A very provocative film which makes me think about limitations…
Maybe the best film by Michelangelo Antonioni. Perhaps one of the boldest movies I’ve ever watched. And I enjoyed it.
The movie depicts one chaotic day of Hemmings, a bored glamorous fashion photographer. He thinks that he has photographed a murder in a park and this incident awakens him for a moment from his chaotic and bored every day life.
David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave play outstandingly in this bold artwork. You have to take into an account that this movie helped bringing down the so called “Motion Picture Production Code” of Hollywood in 1968. So for a ’66 film this masterpiece is an example of adventurous film making. I can’t really imagine how I would have accepted this film if it was made in 2013 for example, but I’m pretty sure that it still would have been a sensation. Why? Well, because it is open-minded, symbolic and we, as society, still have almost all the same prejudices. It’s not really about breaking through them, it is more about expressing what we feel and stressing out that there aren’t so many values left in this chaotic egocentric modern society.
The fashion photographer is a symbol of glamor, style and fulfillment. But when we look at this “blowup”, we see nothing more than chaotic actions leading to dissatisfaction and alienation. The truth is that the main character is lost in his art and his job and feels frustrated that he cannot express himself the right way. And when he confronts the murder of a stranger (and the woman who is involved in the murder) he is perplexed and attracted at the same time.
Hemmings is intrigued by the unknown woman who chases him to get the photos he took of her. Not knowing about what he shot he plays with her, taking advantage of the situation. But when he finds out that all the fuss was about a real murder, and especially when he confronts the corpse, he is awaken from his usual chaotic and daze personality and tries to discover the parts of the puzzle. At the end of his journey he goes through a London club where he fights for a piece of a broken guitar and runs into a drug-drenched party, trying to find a way out of this situation. The photos stolen and the corpse gone he cannot put across what he had photographed anymore.
The film ends with a tennis match between mimes and Hemmings watching it ALONE on a lawn. The fading of the main character’s image is a metaphor for the dissolubility of people in a jazzed-up society. And we must admit it – our natural feelings are very much overwhelmed by the synthetic stimulations we create, as the critic Bosley Crowther said in a review about the movie.
We try to recreate what is already present. Artistry is a tricky thing – we can’t really find the limits of creativity and where exactly reality begins. And in this vortex of sensations called life we can only find a few moments of clarity when peacefulness is present. That’s why we must value them. That’s why we must value movies like “Blowup”…