At Zabriskie Point, United States' lowest point, two perfect strangers meet; an undergraduate dreamer and a young hippie student who start off an unrestrained romance, making love on the dusty terrain.
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
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
Antonioni originally wanted The Who for the club scene because he wanted Peter Townsend's famous smashing of his guitar. The Yardbird's manager, Simon Napier-Bell, very much wanted his group in the movie instead. In the documentary "Blow up of 'Blow Up'", Napier-Bell tells how he advised the Who's manager, Kit Lambert, "Don't be a pushover." He advised Lambert to ask for £5,000 and approval of the final edit of the scene, knowing that Antonioni would throw him out. Afterwards, Napier-Bell called Antonioni and said that he'd heard things didn't go well with Lambert. He then said that Jeff Beck had been the first to start smashing his guitar, and that Townsend had copied Beck. He says in the documentary that he could tell Antonioni knew he was lying, but rather liked that he was. See more »
When Jane and Thomas are discussing the photographic film in Thomas's house, there is a pillow with the number three on it propped up vertically against the back of a couch. A little later, this pillow has moved to the top of the back of the couch at the point where the arm meets it and no one has touched it. See more »
Give me your money. Do it.
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This new version of the opening title music is played on the English language track of the DVD. All other tracks on the DVD including the English one with the audio commentary keep the original music. See more »
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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