Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Blowup, or Blow-Up, is a 1966 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he may have witnessed a murder and unwittingly taken photographs of the killing. It was Antonioni's first English-language film.

The film also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin, Tsai Chin and Gillian Hills as well as sixties model Veruschka. The screenplay was written by Antonioni and Tonino Guerra, with English dialogue by British playwright Edward Bond. The film was produced by Carlo Ponti, who had contracted Antonioni to make three English-language films for MGM (the others were Zabriskie Point and The Passenger).

The plot was inspired by Julio Cortázar's short story, "Las babas del diablo" or "The Devil's Drool" (1959), translated also as Blow-Up, and by the life of Swinging London photographer David Bailey. The film was scored by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, although the music is diegetic, as Hancock noted: "It's only there when someone turns on the radio or puts on a record." Nominated for several awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Blowup won the Grand Prix.

The American release of the film with its explicit content (by contemporary standards) by a major Hollywood studio was in direct defiance of the Production Code. Its subsequent outstanding critical and box office success proved to be one of the final events that led the code to be finally abandoned in 1968 in favor of the MPAA film rating system.

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