December 27, 2016


New release: The Criterion Collection has announced they will add Antonioni's 1966 classic, Blow-Up, to their Blu-ray catalog in March. With its featured story about a 1960s fashion photographer in London, a cool Jazz soundtrack, and a rare appearance of The Yardbirds on stage with Beck and Clapton, it's no surprise this movie is a Spy Vibe fave. From the press release: "In 1966, Michelangelo Antonioni transplanted his existentialist ennui to the streets of swinging London for this international sensation, the Italian filmmaker’s English-language debut. 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." This edition features a new 4K restoration, uncompressed mono, a 52-min doc, interviews, and more! More info at Criterion. I posted some set photographs a while back, let's take a new look below. Enjoy! 

The iconic fashion and photography of Antonionni's 1966 Blow Up was featured in an exhibit at the Albertina in Vienna a couple of years ago. Looking again at images from the film, and by photographer David Bailey- an inspiration for David Hemmings' character, I'm struck by the film's interesting cocktail of alienation, ambivalent sexuality, and mystery. The film is often celebrated for its depiction of a mid-1960s London studio, fashion, and for its brief coverage of a Page-Beck era Yardbirds. But it also remains an intriguing who-done-it, if you will, as Hemmings obsessively examines his snaps from an afternoon stroll and discovers it was no walk in the park! The movie also starred Vanessa Redgrave  Sarah Miles, jane Birkin, Veruschka von Lehndorff (Casino Royale), John Castle (The Prisoner, The New Avengers), Julian Chagrin (The Avengers), and TV spy regular Peter Bowles (The Avengers, The Prisoner, The Saint, The Baron, Danger Man, Adam Adamant Lives!, Department S). More exhibit info and commentary here. Below: images associated with the film and production. Note: Tazio Secchiaroli's famous still used for the movie's promotional materials and David Bailey's rare portrait of Beatles manager Brian Epstein (included in the exhibit). Enjoy!

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