Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni
Starring: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin
The most accessible and popular of Michelangelo Antonioni’s films, Blow-Up (1966) remains a touchstone of 1960s film. When the film last ran here, I wrote, “It may be hard to understand now, but in 1966 Blow-Up caused no little stir, not in the least because of its “infamous” sex scene—the “roll in the purple”—where David Hemmings, Jane Birkin and Gillian Hills cavort in various stages of undress on a crumpled lavender photographic backdrop. This was 1966, mind you, two years before the ratings system, and here was this film daring to show that which was not allowed. It might have passed unnoticed had the film not been a huge international success—garnering the Palme d’Or at Cannes and a couple of Oscar nominations—bringing it out of the art-house realm and into mainstream cinema. As Antonioni films go, it’s a remarkably accessible—if not particularly pleasant—work.” (Full review is here: www.mountainx.com/movies/review/blowup) I largely hold to that assessment, though I’m troubled by the apparent current mood of dismissing the film as “incomprehensible art-house rubbish” (as it has been called). It’s also worth noting that this screening also includes the premiere showings of two very fine short documentaries on art and artists in Asheville’s River Arts District, both made by local filmmaker Chris Gallaway, so you can go and support both art film and local filmmaking at one time.
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Blow-Up at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com