"My God! Iíve just seen Michelangelo Antonioniís Blowup. These Italian directors are a century ahead of me in terms of technique. What have I been doing all this time?"Blowup is a 1966 British-Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, his first English-language film. Inspired by the 1959 short story, Las babas del diablo, ("The devil's drool/drivel") by Julio Cortázar, and by Swinging London photographer David Bailey.The plot follows Thomas (David Hemmings), a fashion photographer. One day following a shot he walks through a park taking pictures of people; one person tracks him back to his studio demanding the film which he gives them. He later discovers what seems to be mysterious figure in a negative and the film follows his experiences in searching for answers to these mysteries.A box office and critical smash hit with really explicit sexual content for its time, this film was released in direct defiance to The Hays Code by MGM creating a subsidiary label to do it. As a result, the Code was all but done for after that and soon replaced by the present rating system. In short, this film did for its time for cinematic artistic freedom in the 1960s what Showgirls utterly failed to do in the 1990s.
Tropes associated with this work:
- Bookends: The movie starts and ends with mimes.
- The Cameo: The most obvious are The Yardbirds (with both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck), who play at a local club. In the same scene you can also spot Michael Palin between the crowd.
- Camera Fiend: Thomas.
- Cool Car
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Thomas' shooting session with Veruschka (pictured above) is highly reminiscent of sexual intercourse.
- Enhance Button: Averted. He tries to enlarge (blowup) the picture, but it loses resolution with each try. The fact is lampshaded by Bill's girlfriend.
- Foreshadowing: When discussing a book he is making with his photographs, Thomas says something along the lines of "It's violent, I want to end it with something peaceful". The last scenes of the movie are as peaceful as you can get.
- Jerkass: Thomas.
- Mockstery Tale: Thomas accidentally uncovers a murder. He attempts to investigate it, but he doesn't seem very enthusiastic in spite of actually finding the victim's body, and his investigation ends in vain.
- Rockers Smash Guitars: After using it to perform Percussive Maintenance on a misbehaving amp.
- She's Got Legs: Jane, as played by a 29-year-old Vanessa Redgrave, certainly has them.
- Sideboob: Veruschka in the early photography session has a dress that features this.
- The '60s: Specifically, the mid-decade Swinging London/Mod scene. The music, the clothes, the dancing, the apartment, everything.
- Spooky Photographs: The Blow-Ups of the photograph keep making the original look blurrier and scarier and harder to understand.
- Spiritual Successor: Antonioni's next film Zabriskie Point dealt with America's counter-culture, featuring Pop-Star Composer Pink Floyd, ambiguous Gainax Ending, and a much darker tone.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe, Bill's paintings.Bill: They don't mean anything when I do them - just a mess. Afterwards I find something to hang onto -like that- like- like... that leg. (points at a random line) And then it sorts itself out. It adds up. It's like finding a clue in a detective story.
- Unbuilt Trope: The Enhance Button (or at least an analog version of it).