Blow-Up

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Nothing like a little disaster for sorting things out.

Blow-Up (or Blowup) is a 1966 film about a British photographer's accidental involvement with a mysterious death. It was inspired by the short story, "Las babas del diablo" ["The Devil's Drool"] (1959) by Julio Cortázar, translated also as "Blow-Up", and by the life of photographer David Bailey.

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, his first English-language film. Written by Michelangelo Antonioni and Tonino Guerra.
Sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all. taglines

Thomas[edit]

What's so important about my bloody pictures?
What did you see in that park?
  • What's so important about my bloody pictures?
  • You ever do any modeling? Fashion stuff, I mean. You've got it.
  • You'll get your pictures. I promise. I always keep my word.

Clown[edit]

  • Give me your money. Do it.

Dialogue[edit]

Blonde woman: Couldn't you give us just a couple of minutes?
Thomas: Couple of minutes? I haven't even got a couple of minutes to have my appendix out.

Jane: What are you doing? Stop it! Stop it! Give me those pictures. You can't photograph people like that.
Thomas: Who says I can't? I'm only doing my job. Some people are bullfighters, some people are politicians. I'm a photographer.
Jane: This is a public place — everyone has the right to be left in peace.
Thomas: It's not my fault if there's no peace. You know, most girls would pay me to photograph them.
Jane: I'll pay you.
Thomas: I overcharge. There are other things I want on the reel.

Thomas: Don't let's spoil everything, we've only just met.
Jane: No, we haven't met — you've never seen me.

Thomas: Why are you selling?
Shop-owner: I'd like to try something different — get off some somewhere. I'm fed up with antiques.
Thomas: Get off where?
Shop-owner: To Nepal.
Thomas: Nepal is all antiques.
Shop-owner: Is it? Perhaps I better try … Morocco.

Thomas: I'm fed up with those bloody bitches. I wish I had tons of money. Then I'd be free.
Ron: Free to do what?

Jane: My private life's already a mess. It would be a disaster if…
Thomas: So what? Nothing like a little disaster for sorting things out.

Thomas [after handing Jane the phone]: It's my wife.
Jane: [handing him back the phone] Why should I speak to her?
Thomas: Sorry love, the bird I'm with won't talk to you. [hangs up the phone, and walks around the room] … She isn't my wife, really. We just have some kids. … No, no kids, not even kids. Sometimes, though, it feels as if we had kids. … She isn't beautiful, she's... easy to live with. … No, she isn't. … That's why I don't live with her. … But even with beautiful girls, you look at them and that's that.

Thomas: What's your name? Oh, forget it — what's the use of a name? What do you they call you in bed?
Brunette woman: I only go to bed to sleep.

Thomas [seeing Verushka at a London party]: I thought you were supposed to be in Paris.
Verushka: I am in Paris.

Ron: What did you see in that park?
Thomas: Nothing.

Quotes about Blowup[edit]

  • The photographer in Blow-Up, who is not a philosopher, wants to see things closer up. But it so happens that, by enlarging too far, the object itself decomposes and disappears. Hence there's a moment in which we grasp reality, but then the moment passes. This was in part the meaning of Blow-Up.
    • Michelangelo Antonioni, as quoted in Michelangelo Antonioni : The Complete Films (2004) edited by Seymour Chatman and Paul Duncan, p. 113
  • This is a fascinating picture, which has something real to say about the matter of personal involvement and emotional commitment in a jazzed-up, media-hooked-in world so cluttered with synthetic stimulations that natural feelings are overwhelmed.
  • Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up opened in America two months before I became a film critic, and colored my first years on the job with its lingering influence. It was the opening salvo of the emerging "film generation," … the highest-grossing art film to date, was picked as the best film of 1967 by the National Society of Film Critics, and got Oscar nominations for screenplay and direction. Today, you rarely hear it mentioned.
    Young audiences aren't interested any more in a movie about a "trendy" London photographer who may or may not have witnessed a murder, who lives a life of cynicism and ennui, and who ends up in a park at dawn, watching college kids play tennis with an imaginary ball. The twentysomethings who bought tickets for Blow-Up are now focused on ironic, self-referential slasher movies.
  • I revisited Blow-Up in a shot-by-shot analysis. Freed from the hype and fashion, it emerges as a great film, if not the one we thought we were seeing at the time. This was at the 1998 Virginia Festival of American Film in Charlottesville, which had "Cool" as its theme. The festival began with the emergence of the Beat Generation and advanced through Cassavetes to Blow-Up — after which the virus of Cool leaped from its nurturing subculture into millions of willing new hosts, and has colored our society ever since, right down to and manifestly including South Park.
  • The natural world is arrayed against the artificial scene; conscience is deployed against convention. If you've never seen Blow-Up, see it now, if only to see what part of the world was like 40 years ago.

Cast[edit]

Taglines[edit]

  • Sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all.
  • Antonioni's camera never flinches. At love without meaning. At murder without guilt. At the dazzle and madness of youth today.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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