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Classic Clues

Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or in 1967, this London-set mystery and counter-cultural masterpiece is newly restored for its 50th anniversary.

Blow-up takes place over 24 hours in the life of Thomas (David Hemmings, Gladiator), a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in swinging London. On the day in question, Thomas wanders into a park and sees, at a distance, a man and a woman. Are they struggling? Playing? Flirting? He snaps a lot of photos. The woman (Vanessa Redgrave, Julia) runs after him. She desperately wants the film back. He refuses her. Then, in the film’s brilliant centrepiece, we observe as he blows up his photos and discovers that he may have photographed a murder.

Whether there is or isn’t a murder, the mystery at the heart of the film underpins the most sordid of desires – our need to spy – and how our obsession with new technology can shape and warp reality. It was Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language production and is widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s.

Michelangelo Antonioni
Vanessa Redgrave, David Hemmings, Jane Birkin, Peter Bowles, Sarah Miles, John Castle
1966 | 111 min | DRAMA / MYSTERY
It is vintage Antonioni fortified with a Hitchcock twist.
Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival 1967
Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Academy Awards 1967

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