Split Screen Blow-up

A YouTube video shows scenes from Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Blow-up (1966) alongside the London locations thirty years later.

Still one of the best ever depictions of England’s capital city, the film is about a photographer (David Hemmings) who takes a shot of two lovers in a park and soon finds out there’s more to the image than he first realised.

One of the key films of the 1960s, its critical and financial success played a key role in the demise of the US Production Code and it features a memorable score by Herbie Hancock as well as cameos from the likes of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

It also influenced films such as The Conversation (1974) and Blow Out (1981), which played around with similar themes but replaced the central plot device of photography with audio instead.

The actual park used for filming was Maryon Park in Charlton and a few years ago (1999?) someone shot this video of the locations and then posted them in a split-screen video online.

What’s fascinating is that many of the themes of the film hold up today, especially the line where Vanessa Redgrave admonishes Hemmings for taking a photo in a public place (some issues of technology and privacy are still with us).

Also, the observational style of the camera work reveals plenty of interesting things in the modern day video – such as the man not wearing a shirt walking towards the camera – which perhaps highlight the central theme of the elusiveness of what we see.

[Original video was by YouTube user dorlec01]

> Buy Blowup on DVD at Amazon UK
> More on Michelangelo Antonioni at Wikipedia
> 2005 Guardian interview with actor Peter Bowles about the film