Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 6 February 2017


Finally, its on Blu-ray and dvd in a new Criterion edition released on 28 March. For far too long there has only been a standard dvd, with a terrible commentary track by a professor presumably discussing the film with a class of American teenagers who knew nothing about the Swinging Sixties or cast members like Vanessa Redgrave .... it is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.
I have written about Antonioni's BLOW-UP so many times already, so this is just a summary of the new edition. I was going to watch the dvd as part of my new year re-views, but we will be waiting till March now. Here is the Criterion blurb and contents:

In 1966, Michelangelo Antonioni transplanted his existentialist ennui to the streets of swinging London for this international sensation, the Italian filmmaker’s first English-language feature. A countercultural masterpiece about the act of seeing and the art of image making, Blow-Up takes the form of a psychological mystery, starring David Hemmings as a fashion photographer who unknowingly captures a death on film after following two lovers in a park. Antonioni’s meticulous aesthetic control and intoxicating color palette breathe life into every frame, and the jazzy sounds of Herbie Hancock, a beautifully evasive performance by Vanessa Redgrave, and a cameo by the Yardbirds make the film a transporting time capsule from a bygone era. Blow-Up is a seductive immersion into creative passion, and a brilliant film by one of cinema’s greatest artists.
New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New pieces about director Michelangelo Antonioni’s artistic approach, featuring photography curators Walter Moser and Philippe Garner and art historian David Alan Mellor
Blow Up of “Blow Up,” a 2016 documentary on the making of the film
Conversation from 2016 between Garner and actor Vanessa Redgrave
Archival interviews with Antonioni and actors David Hemmings and Jane Birkin
PLUS: A book featuring an essay by film scholar David Forgacs, an updated 1966 account of the film’s shooting by Stig Björkman, the questionnaires the director distributed to photographers and painters while developing the film, and the 1959 Julio Cortázar short story on which the film is loosely based.
Of course the plot does not bear too much examining. How for instance, in that pre-internet world,  does the mystery woman Vanessa Redgrave turn up at the photographer's studio just as he arrives back, when she does not seem to know who he is in the park, let alone where he lives or works. They must have followed him from the park, via that detour to the Chelsea restaurant (which I used to know, as I lived near it in '72/'73). 
There was supposed to be more about someone rifling through his car there, but producer Ponti nixed the rest of that sequence. The whole murder in the park and leaving the body undiscovered there seems all a bit far-fetched, but one is swept up in the mystery of it all, and that perfect London 1966 ambience. 
I was 20 and part of it all then. It was of course the film to see and have an opinion on when it opened in London early in 1967 before going to the Cannes Festival. Terence Stamp too is on record about it, as he had been promised the part, and is still annoyed about it .... David Hemmings though delivers a major performance as the typical disillusioned Antonioni male - he had been fairly nondescript up till then,  but was soon the icon of the era. 
We just love the images and the spaces - that park, that studio, London changing as it was then, and that perfect Herbie Hancock soundtrack, which has stayed with me, on vinyl, CD, and ipod. Now for the Blu-ray ...
If you’ve never seen Blowup before, prepare yourself for one of the cinema’s most unique experiences. If you have seen it before, prepare as well for rediscovering—much like the film’s hero—something you only thought you knew.


  1. You don't say if this is the region 1 or 2 bluray edition? I checked out amazon and no mention of it there. Essential of course.

  2. It seems to be region 1 - but I am multiregion bluray. A region 2 edition should follow.