Blow-Up + Red Desert (brand-new 35mm print!), FRIDAY 7:30pm

Blow-Up – 7:30pm
Using mid-sixties swingin’ London as its simultaneously dazzling and desolate stage, Antonioni’s first English language film was a box office smash: its mixture of au courant fashion and music, genre trappings, envelope-pushing luridness (rumours buzzed that you could see flashes of pubic hair in the ménage à trois scene featuring a young Jane Birkin), and arthouse modernity were just right for a new emerging audience — one “open-minded” enough (i.e. stoned) to love his enigmatic and dense imagery. In short, it was sexy, cool, and a real mind-blower. In the ingenious plot (inspiring both Argento’s Deep Red and De Palma’s Blow Out), David Hemmings plays Thomas, a high-profile fashion photographer who fills his days with snapping preening dollybirds and yawningly wandering the city, until his misanthropic ennui is shaken when he believes he may have accidentally photographed a murder. With music from Herbie Hancock and the Yardbirds (who appear in one of the film’s more surreal satirical moments), sumptuous photography by Carlo di Palma and a continuing mastery of color (the grass of the film’s pivotal park was painted to achieve the right shade of green), Blow-Up stands as Antonioni’s biggest crossover commercial success.
Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966, 35mm, 110 min.

Red Desert (brand-new 35mm print!) – 9:30pm
Michelangelo Antonioni’s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age — about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris — continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another, Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age.
Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964, 35mm, 120 min.

Watch the trailer for “Blow-Up”!
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Watch The Criterion Collection’s “Three Reasons to see Red Desert”!
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