The brand new, North-West based cinema initiative Bigger Than Life launches this month with a one-off screening of director Michelangelo Antonioni’s famed swinging London thriller, Blow-Up at Stockport Plaza. Presented at the 1932 Art Deco Super Cinema and Variety Theatre from a 35mm print sourced from the British Film Institute, the event marks the beginning of a series dedicated to properly showcasing both celebrated and overlooked treasures from the history of cinema.
The story of a hip, David Bailey-esque fashion photographer (David Hemmings) whose life spins out of control when he discovers that he might have inadvertently captured a murder in progress whilst taking pictures of two strangers in a park, Blow-Up has been cited as one of the defining documents of sixties London. Featuring the likes of Vanessa Redgrave and Vera Miles and a celebrated Herbie Hancock score, the film captures the hedonism and danger of a city in the midst of a cultural revolution encompassing sex, drugs, fashion and, of course rock’n’roll.
Antonioni was already internationally revered for art house successes such as La Notte, L’Eclisse and L’avventura that he had made in his native Italy, when he was given the chance to make three films in English for MGM. Blow-Up – first screened in 1966 – was the first of these and its exciting cocktail of heady counterculture laced with a slippery examination of truth and image, proved extremely popular with both audiences and critics. It is a reaction that has persisted, and the film’s reputation has continued to grow as movie lovers and fans of sixties culture have revisited Antonioni’s dark, enigmatic vision of the capital decade after decade – you can catch Blow-Up as originally intended on Sunday 21st January, courtesy of Bigger Than Life.