Thursday March 22 at 8PM: Blow-Up Great Britain/Italy 1966 d. Michelangelo Antonioni with David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles and Jane Birkin. Colour. 115m [Series: Swinging London 1965-66]
“Blow-Up was the first of three films Michelangelo Antonioni made outside Italy under a contract with producer Carlo Ponti at MGM, and it was the most successful of his career, both commercially and critically. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1967, and many critics saw it as a refreshing change in pace and style for a director whose preceding work they had considered artistically important but ‘difficult’. Robin Wood wrote in 1968 that its freshness and vivacity make one look forward to his future work with an eagerness one would scarcely have anticipated in the days of La notte and L’eclisse.
Wood’s eagerness was not to be sustained. Antonioni’s next film, Zabriskie Point (1970), disappointed him as well as most other critics. The Passenger (1975), the last film in Antonioni’s MGM contract, starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider, partly redeemed his reputation, but neither it nor any of his other films would have the impact or popular appeal of Blow-Up.” [David Forgacs]