Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni - Blowup

I know I'd promised the next movie I'd go see would be Transformers, but I was overcome with a sudden craving for something serious and went off to Flagey, which will be showing a few Antonioni films this summer. It didn't help that I dozed off a couple of times (likely at crucial moments, although I'm not sure there are any, in this movie), but I probably bit off more than I could chew (comfortably recognisable Herbie Hancock soundtrack aside).

So, what is Blowup about? A photographer, Swinging London, models, a woman, a murder, beautiful shot composition, mimes? I was mostly left baffled by the meaning of what was going on: the concert (loved the clothes and stock-stillness of the crowd)? the propeller? the groupies that come to the studio? How do these elements fit in? Even the things that might have been centrepieces (the murder, Vanessa Redgrave's character) are regularly left aside. Everything remained mysterious, cognitive dissonance abounded (an early example is the scruffy guy in tattered clothes getting into the posh car; the guy turns out to be the fairly well off main character). The photographer's photos were all undeniably amazing, though. Perhaps they hint at the longing to be compassionate/meaningful that pushes him to investigate the mystery?

Bill, the painter, says early on of one of his own pieces that they look like a mess at first, until you find something to hang on to and it all makes sense. He could have been describing the film (an exquisitely rarified kind of mess, of course), except that I haven't yet really found anything to hang on to. They're showing other Antonionis, such as The Passenger (with a young Jack Nicholson, who would have made such a great Wolverine in X-Men) soon, so maybe seeing a couple more will help me understand the director's work.