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Blow-Up (1966)

Blowup (original title)
A mod London photographer finds something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park.

Writers:

Michelangelo Antonioni (story), Julio Cortázar (short story "Las babas del diablo") (as Julio Cortazar) | 3 more credits »
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3,408 ( 88)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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The movie director Niccolo has just been left by his wife. This gives him the idea of making a movie about women's relationships. He starts to search for a woman who can play the leading ... See full summary »

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Stars: Tomas Milian, Daniela Silverio, Christine Boisson
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 ... Verushka (as Verushka)
Julian Chagrin ... Mime
Claude Chagrin Claude Chagrin ... Mime
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Michelangelo Antonioni's first British film See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Italy | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1967 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Blow-Up See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,000,000, 31 January 1970
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film contains a rare performance of The Yardbirds during the period when Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck were both in the band. Jeff Beck would leave a few months later. See more »

Goofs

The photographer's haircut is different at the Yardbirds concert. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mime: Give me your money. Do it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Prime (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thief
Written and Performed by Herbie Hancock
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Success and image; fantasy and reality (SPOILERS)
10 December 2003 | by DC1977See all my reviews

Antonioni's Blow-Up was the biggest hit of the Italian director's career, the superficial elements of the fashion world, Swinging London and orgies on purple paper ensuring its commercial success.

Models such as Veruschka (who appears in the film), Twiggy and fashion photographers at the time have complained about its unrealistic depiction of the industry and claimed that its central character, Thomas (played by the late David Hemmings) was clearly based on David Bailey.

To look at Blow-Up as an analysis of the fashion business in the Sixties is to misunderstand the film's intentions. In any case, when watching this film it may be difficult to tell what its all about if you're unfamiliar with Antonioni's films but it obviously has little to do with the fashion world which is merely the setting for the story and nothing more.

Antonioni made the clearest statement of his motivation as a filmmaker at the end of Beyond the Clouds when he talked about his belief that reality is unattainable as it is submerged by layers of images which are only versions of reality.

This is a rather pretentious way of saying that everyone perceives reality in their own way and ultimately see only what they want to see.

With this philosophy in mind, Blow-Up is probably Antonioni's most personal film.

Thomas' hollow, self-obsessed world is shattered when he discovers that he may have photographed a murder when casually taking pictures in a park. He encounters a mysterious woman, Jane (Vanessa Redgrave) who demands he hand over the film and when he refuses she appears at his studio, although Thomas never told her his address.

When the evidence disappears shortly afterwards, Blow-Up seems to deal in riddles that have no solution. Redgrave re-appears and then vanishes before the photographer's eyes, Thomas returns to the park without his camera and sees the body. The film concludes with Thomas, having discovered the body has disappeared, watching a group of mimes playing tennis without a ball or rackets in the park where the murder may have taken place.

It is only in the final scene of the film where the riddle is solved. Thomas throws the imaginary ball back into the court and watches the game resume. The look of realisation on his face is all too apparent as the game CAN BE HEARD taking place out of shot.

There is a ball, there are rackets and this is a real game of tennis. What we have seen up until this point is the photographer's perception of reality: the murder, the mysterious woman in the park, the photographic evidence and the body.

The following exchange between Hemmings and Redgrave is the key to the film:

Thomas: Don't let's spoil everything, we've only just met.

Jane: No, we haven't met. You've never seen me.


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