Blow-Up

To explode a myth: in 1966 Antonioni's first English film was pitched not on the Italian director's vision or its meditations on the interface between reality and fantasy, but on its 'unflinching' portrayal of Swinging London—ie, much nudity. The original trailer, included here, makes that perfectly clear: it was popular because of breasts, not because it asked what 'meaning' meant. And photographer David Hemmings' romps with models and Vanessa Redgrave remain icons of "yeeeah, baby" wish fulfilment for lensmen everywhere.

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To explode a myth: in 1966 Antonioni’s first English film was pitched not on the Italian director’s vision or its meditations on the interface between reality and fantasy, but on its ‘unflinching’ portrayal of Swinging London?ie, much nudity. The original trailer, included here, makes that perfectly clear: it was popular because of breasts, not because it asked what ‘meaning’ meant.

And photographer David Hemmings’ romps with models and Vanessa Redgrave remain icons of “yeeeah, baby” wish fulfilment for lensmen everywhere. Antonioni makes off-kilter use of London locations and The Yardbirds’ rocking, and there are many then-radical scenes and op-art colours. But as the navel-gazing story takes hold, with Hemmings trying to ascertain whether he’s unwittingly snapped a murder in a park, there’s a curious listlessness. Watching it now’s like seeing Austin Powers morph into The Scent Of Green Papaya halfway through. Under-developed, but unique.

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