Monday, January 10, 2011

make me want you, make me miss you, make me wonder where you are, then forget you

It is pretty much a universally accepted fact that Blow Up, the Michelangelo Antonioni film from 1966 about a London playboy photographer, is one of the defining films of the Swingin' Sixties. It's one of those fascinating films that is so captivating to watch that you are absolutely enthralled watching it, but only after the film is over do you realize that the film is about absolutely nothing. In short, Blow Up is about the life of the 'it' photographer of the Sixties, played by David Hemmings, who has the world - and quite literally the world's most beautiful women - at his feet. The cocky Cockney photographer was rumored to be based on David Bailey, who was known as much for the women he romanced (Jean Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve, Penelope Tree) as the moments he photographed.
Hemmings' film alter ego is callous and superficial, only interested in things that are exciting and unattainable. He treats women like disposable pleasures not worthy of emotions, tossing out the likes of Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Birkin, and Veruschka as professionally as he does rolls of film that he's captured their images on.
The image of Hemmings straddling the supermodel Veruschka while snapping photos of the model, who is writhing around on the studio floor, has come to be the most iconic image of the film. I've always loved the scenes with Veruschka because I find her to be such a fascinating personality. In the film, she plays an exaggerated version of herself - a supermodel who is so consumed in the jet-set luxury of the fashion set. Hemmings finds Veruschka at a club later that night after their photo session, and when he questions her why she isn't in Paris, the drunk or drugged (we're never quite sure) supermodel cries, "we are in Paris!"
While her 'character' may not be entirely true to her character, Veruschka has stated that the film offers a startlingly accurate portrait of the fashion world during that era. "I was never so interested in fashion," Veruschka has said of her modeling career, "I was never interested to wear designer clothes. It was a big stage and you were used as accessories. I was the object of desire, like in Blow Up."

Title: from "She Lives in My Lap" (Outkast) 

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