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“Blow-up,” by Peter Brunette, from The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni (Cambridge: - page 11 / 11





11 / 11

in the reopening en abyme of the enigma, and the reflexion on the image finally achieves its own true target. (P. 43)

For Cuccu, in other words, this final shot of the grass, after the photogra­pher has been cinematically whisked away, represents a "pure look" on the part of the filmmaking apparatus and, by extension, the director. It reveals that the "true target" of Antonioni's work is a reflection on precisely what he is doing when he looks, that is, when he makes a film: "From the lucid, compact surface of conventional cinema [cinema della trasparenza] has emerged, at the end, in a purer form the 'cinema of subjectivity,' of 'pure self-reflexivity.' The final act of Blow-up has gone beyond the image/reality problem, toward the discovery of the subject of the look as true object of reflexion, as true enigma" (p. 43). But there need not be any contradiction between Cuccu's emphasis on Antonioni's self-reflexivity and the director's critical exploration of the "image/reality problem." Clearly the one implies the other, and neither makes sense alone. The last, most eloquent word belongs to the filmmaker himself:

I don't know what reality is like. Reality escapes us, it changes contin­ually. When we think we've reached it, the situation is already some­thing else. I always doubt what I see, what an image shows me, be­cause I "imagine" what's beyond that; and what's behind an image is unknown. The photographer of Blow-up, who is not a philosopher, wants to see more more closely. But what happens is that because he enlarges too much, the object itself decomposes and disappears. Therefore, there is a moment in which one seizes reality, but the mo­ment immediately after, it escapes. That is, to some extent, the mean­ing of Blow-up. It might seem strange for me to say this, but Blow-up

was in some ways my neo-realist film on the relation between the individual and reality, even if it has a metaphysical component pre­cisely because of this abstraction of appearances.

After this film, I wanted to see what there was behind, what was my own appearance in the inside of myself, a little bit like I had done in my earliest films. And what resulted was The Passenger, another step forward in the study of contemporary man. In Blow-up the rela­tionship between the individual and reality is perhaps the principal theme, while in The Passenger, the relation is the one of the individual with himself.31


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