Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni
March 1, 2009; Netflix Wakefield MA
Antonioni continues here with his experimentation with story structure and the way we watch movies. Again, a major plot point, which "blows-up" in the middle of the film, is seemingly let to drift away as the main character is left to contemplate greater forces in life, some of which got him into the predicament that he found himself in.
Blowup, like L'avventura (1960), is about self-absorbed people who seem not to be aware of the people around them, hence the reoccurring characters of the mimes, who are only playing at real life. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a well known photographer in London, who after a string of pompous, not to mention hilarious, photo shoots, gets bored and starts to take pictures in a park. He notices a couple walking around and kissing and follows them while photographing. Of course, he is finally spotted and the woman (Venessa Redgrave) runs over to demand the film. He refuses, saying he has every right to film them and they argue over this point. He eventually gets back to the studio only to be startled by the fact that the woman has stalked him there. Again she demands the film, but of course this only makes him more curious about is. He gets her to take another roll of film, and proceeds to blow up the film. After doing this many times, he is able to spot a body on the ground and a killer in the trees with a gun. From there, the film completely changes.
My jaw definitely dropped during this scene and it is really well done. When you understand that Tommy boy has uncovered something sinister, you wonder if it will change him; I think it does. More heady subjects about life end up heavily affecting Tom, especially at the end, where a "Does it all really matter anyway?" vibe is heavily felt. Some of the things, like the mimes playing "tennis" are heavy-handed (yeah yeah I get dude; "was is all real or was it an illusion?!?"), but overall the film is good. I like the deep focus b/w camera and the angles and movement (or lack there of). I can understand why someone wouldn't like it but it was strange and interesting enough.