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Blowup
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Blow-Up (1966) More at IMDbPro »Blowup (original title)

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Overview

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7.7/10   32,661 votes »
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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Michelangelo Antonioni (story)
Julio Cortázar (short story "Las babas del diablo")
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Blow-Up on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 December 1966 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Michelangelo Antonioni's first British film See more »
Plot:
A mod London photographer seems to find something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 4 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(177 articles)
User Reviews:
A parable about the possible dehumanizing effects of photography... See more (234 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Vanessa Redgrave ... Jane

Sarah Miles ... Patricia

David Hemmings ... Thomas

John Castle ... Bill

Jane Birkin ... The Blonde
Gillian Hills ... The Brunette

Peter Bowles ... Ron

Veruschka von Lehndorff ... Herself (as Verushka)
Julian Chagrin ... Mime
Claude Chagrin ... Mime
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Jeff Beck ... Himself - The Yardbirds (uncredited)
Susan Brodrick ... Antique shop owner (uncredited)

Tsai Chin ... Thomas's receptionist (uncredited)
Julio Cortázar ... Homeless (uncredited)
Chris Dreja ... Himself - The Yardbirds (uncredited)
Melanie Hampshire ... Model (uncredited)
Harry Hutchinson ... Shopkeeper (uncredited)
Jill Kennington ... Model (uncredited)
Mary Khal ... Fashion editor (uncredited)
Chas Lawther ... Waiter (uncredited)
Dyson Lovell ... Man outside restaurant (uncredited)
Jim McCarty ... Himself - The Yardbirds (uncredited)
Peggy Moffitt ... Model (uncredited)
Rosaleen Murray ... Model (uncredited)
Ann Norman ... Model (uncredited)
Ronan O'Casey ... Jane's lover in park (uncredited)

Jimmy Page ... Himself - The Yardbirds (uncredited)
Keith Relf ... Himself - The Yardbirds (uncredited)
Janet Street-Porter ... Girl Dancing In Ricky Tick Club (uncredited)

Reg Wilkins ... Reg - Thomas's assistant (uncredited)
Fred Wood ... Homeless Man (uncredited)
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Directed by
Michelangelo Antonioni 
 
Writing credits
Michelangelo Antonioni (story)

Julio Cortázar (short story "Las babas del diablo") (as Julio Cortazar)

Michelangelo Antonioni (screenplay) and
Tonino Guerra (screenplay)

Edward Bond (English dialogue)

Produced by
Carlo Ponti .... producer
Pierre Rouve .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Herbie Hancock  (as Herbert Hancock)
 
Cinematography by
Carlo Di Palma  (as Carlo di Palma)
 
Film Editing by
Frank Clarke (uncredited)
 
Casting by
Irene Howard (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Assheton Gorton 
 
Costume Design by
Jocelyn Rickards (dresses)
 
Makeup Department
Stephanie Kaye .... hair stylist
Paul Rabiger .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Donald Toms .... production manager
Roy Parkinson .... production supervisor (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claude Watson .... assistant director
Antal Kovacs .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Roger King .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Alan Roderick-Jones .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Robin Gregory .... sound recordist
Mike Le Mare .... sound editor
J.B. Smith .... dubbing mixer
Arkadi De Rakoff .... assistant sound (uncredited)
Ray Palmer .... sound assistant (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ray Parslow .... camera operator
David Wynn-Jones .... assistant camera
Arthur Evans .... still photographer (uncredited)
Dennis C. Lewiston .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
Alec Mills .... focus puller (uncredited)
Mike Rutter .... clapper loader (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rebecca Breed .... wardrobe supervisor (as Jackie Breed)
 
Editorial Department
Alan Corder .... assembly cutter (uncredited)
 
Other crew
John Cowan .... photographic murals
Piers Haggard .... dialogue assistant
Betty Harley .... continuity
Bruce Sharman .... location manager
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Blowup" - UK (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
111 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 (DVD rating) | Argentina:18 (Original rating) | Australia:M | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia/Ontario) | Canada:14A (video rating) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-16 | Germany:16 (re-rating) | Hong Kong:IIB | Iceland:L | Italy:VM14 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:NC-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) (2005) | UK:15 (video rating) (1986) (1994) (2004) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:18 (original rating) (w)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Loosely based on the careers of Swinging London's ace fashion photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The print removed by Thomas from the darkroom ferrotype dryer is stiff and perfectly dry, however the print shown moments later in the following scene is limp and obviously still wet.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Mime:Give me your money. Do it.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Stroll OnSee more »

FAQ

What kind of car was Thomas driving?
See more »
157 out of 210 people found the following review useful.
A parable about the possible dehumanizing effects of photography..., 19 May 2000
Author: jawills from Vancouver, Canada

BLOW-UP is the story of a successful fashion photographer, Thomas (David Hemmings), who, whilst scouting for fresh subjects in a park one afternoon, photographs a mysterious couple in 'flagrante delicto.' Upon returning to his studio loft later that day, he develops the pictures and discovers that he has inadvertently stumbled upon a murder. Antonioni is not interested in the details of the murder itself, as in a typical detective story, but rather with how the protagonist's perception of the world, and his relationship to it, is altered by this event.

