Blow-Up

designed by Georges Kerfyser, 1967
linen backed lithograph, 140 x 100 cm (unframed)

$2200


Blow-Up, a mystery drama thriller film, was director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first entirely English-language film. It stars David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles. Also featured is 1960s model Veruschka. The film’s plot was inspired by Julio Cort├ízar’s short story “Las babas del diablo” (1959).

The story is set within the mod subculture of 1960s Swinging London, and follows a fashion photographer (Hemmings) who believes he has unwittingly captured a murder on film. The screenplay was by Antonioni and Tonino Guerra, with English dialogue by British playwright Edward Bond. The cinematographer was Carlo di Palma. The film’s non-diegetic music was scored by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, while rock group the Yardbirds also feature.

In the main competition section of the Cannes Film Festival, Blow-Up won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest honour. The American release of the counterculture-era film with its explicit sexual content was in direct defiance of Hollywood’s Production Code. Its subsequent critical and box-office success influenced the abandonment of the code in 1968. However, though much was made of the nudity in 1967, but the photographer’s cruelty toward his models was not commented on; today, the sex seems tame, and what makes the audience gasp today is the hero’s contempt for women.

This poster, designed by Georges Kerfyser, was for the Italian release of the film.