Pixel Perfect (Blow-Up)

23 May

How many photos do you see?

The photo attached to this blog entry is of one I took a few weeks ago for my COM127 basic photography class under Mr. Jimmy Domingo.  I find this photo interesting because although it may seem like a single photo, it is actually composed of three layers that are not evidently seen at first glance. For one, we have the gigantic stained glass window behind me which is reflected on clear glass. My reflection is also seen in this glass because I was on top of a photographer’s viewing deck. Through the glass you could see the real St. Therese’s church, with the altar and the people all visibly seen despite the layering that has been done.

Without the photo, the explanation might seem a bit awry and disjointed in so many points. Without the photo, one might not even believe it when I say I’ve captured three images in a single shot without the use of computer editing or post-processing. This brings me to my point that leads to Blow Up — seeing is indeed believing, but what are we left with when what we see doesn’t entirely match up with what really is going on?

As my first plunge into the “film world”, so to speak, Blow Up was a difficult film for me to take in. I  had trouble understanding the point of the movie and got confused by the main character’s persona. As the sort of lost photographer who is finding his way through life, I became lost with him in the entirety of the film as well. I think that this was an effective way in how the movie was made because in a certain aspect, it makes you want to hate it, but just as you are on the brink of doing so, you find yourself (once again) trapped into the confines of the world they are in.

To explain this point, I’d like to point out the sequence that started the film. There was a riot among the mimes (heck, we weren’t even sure if they were mimes, or teenagers in costume, or actors perhaps…and the list goes on and on), and out of nowhere, comes the photographer who jumps into his car and drives along to his studio. A series of events happen — shoots, print outs, vintage store conversations — but none of these really add up to the totality of the story itself. So once you are given all these reasons to detach yourself from Blow Up, you are given that hook to keep you holding on. That hook was the scene at the park followed by, although not immediately, the actual “blowing up” of the pictures the photographer took leading to his plight to unravel the murder mystery.

I screamed twice during this movie — that was how I believe, I demonstrated hate and attachment at the same time. I hate what it did to me, making me think like it was a drag with no point and then suddenly making me jump out of my seat, literally. A movie that could do this to me is as powerful as a bullet through my head. After thinking about what transpired, I begin to realize how I unconsciously submitted myself to the movie and let all my guards down. I also admire how it played with my head by primarily leading me to think that I was disinterested but all the while I was so engrossed by it without me blatantly admitting it.

The particular scene of the propeller, however, was one that stayed with me after the film. It was, like the photo above, an image underneath layers and layers and layers of scenes that you’d think will add up to creating a special, sort of highly intellectual “meaning” to it. The propeller was sort of like my own and the stained glass’ reflection on the clear glass: it did not mean to be in the way of the actual photo of the church — the propeller did not mean to be in the way of our understanding Blow Up.

One thing I’ve learned in this first film in class is that we always need to keep our eyes and our mind open for all the possible situations and avenues leading to the explanations for why certain things are the way they are. But also, despite the need to thoroughly analyze a movie from beginning to end, we as the audience must also learn to draw the line in terms of putting too much “analysis” to a simple thing.

There are times when a photo turns out to be the answer to an unexpected murder mystery. And that proved to be true. But there are also times when a propeller is a propeller — and we need to accept it as it is:

just a propeller.

1 Comment

Posted by on 23 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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One response to “Pixel Perfect (Blow-Up)

  1. greggyyu

    25 May 2011 at 10:50 pm

    i still don’t know why the propeller is used to portray something useless. as sir andrew said, it may be a guy thing to get useless things.

    anyway, yeah. i think what blow up does is desensitizes us viewers to watching films that always have happy endings. we see happy endings as the stop of a life, the life of a movie. but in most cases, this is not true. again as sir andrew said, they still move on with their lives. i think blow up does that, to keep us remembering that people in the movie still move on with their lives, and happy ending come when life is at it’s real end stage.


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