Film-Forward Review: [BLOW-UP]

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Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni.
Produced by: Carlo Ponti.
Written by: Michelangelo Antonioni & Tonino Guerra, based on a short story by Julio Cortazar.
Director of Photography: Carlo di Palma.
Music by: Herbie Hancock.
Released by: Warner Brothers DVD/Video.
Country of Origin: UK/Italy. 111 min. Rated: R.
With: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, Verushka & Jane Birkin.
DVD Features: Commentary by: The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni author Peter Brunette. Music-only audio track. Trailers. English/French audio. English/French/Spanish subtitles.

Capturing London in full swing, director Antonioni focuses on an emotionally detached photographer (Hemmings) who may or may not have witnessed a murder. (The man’s abusive interactions with his female models is still disturbing nearly 40 years later.) Peter Brunette’s detailed and entertaining commentary refreshingly acknowledges that, at many points, “Things don’t add up in this movie,” such as the meaning of the merrymakers who open and close the film or why the photographer buys an airplane propeller. However, regarding the closing tennis match scene and much of the movie, Burnette does offer possible interpretations. His thesis that much of the film is Antonioni’s critique of male behavior is convincing. And by making the film less abstract, the commentary will appeal to both repeat or first-time viewers of this seminal film. Without the commentary, Blow-Up may come across as too much an exercise in style. Kent Turner
April 22, 2004



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