Review of Blow-Up (1966)

Moving picture, 111 minutes

An abusive photographer in London, famous for his work with fashion, drives around erratically in search of inspiration. His life is fleeting, unreal, dependent on what he finds. He comes upon a park and takes pictures of a couple at a distance. The woman of that couple quickly demands to have the film, but the photographer develops it. As strange details catch his eye, he obsessively enlarges sections of the images and starts to think that he has accidentally preserved evidence of a murder.

New Wave. All very meta and gaze-theoretical ahead of its time. One case of the public coming for the boobies and staying for the art. The musical performance scene is gloriously black: You may know the meaning of cool, but you can’t keep it when some dipshit throws a broken guitar.

This film has been profitably compared to Rear Window (1954). Both are about solitary male photographers suspecting murder, but in the words of Diana Crane in The Production of Culture (1992), Rear Window “is likely to confirm for viewers that their world is predictable and unambiguous”. Where Hitchcock’s older film projects a world view typical of a child or of a lazy thinker, Antonioni embraces and ultimately exaggerates a more truthful view.

References here: Blow Out (1981).

moving picture fiction