27 Jun 2012

Blow - Up (1966)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film “Blow-Up” has become an iconic portrait of London in the ’60′s. The film follows Thomas,  a self-centered photographer in ’60′s Swinging London, as he inadvertently witnesses a murder. This character was based on the famous photographer David Bailey, brilliantly portrayed by David Hemmings.

(David Bailey, he captured and helped create the 'Swinging London' of the 1960s. He is regarded as one of the best British photographers. He was the main photographer of Vogue, he married Catherine Deneuve, and photographed celebrities and socialites including Terence Stamp, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Jean Shrimpton and Andy Warhol, among others).

Antonioni gives us an insight look into the lifestyle of young, rich and beautiful people who party all day and all of the night. Thomas drives a Rolls Royce, is surrounded by models, and gives a lesson in style wearing an amazing dark green velvet jacket that looks exactly like the one that Louis Garrel wears in The Dreamers (I bet Bertolucci loves Blow-Up).

(Louis Garrel in The Dreamers)

The film also stars supermodel Veruschka, who looks like some sort of Russian countess while she's inmortalised by Hemming's camera in a really sensual and erotic way; the flawless and stylish Vanessa Redgrave, as a mysterious woman; and the lovely Jane Birkin. This was Birkin's debut, as she plays a young wild girl, some sort of Thomas' groupie, along with Gillian Hills (famous for her Zou bisou bisou, that you can watch by clicking here). The two girls get into a naive ménage à trois with Hemming's character, and the result is one of the funniest scenes of the film:

Blow-Up also has a notable appearance by the Yardbirds: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Keith Relf perform “Stroll On” (a.k.a. Train Kept a Rollin) at a crowded venue, in one of the scenes of the film:

Overall, this is a really great movie. Not the typical thriller you might be expecting, but a beautiful piece magistrally directed by Antonioni where the silences, the gestures and the looks between the characters become the main stars (it's no wonder that Sofia Coppola mentioned Antonioni as one of her influences). He manages to show us a brilliant portrait of London on that era, a remarkable film that won the Grand Prix at the 1967 Cannes Film Festival. 

1 Jun 2012

Idea of happiness

It feels like summer is already here! And these images reflect my idea of hapiness (like the song from Van She ♥): long sunny days, lay in bed or by a deep blue swimming pool while reading something, make pink lemonade, eat ice cream, sit on the garden,take pictures of pretty flowers, paint your nails with pastel colours, go shopping, and have fun dancing during the warm summer nights to songs like the ones from this mix, that include songs from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Van She, Sebastien Tellier and Yelle. Perfect for a summer party: