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Visual Aesthetics

Human Constructions

A Response to a Hillman Curtis short film, Blow Up.


I’m in awe of the thought Blow Up provokes in 8 minutes and 21 seconds. The conscious choices in this short film evoke an intimacy between the two characters, and I’m drawn to the universality of questions raised.

Aesthetically, I like that the film is shot in black and white. It creates contrast between the two characters and their background, and it adds to their universal appeal. Both characters are wearing black. The film begins with a shot of a white photography backdrop, and it pans to the two characters wearing black. As the film goes on, we learn that the photographer, Nick, is embarking on a project based on the apocalypse. He describes various things inferring he is searching for purpose, and he states he wants his creation to be about “uncovering”. The white on the backdrop may represent the purity of what is to be uncovered in the universe. This symbolism came to mind again when the two characters are shown with the windows in the background. Light is pouring in from the windows, and the black and white film emphasizes contrast. This, again, may represent the purity of the metaphysical world Nick is setting out to uncover.

The dialogue is clever, because there is enough given to speculate without giving the character’s entire stories away. The female character, to me, represents human constructs. Describing his project, Nick describes his biologist father’s world perspective that human beings are less intelligent than animals. He says, “We’re not smart enough to learn to live in this world, so we change it.” He goes on to say, “The deeper he looked into things the clearer the face of God became.”  There is a clear correlation between these beliefs and what Nick is attempting with his project.

The female character is skeptical and defensive. She thinks it’s odd for a biologist to have religious beliefs, and she makes a joke about God having to be referred to as a “goddess” because they are in San Francisco. Also, she is defensive when interacting with Nick although she is willing to help him.

I like how the camera pans from Nick’s hands to his faces, demonstrating Nick’s uncertainty or insecurity when explaining his project. Also, a raw tension is felt when shots are alternated between the wide shot of Nick in a dominating position over the female character and a close up of the female’s face. The female character looks scared at the end of the film, or at least intensely in thought. The soft, indie-styled music gets louder building more tension. I like how the Female puts her hand behind her hand as she asks, “Nick, what are you trying to uncover?” She seems to be stepping out of human constructs, engaging with the intimate thoughts of another human being and I think this is an appropriate ending.



About lindseyhuston

I'm a strategic thinker with an eye for design. A recent graduate of Wofford College, my liberal arts background in Philosophy and English provided me with extensive writing and analytical skills. I’m adding to my skill set at Elon University learning as an MA in Interactive Media student. Teachable, driven, with an affinity towards networking, I hope to utilize my skills in a career in advertising and interactive design.


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