Blow Up

Blow Up is an English film that was released in the year 1966. This thriller focuses on a young photographer in swinging London. At first the movie is lighthearted. However it soon takes a dark

turn when the man checks his photographs and believes he may have stumbled upon a murder.

The film is directed by Italian film making legend Michelangelo Antonioni. It is the first of his feature films to be shot in the English language and some have even called it his very best. David Hemmings played the lead character, the photographer Thomas. This character was directly influenced by the real life photographic artist David Bailey.

The film is taught in classes as a prime example how to use the theme of photography perfectly in movies. The still image is a motif that continues throughout the running time. The main character is constantly “blowing up” his photographic images in order to reveal further detail on a murder mystery. However, the more he zooms in on the details the more blurred and fuzzy the image becomes. This is great metaphor for the plot of the film itself.

At the time of its release the movie industry had to adhere to a strict production code. Blow Up broke the established rules with it’s flagrant and graphic sexual scenes. One need only look at the official poster to see how sexual the movie’s content is. The poster depicts a photographer straddling a model as he shoots his camera at her. The camera is used in the film as phallic image.

Because the movie going world embraced the film so much it lessened the stringent rules imposed by the Production Code. This paved the way for more artistic freedom within the industry. Without this film there would be must more restrictive censorship for artists.