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After following two lovers in a park, a fashion photographer unintentionally records a death on video.

Blowup (sometimes spelled Blow-up or Blow Up) is a 1966 mystery thriller film directed and produced by Michelangelo Antonioni. It was Antonioni’s first wholly English-language picture, starring David Hemmings as a London fashion photographer who believes he has accidentally recorded murder on film. Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin, Tsai Chin, Peter Bowles, and Gillian Hills all appear in the film, as does 1960s model Veruschka.

The premise of the film was influenced by Julio Cortázar’s short tale “Las babas del diablo” (1959). Antonioni and Tonino Guerra wrote the script, and British dramatist Edward Bond provided the English language. Carlo di Palma directed the film. Herbie Hancock, a jazz pianist, composed the film’s non-diegetic soundtrack, and the Yardbirds also appear. The film is set in 1960s Swinging London’s mod subculture.

Blowup received the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top accolade, in the main competition section of the Cannes Film Festival. The film’s American release, with its graphic sexual material, was a flagrant violation of Hollywood’s Production Code. Its ensuing critical and commercial success drove the code’s removal in 1968 in favor of the MPAA film rating system.

Following films inspired by Blowup included Dario Argento‘s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974), and Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1980). (1981). Blowup was voted No. 144 in the Sight & Sound critics’ selection of the world’s best films in 2012.


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