by Charles David

blow-upReleased in 1966, Blow-up made an indelible debut in swinging London and was immediately hailed as a masterpiece.

In his seminal film Blow-up, writer director Michelangelo Antonioni examines the existential nature of reality interpreted through photography, pantomime and landscape paintings. Blow-up centers around a young stylish, successful London photographer with big blue eyes and a head full of chestnut hair, name Thomas-who lives a life of cynicism and melancholy. This superbly directed mystery, was Antonioni’s first production on English soil and it became a classic from the moment it hit the big screen. Blow-up is injected with doses of deviltry, and sinister overtones throughout, depicting pubic hair and strong nudity to American audiences-at a time when no other mainstream English-language movie had attempted it. Blow-up even got away with not being rated as a film for mature audiences.

During a stroll one day through a local park, on a quiet, mildly breezy, slightly overcast afternoon, Thomas catches sight of a mysterious couple acting playfully and flirtatious. Amused by the their apparent bliss, he stands behind a tree from a distance and proceeded to take a series of photographs, in an almost voyeuristic manner. Back at his studio, struck with curiosity, the young photographer develops the roll of film, only to discover he may have been the witness to a murder in the park and inadvertently photographed it. The plot thickens, when it soon becomes apparent, that someone from the scene of the crime, followed Thomas back to his studio, determined to retrieve the film through whatever means necessary.

Blow-up is truly a masterpiece and Hemmings as the young mod photographer, gives an stellar performance. There are some priceless and revealing moments in Blow-up you have to pay close attention to in order to fully understand Thomas. The interactions between him and his neighbor Patricia, played by Sarah Miles, who lives with a young painter across the way. Another important scene is where we find Thomas in the park at early dawn, watching college kids play tennis with an imaginary ball. These powerful scenes give us an important glimpse into Thomas’s desires and in my opinion, sets Michelangelo Antonioni apart as a master storyteller.

BLOW UP from Ranjith Daluwatta

“People thought i was dead. But I wasn’t. I was just directing The A-Team”

David Hemmings

David Hemmings in Blow-up