Festival de Cannes 70: Blow-Up, 1967

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

Based somewhat on London photographer David Bailey, Blow-Up is English language film territory for Michelangelo Antonioni, after coming oh so close with his native Italian films in Cannes. The photographer (a splendid David Hemmings) is charismatic, ambitious and haphazard. He becomes the focus of attention when he is confronted by the woman he photographed in public canoodling with a man. His photos taken there reveal much more than that. And Antonioni’s attention-grabbing film has further depth still, when the incredible sequence of revelation through photographs changes the pace and your own captivation. A crime scene emerges through the photographer’s gradual scrutiny of the shots. You are reminded of Rear Window, when James Stewart is seeing horror in real-time in front of his eyes. You think of that photo enhancing scene in Blade Runner, made fifteen years later. And why do you think psychedelic and the mod parts of Austin Powers are so familiar? Then comes the final moments of Blow-Up, which really challenge your perceptions of existence and illusion.

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