Today i want to talk about an art house classic a film so influential it not only defined a generation. It helped to change an industry. Michelangelo antonionis iconic masterpiece blow up blow up is first and foremost an important film. It captured an era. It shocked audiences with its groundbreaking form and content. The box office success it enjoyed at a time before art house cinema was widely recognized. Baffled. The old guard of hollywood: this helped pave the way for the younger directors of the new hollywood. Only a few years later, many of them were directly inspired by the unconventional european sensibilities exemplified by this film and its creator. Michelangelo antonioni set in the contemporary swinging. London of the 1960s blow up story, centers on a successful fashion, photographer played by david hemings, who, over the course of a fairly aimless day, accidentally photographs. What may be a murder. In summary, this sounds like an intriguing setup for a thriller. One later films would borrow for such purposes in execution its a bewildering challenging meditation on perception, offering no resolution or conclusive answers requiring the audience to decide for themselves whether or not there is even a story to be pieced together. This is endemic of antonionis method. One of italys greatest most innovative filmmakers antonionis is a modernist existential style, deconstructing human behavior and relationships to examine the difficulty of meaningful connection. He was largely unconcerned with plot choosing, instead to focus on wandering, ambiguous, narratives, full of cryptic meaning and haunting visual beauty, as he achieved prominence across the world.

Films like laventura, became fiercely debated events propelling him to the forefront of international cinema blow up filmed in english. Shot in london, distributed by a major american studio, marked a significant turning point in his already illustrious career, his radical approach, rewriting all the basic rules of movie making was introduced for the first time to a wide popular audience. The film seems to have connected initially as an exciting cultural snapshot, the attitudes, the fashion the music it was all so hip, so new, not to mention daringly sexy. The film may have been elliptical and difficult to understand, but modern london was represented in such indelible detail that subsequent films need only quote the films key images to conjure its milieu whats funny, especially viewing the film today is how much more complicated and interesting that portrayal Becomes when you start looking under its surface, antonionis portrait is by no means positive, hemmings, protagonist thomas is seen as arrogant and aloof. He experiences the world through his camera lens emotionally distanced personally detached antonionis, careful and very deliberate strategy in constructing his seemingly arbitrary story is to show us someone isolated behind his camera, observing without really engaging thomas over the course of the film is slowly shaken out of His detachment made vulnerable and present by experiencing something unexpected and disturbing beyond his ability to safely control, the ending is ambiguous and the film is very much open to interpretation, but i read it as an argument against our desire to filter reality through technology.

Like thomas, we all feel a false sense of truth in our comfortable gaze through the viewfinder, its only by lowering those filters engaging directly embracing uncertainty and vulnerability that we begin to truly experience reality in all its messy complexity. To me, this is what makes the film still so powerful and relevant. To this day there seemed to be more thomases in the world than ever all convincing themselves. That truth is their own personal currency, convenient and self evident. Antonioni seeks to remind us that truth is elusive if we have any hope of finding it, it is only by working outside our insulated bubbles. We search for truth by taking part in reality, blow up is available on blu ray courtesy of the criterion collection, its an essential disc for any film buff, beautifully packaged loaded with interviews, production info documentaries and essays, including even the original short story by julio cortazar. That inspired the screenplay. All of this helps provide viewers with a very thorough appreciation of the films, historical and cultural context, its artistic importance and its inexhaustible thematic density.