Review: Antonioni's "Blowup" (1966) Starring Vanessa Redgrave And David Hemmings; Criterion Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
“A Mod Murder Mystery”

By Raymond Benson

Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup (it’s spelled this way in the film credits, but on theatrical posters and advertising it was called Blow-Up) was a landmark, envelope-pushing film that caused quite a stir. For one thing, it was one of the nails in the coffin of the U.S. Production Code, paving the way for the elimination of cinematic censorship and the eventual creation of the movie ratings. Its depiction of nudity, sexual attitudes, and recreational drugs crossed the line for late 1966. Nevertheless, newspaper ads got away with simply proclaiming that the picture was “Recommended for Mature Audiences,” since this was prior to the ratings themselves.

Blowup also stands as a cultural landmark in that it captures that moment of time called “Swinging London.” Everything was “mod”—music, fashion, art... even groups of youths were called “mods.” Antonioni’s film could serve as
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