of that most real of truths: death. So that is why, after realizing that the corpse has disappeared, he circumambulates aimlessly by the park. And when asked by the mime to return the illusory tennis ball (that is, to reinsert himself anew in the illusory mod or fashion world) he decides to comply, having lost for ever the opportunity to be a true human being. And that is why the unreal tennis ball starts to sound in the final seconds of the movie.
What makes this film a classical masterpiece, besides the formal and structural techniques employed by "el maestro" Antonioni, is his depiction of the banal, sophomoric reality of the mod and pop world. And all banality of that world depicted in the film is as true today as in the 60's (just take a look at the frantic and pathetic lives of all those soulless Hollywood stars).
To say that the film has not aged well just because the white jeans that Hemmings wears are today demodé, is like saying that Battleship Potemkin is an anachronism because the Odessa steps scene sequence has been surpassed by Brian De Palma in The Untouchables. Simply put, classics by definition can not be dated. By the way, Blow-Up is based in a short history by Julio Cortazar("Las babas del diablo"), and has nothing to do with the Zapruder film, whatsoever.
As to some resemblance to the Austin Power movies I can not attest one way or the other, because life is too short to spend two hours seeing such stupid, silly movies (or Titanic, or Gladiator, or Shakespeare In Love, or Pearl Harbor, for that matter).
The jazz score throughout the most appealing scenes and the ominous wind in the park are employed in a masterly way. If any film deserves to be edited in DVD, this is it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 10, 2004
I was in my early teens when this movie first came out, and it really knocked me out. It still does. It is full of mystery and art, beauty and pathos, banality and the sublime. I didn't fully understand it either then or now, and maybe Antonioni didn't altogether either, but he certainly knew he was on to something. It is beautiful and mesmerizing in any case, and one of a handful of films I really enjoy seeing over and over...decade after decade.
That said, I was driven nearly apoplectic by the driveling idiocy of the commentary track on this new DVD. This blithering hyena would have ruined the film for me forever had I not had the presence of mind to shut him off after the first 25 minutes or so. From informing us all that there is "no such thing as nature" (it's just a "social construct"...right, like an "avalanche") to hammering home ad nauseam that men are evil oppressors and women are their innocent victims (it couldn't be that both sexes are prone to selling themselves the film so clearly depicts), this imbecilic clown bludgeons any viewer with a remnant of a functioning brain with what a total boondoggle collegiate "Film Studies" are.
Do the whole world a favor, and buy this great movie on VHS, which has excellent quality. Don't reward the mindless drudges of P.C. academia by buying this disc.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on May 16, 2001
For an American viewer BLOW UP should be a lesson in character credibility. The film is all about the life style of a hot-shot photographer who stumbles on to a crime. You are wasting your time going off into the artsy atmosphere expecting to find something else. I loved this film because it was honest enough to take time for the purpose of providing the depth of Thomas' [Hemmings] ability and range as a photographer. Once you knew who Thomas was, you believed in his photo genius. I can't figure out why Sara Miles played a role. She did nothing to advance the story. Vanessa in her late 20s gave a dandy performance of a mysterious woman. From time to time the director treats you to sexy scenes of underfed British photographer models and would-be models. Those scenes hold your interest while you are spending time learning about Thomas' photography skills. For Americans you'll be delighted to know that the British slang is minimal. A "doss house" is a flop house. That's about it. I enjoyed this honest movie.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on May 23, 2002
Memories of David Hemmings astride the statuesque Veruschka, Gawd! This ground-breaking thriller [?] by Antonioni views like a 'Who's Who?' of Beautiful People circa 1965/6. Superb art direction and color choices from brilliant vermilion to the seductive and so dangerous velvety black 'midnight park' tones. It's beautiful child David Hemmings as the pop photographer spying on loved ones in the park and finding something sinister in the underbrush, perhaps .... a body?
Spectacular Vanessa Redgrave as the slightly neurotic mystery woman in search of 'those negatives' from Hemmings 'shows' what's it's all about [still does!]
AND that odd ending - aaah, it's all in the eye of the beholder!
Antonioni imitators abound - but there's only one master!
Tennis anyone?
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse