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A successful mod photographer in London whose world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and easy sex, feels his life is boring and despairing. Then he meets a mysterious beauty, and also notices something frightfully suspicious on one of his photographs of her taken in a park. The fact that he may have photographed a murder does not occur to him until he studies and then blows up his negatives, uncovering details, blowing up smaller and smaller elements, and finally putting the puzzle together. Written by
It is hard to find people who will readily defend this movie these days. It is commonly thought of as pretentious, overly artsy, and lacking coherence. If you don't connect with the film that is fine, but to call it trash is a mistake. Many people try to pin this as being a 60's statement. It is not however. Antonioni was a veteran filmmaker who got lumped in with the new wave scene because he was around at the same time. This was initially a hit, though that probably had little to due with it's actual merits as a film.
It is the story of an artist. The photographer Thomas, who has lost all feeling of passion for his work. He hangs around London taking fashion photographs. He is cruel to his models and other women in his life. He seems interested in other's art but cannot be roused to create any of his own. He will soon be releasing a book of photographs, all of which are uninspired photos of the poor, sick and dying. While in the park he takes a series of shots he hopes will be a nice epilogue to his collection. They are of a couple playing in the park. These pictures, however, are not what they seem.
Antonioni makes great use of insinuation. He tantalizes us with the possibility of what could have been. In us he insights the same passion that is in Thomas. In the end, I don't think he disappears so much as he returns. He does not return as the same person, though. He is changed by the passion for his art and the challenge of reality. He is no longer playing the game of catch the murderer, or faking the motions of being a photographer, or posing as a deep artist by taking sad pictures. He is now truly inspired.
Today many people hate Thomas. And with good reason. He is definitely not a nice person, but he is one of my favorite anti-heroes. There is a scene many people may miss. It is short. He is driving in his car, I think after speeding off from some want to be models, he turns on the radio, and starts bobbing his head and making funny faces to the music. This is the scene that redeems his early self to me. When he is alone, we see he still has an innocent streak despite his cruelty.
All that being said, I only recommend this to the more serious moviegoer. 10/10
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