Blowup, Minimalism, and the Baroque

Believing and seeing are often both wrong…Robert McNamara

When you live like i do every day is pretty much like every other day, and you’ll do anything just to occupy your mind.  Lately it’s been mainly Netflix.

Since i dont even leave the house much there’s even less reason for one day to be memorable at all but today was, just by accident.  When i cant find what i want on Netflix i go to Amazon and rent a movie.  Last night it was the largely forgettable The Fog of War, Robert MacNamara’s movie.  But today it was a very old film i have wanted to see for years but was never able to watch on cable when it was on in the middle of the night.  And i’m very glad i saw it before i croaked.  It was a 1966 art film called Blowup.  And yes, it was just that fuckin good.  Most of you wouldnt even like it but from the standpoint of being as close to perfection as flawed humans can be, it is very close to perfect.

It’s not like other great films like Deliverance or Chariots of Fire in that they are enduring masterpieces that retain their stature over time; everybody’s seen these but not many have seen Blowup.  It was before my time and starts off looking like a period piece but that is soon forgotten because there’s so much that hooks you early.  I wont even describe the film because it would be too involved and because if i did and you watched it my perception might blind you to something in the film that only you could see.  That’s the only relevance of the opening quote here from MacNamara except that it sounded good.

I understand that Antonioni ran out of money when he was making this film and had to omit some extra scenes that would have “explained” some of what happened in the movie.  I think the fact that it remained unexplained added a crucial touch of minimalism that is often the last touch needed for greatness.  I’m a big fan of minimalism and they really are right in English 101 when they tell you less is almost always better.

Still, you cant generalize too much.  If this were always true Baroque art and music would all suck.  Actually i do think Baroque art sucks but that the music is the most moving and perfect that i have ever heard.  Check out the second movement of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor.  

But now i am rambling like the fool i am and the greater fool that i am becoming.  There’s a birthday looming and it’s making me distracted.


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