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1. How would you describe the color palette of the film? What are the dominant colors?
Michelangelo Antonioni always pays great attention to the aesthetic content of the frame while creating his films. For some pictures, he hired painters to achieve the desired colors. In Blow-Up, the brightness of green color amazes in the most effective way. In fact, the majority of crucial scenes occur among green decorations. The viewer can remember the scenes where Thomas and Jane first meet each other, the discovery of the dead body, or final tennis match between the mimes. In contrast to green color, the director uses all shades of gray. Antonioni has a clear vision of a city that should serve as the primary decoration and understands how to achieve the desired aesthetic content. He films gray facades of houses and some other facilities to show the atmosphere of post-war London with all industrial development, thereby reaching a complete perception of every frame. At the same time, Antonioni uses color to outline the character of the protagonist. Thomas’ studio is painted in bright tones, and numerous dresses contain all colors of the rainbow. In such a way, the director outlines carelessness and creative nature of the main character. Therefore, the director uses the technique of contrast while choosing the color palette of the movie to attract the viewer’s attention. Hereby, such understanding of colors confirms the fact that Michelangelo Antonioni is a true aesthete who states the beauty of frame above anything else. He implicitly claims that movies should not entertain the viewers but give them the aesthetic pleasure of spectating.
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2. What are the principal locations utilized in the film?
The story told in the film could happen anywhere, but Antonioni decides that he needs a gray sky and industrial landscape. In other words, he was looking for a realistic environment. Eventually, the director decides that London is the perfect backdrop for Blow-Up. In addition Thomas experiences events that are more appropriate to London lifestyle rather than, for example, Roman or Milanese atmosphere. In fact, such lifestyle includes the same way of thinking that many other British artists, writers, journalists, musicians use to create the “pop art” movement. In order to create the atmosphere of creative freedom, the director uses such locations as a photo studio, nightclub, huge mansion for parties, and antique shop. At the same time, in Blow-Up, Antonioni decides to create more space between things and people. Therefore, photo studios, nightclubs, and restaurants confront a beautiful and peaceful nature that is presented in the London’s green park that is full of true beauty and perfect harmony. Antonioni uses the technique of contrast using crowded locations to keep the audience in tension and peaceful ones to provide an opportunity for reflections and analysis.
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3. How do you feel about the photographer and supporting characters in the film?
Thomas, the film’s protagonist, easily accepts any invitation to join any game, for example, the performance of mimes at the beginning or end of the movie. Moreover, Thomas perceives events that occur as funny entertainment, while these events are not a game for the rest of the characters. The reason is that everything that happens seems serious or tragic for them. On the one hand, Tomas behaves quite saucily with both men and women. On the other hand, Thomas admits, “I’m fed up with those bloody bitches. I wish I had tons of money. Then I’d be free” (Antonioni). Thus, behind the impudent external behavior, there is a feeling of lack of freedom inside him. Moreover, Thomas experiences the sense of inability to break the circle of life and work, in which he got stuck. He lives in a state of uncertainty, without knowing if his life really exists or he only imagines it to himself and plays a role in it because such lifestyle is the most convenient. At the same time, all supporting characters look extremely simplified. For instaance, mysterious Jane, the seller in the antique shop, two young and uneducated girls and others are hard to recall after watching the film. Therefore, secondary characters serve as the essential part of the imaginary world and outline the personality of Thomas. However, the personality of the main character remains unnamed throughout the movie. I feel that Antonioni wanted to show that current story may happen to everyone. In other words, he generalizes the protagonist and makes him look similar to the viewers, thereby simplifying the process of identification.
4. What highly effective directing strategies did you notice in scenes or sequences?
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In addition to the brilliant implementation of color and decorations, Antonioni’s movie is an outstanding example of editing and framing. Apparently, his mise-en-scenes are full of small but important details such as Tomas’ jumps in the park stairs, close-ups of antique shop hostess, or smoking photographer and occasional model, who are passing each other a cigarette. An example of truly auteur’s approach to montage can be noticed in a scene where Thomas examines the woman caught in the photograph. He enlarges the certain part of the photo and notices the hand with a gun. After that, the director starts the real photo film in order to show the audience what happens in the park. The fragments of various types of shots force the viewer to participate in the movie’s narrative.
Another outstanding example of specific montage occurs in the final scene. The camera does not follow the tennis ball and takes a close-up of Thomas’ face. At that moment, he passionately begins to follow the game, and the audience hears the sound of the ball. Then suddenly Thomas becomes sad and looks down. Next frame jumps directly to the general plan, bypassing the middle one. The figure of Thomas takes the size of a tennis ball then turns around, picks the camera from the ground, turns to the court, and disappears. For a moment, the viewer sees the blank green lawn.
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