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A mystery unsolved: “Blow-Up” at the IU Cinema



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"Blow-Up" is a 1966 mystery film starring David Hemmings.  Movie Stills Database Buy Photos

The movie “Blow-Up” puts the viewer inside the mindset of a film photographer in London in the '60s. The film, which was shown at 7 p.m. Aug. 27 in the IU Cinema, is the first in a three part series called the President's Choice series.  

Before the film began, IU President Michael McRobbie said a few words to introduce the film and recalled his time as an undergrad who studied "Blow-Up." McRobbie said a professor of his described the film as being about appearance and reality and how the senses were an imperfect foundation used to explain the world. 

“Blow-Up” was the first film that was funded by the Michael A. McRobbie President’s Choice Film Series Fund that was created in September 2017. More than 30 IU faculty and staff members contributed to this fund, according to the IU Cinema's website.

The President’s Choice series will occur every semester at the cinema, “honoring President McRobbie’s leadership and his affinity for cinema,” according to the IU Cinema’s website.

“Every semester since 2011, President McRobbie has helped curate events,” Jon Vickers, director of the IU Cinema said.

The film “Blow-Up” is Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first feature in English, according to the IU Cinema’s website. It features a British photographer in the '60s who thinks that he captured a murder on his film camera. He spends the movie trying to “blow up” the images using his darkroom to get more information about what happened. After his evidence mysteriously disappears, he is left wondering if there was really a murder after all. 

The soundtrack of the film was created by jazz musician Herbie Hancock.

"The score for 'Blow-Up' mirrors the film’s backdrop of 1960s London," McRobbie said. "Having lived through this time, I can tell you it is very evocative. He recorded the soundtrack in New York with a number of great jazz musicians, including the legendary Indianapolis-born trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard."

Antonioni was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Screenplay for this film, said the IU Cinema’s website. Now, the film is considered a “countercultural masterpiece.” It was also nominated for two Oscars and a Golden Globe award, according to IMDB.

“You’re not really sure what’s real and what’s not,” Luce Klagee, a senior in marketing, said. “It tries to take you in the main character’s frame of mind, his struggle to figure out what happened. By the end, you’re left hanging with him.”

Other films in the President’s Choice series include “Zabriskie Point,” being shown at 4 p.m. Sept. 30 at the cinema, and “The Passenger” at 4 p.m. Dec. 2, also at the cinema. Both of these films were directed by Antonioni. 

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