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Goldstein, M. (1975). Antonioni's Blow-Up: From Crib to Camera. Am. Imago, 32(3):240-263.

(1975). American Imago, 32(3):240-263

Antonioni's Blow-Up: From Crib to Camera

Melvin Goldstein, Ph.D.

Antonioni declares that the scene in Blow-Up of the teeny-boppers was meant to be an innocent romp, not made so as to get by the censors of December, 1966, and that those film critics who saw it as an “orgy” or “sexual encounter” were seeing what is not there. The director's statement supported an intuition I had about Blow-Up.

“In my film, there is for example a scene in the photographer's studio in which two young girls, less than twenty years old, disport themselves in a way that is especially provocative. They are completely nude. But that scene was not constructed for ogling. I believe I filmed it in a way that no one would judge obscene. This sequence is not erotic, any more than it is vulgar. It is fresh, light—and I venture to hope—funny. I cannot prevent anyone from finding a scabrous side, but I needed that scene in the film, and I did not wish to renounce it for fear of its not suiting others' tastes.” l0

That is to say, I was thrown off the track of what is at the core of the film by the more than thirty critics who alluded, at length, to all of the sexual actings-out of Thomas, our hero, when it seemed to me, despite the sensuous and sexual scenes in this ocular tour de force, that there is no evidence that Thomas acts out heterosexually at any time in the film, albeit opportunities he has suggest that he does. (For a survey of this criticism, see Appendix I.)

The closest Thomas comes to heterosexual acting out is in the opening scene, much commented upon, in which he simulates having sexual intercourse with Verushka.

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