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Blow-Up (free, also June 15 at 2 p.m.)


  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Michelangelo Antonioni's deeply unconventional thriller follows a photographer through Swinging London. Info

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Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blow-Up was a massive counter-cultural hit when it was released, and today it holds up for its avant-garde approach. The film follows David Hemmings as a cocky, jaded photographer as he works and wanders through Swinging London. After surreptitiously filming lovers in a park, he begins to suspect that he's accidentally photographed a murder and his life begins to slowly unravel. Antonioni avoids a straight-ahead thriller narrative in favor of a slow, elliptical structure; he fills Blow-Up with illusion and obfuscation until the viewer is as paranoid and confused as Hemmings' photographer. Beneath the sights and sounds of 1960s London that made the film iconic, the film's true focus is on the typically Antonioni themes of alienation, ennui and incommunicability. Lacking closure and certainty, Blow-Up is a challenging film for modern audiences expecting a standard narrative, but it's a massively influential pop-art film that still has the power to shock and surprise. —Ian Adcock