Michelangelo AntonioniUK / Italy111 minutes1966ColourEnglish
An indelible portrait of "swinging" mid-'60s London, Michelangelo Antonioni's first film in English is a work of lasting importance and enduring enigma. David Hemmings, his pallid ennui masterfully deployed by Antonioni, plays a disaffected fashion photographer who stumbles upon evidence of a murder while developing his covert snaps of a couple making love in a public park. As the young woman in the pictures, who may or may not have been the lure used to draw her older suitor to his death, Vanessa Redrgave is incandescent, her erotic anxiety palpable as she tries to wrest from the cynical shutterbug the images that have both literally and metaphorically captured her. In its time, Antonioni's narrative ambiguities and irresolutions turned the question of whether the murder had really taken place into the trendiest debate since the mystery of whether A really did meet X last year at Marienbad; four decades on, Blow-up continues to elicit intense critical scrutiny, though its abiding interest now is primarily aesthetic.