As a fashion photographer, Thomas is a creator of illusions that define a certain kind of young urban lifestyle and Antonioni's flagrant use of the loud, splashy, attention-grabbing colors of billboard advertising -- a visual association elevated to an unholy apotheosis in his next film, ZABRISKIE POINT (1970) -- brings to the surface the transient sensation and hollow artifice that lies at the heart of all pop culture consumerism. In his previous work, RED DESERT (1964), Antonioni spray-painted both the man-made décor as well as the natural setting as a means of giving concrete expression to the heroine's neurotic state of mind and her ameliorative aestheticizing vision of a world despoiled by technology and pollution. He does the same in BLOW-UP, painting doors, fences, poles, and the façades of entire buildings to emphasize the exhilaration and alienation that characterizes life in a large modern city.

Psychedelic colors make the 'real' world of the film seem exaggerated and hyperbolic like a fantastic 'surface' reality, while the 'captured' and reconstructed world of the photographs appears ominously stark, grainy, and documentary-like -- the bare, denuded 'essence' of reality. In the central montage sequence of the film, the camera -- in place of Thomas' eyes -- slowly moves back and forth from one photograph to the next, and likewise, Antonioni cuts back and forth from the pictures to the protagonist looking at them. Since the act of looking at these enhanced images effectively reconstructs an event that the protagonist -- and the audience -- never actually saw with the naked eye in 'real life,' technology is shown to reveal a new surface of the world that is normally hidden from view. Antonioni's own particular brand of phenomenological Neorealism is concerned primarily with the process of seeing through a camera as a way of exposing an ultimate truth, or a lack thereof, that underlies the surface of the world.

The curious self-reflexivity of this scene is an epistemological hall of mirrors: Antonioni's camera looks at Thomas looking at photographs which are blown up larger and larger so that eventually they become merely an abstract collection of dots, a Rorschach test in which almost anything can be read. Like the Abstract Expressionist paintings of the tormented artist son in Pasolini's TEOREMA (1968), the received cultural baggage and semiotic referentiality of the image is eliminated until all that remains is purest subjectivity of the spectator. And so, picture-making technology mediates reality only up to a point: once the threshold of referentiality has been crossed, the suspicion of a murder in the park gleaned from a series of enlarged photographs would seem to say more about Thomas' own paranoid state of mind than what his camera may or may not have recorded.

This subtextual aspect of the film has been compared to the controversy surrounding the various interpretations of the Abraham Zapruder film as a definitive and reliable record of the Kennedy assassination -- and particularly, the mystery of the notorious 'grassy knoll.' Also, the possible incidence of adultery and The Girl's desperate efforts to retrieve the film suggest the scandalous fallout of the Profumo affair. Vanessa Redgrave, with her thick, dark brown hair and affected temptress-naïf manner, hinted at by a schoolgirl outfit and arms folded seductively over her breasts, seems meant to evoke, for a British audience at least, then-recent memories of Christine Keeler.

BLOW-UP is full of visual and verbal non-sequiturs and nearly all the scenes are composed of long-takes with plenty of 'longeurs' and 'temps mort.' This real-time approach -- often fragmented by abrupt and seemingly arbitrary cuts -- faithfully simulates Thomas' experience and the mechanical routine of his creative process and its fleeting moments of sudden inspiration and frenzied excitement. All throughout the film there is a recurrent pattern of relationships left unconsummated and work left undone. Just as he appears on the verge of establishing meaningful contact with someone or about to finally resolve himself to some efficacious deed or another, he is immediately distracted by something else that pops up.

Thomas resembles Odysseus in the way he is continually thwarted by chance encounters, which cause him to lose sight of his mission. Indeed, the film's meandering, episodic plot does seem to have elements of classical epic: the rock concert and the marijuana party afterward all suggest a ritual journey through a modern 'Land of the Lotus-Eaters.' Ironically, it is just when he discovers a sense of emotional commitment and social obligation in his life that his self-justifying cynicism and arrogant indifference toward others is replaced by a growing sense of impotence and defeat. In the final scene, speech is phased out of the film entirely, leaving only a silent form of physical communication unmediated by language and social pretensions.

BLOW-UP was the Antonioni's greatest commercial and critical triumph and the film's narrative -- an odyssey through a modern city, following the protagonist from feigned poverty to the false security of wealth and ending on a note of final lingering doubt about one's place and purpose in the world -- seems itself a trenchant comment on the nature of success and what it does to people. By transposing to 'Swinging London' the Marxist concerns of his Italian films, Antonioni demonstrates once again that this malaise of modern life is not caused by technology and consumer culture but rather by man's failure to adapt to the conditions of the new environment he has created for himself.

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Great movies with unlikeable protagonists tom718
Sarah Miles' character. fallingdomino
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