ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Blowup (1966)

UK, Italy 110m, Colour
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni; Cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

Set in Britain during the “swinging ‘60s” Blowup is at times interesting, but is more often a pretentious drama which follows the daily life of a self-obsessed fashion photographer who accidentally photographs a possible murder victim while shooting landscapes in a park. Also known for the “sexiest scene in cinema history” which now seems a somewhat clichéd photo shoot of the pouty-faced 1960s model Veruschka, Blowup’s most titillating moments arguably involve Vanessa Redgrave’s tastefully topless scenes with Hemmings as she attempts to take back unsolicited photographs he has taken of her. The film’s ambiguous conclusion, which leaves the main character questioning his own reality, while intending to be complex, is at best clever, but is really neither satisfying or significant (Klaus Ming December 2010).

6 comments on “Blowup (1966)

  1. Dave Becker

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one, but I do remember being fascinated with it. I liked how the film kept you guessing (did he see something in those photos, or didn’t he?). There is a heavy ‘mod’ feel to it, which i guess would have been natural for a 60’s movie set in London, and I can understand where you might find it pretentious (especially taking that bizarre ending into account).

  2. Anthony Lee Collins

    My interpretation (not the only possible one, and based on seeing the film a million years ago) was that in the early scene where he’s watching the tennis match he starts to have a fantasy about what if something really exciting happened to him, something real, a murder, with a clue in one of his photos, and that’s the rest of the movie. At the end, watching the mimes play tennis, he hears the tennis ball being hit because the real tennis match is still going on, and he’s coming back from his fantasy to the real (superficial and ultimately boring) world of his life.

    (My two cents.)

    • Dave Becker

      Anthony: I have to check this one out again myself, though I do like your proposed interpretation (in short, I hope when watching it again that I find your take is the correct one! I suspect it will add layers to the film that I never before noticed).

  3. Klaus

    I pretty quickly dismissed this film shortly after seeing it. It simply seemed to be trying to hard. I’m normally quite like films which are open to broad interpretation – I must have been having a bad day ;).

    I appreciate both of your comments and insights – I probably should give this a second look at some point.

  4. Anthony Lee Collins

    Frankly, I should give it a second look, too, since it was easily 25 years ago when I saw it. Who knows what I would think now (of its quality or of my interpretation back then)?

    I just went to add it to my Netflix queue and (as usual) I discovered it was lurking there already in the lower 100s. I bumped it up.

  5. joem18b

    Definitely a movie for its time. It made a splash; we all watched it; I remember liking it, sort of. The main thing about it was that it seemed fresh, new, cutting edge. Art house. This was in Cambridge, Mass.

    I started it the other day but didn’t get very far, due to the ho-hum factor.

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This entry was posted on 12/31/2010 by in 1001 List, 1960s, All and tagged .
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