1967: When Vanessa Redgrave and 'Blow-Up' Hit Cannes

Redgrave - Getty-H 2016


The title, which tells the story of a fasion photographer who believes he captured a murder on film, won the Palme d’Or that year.

Vanessa Redgrave, who is set to appear at Cannes on May 12 for the premiere of a 4K digital restoration of Merchant Ivory’s 1992 film Howards End as part of the Cannes Classics series, was 30 when she first experienced the festival in 1967 with Michelangelo Antonioni.

They’d come with Blow-Up, which tells the story of a fashion photographer who believes he has accidentally captured a murder on film.

The pair arrived for an unusually colorful year at Cannes. Andy Warhol was invited for a showing of Chelsea Girls (it required two projectors screening concurrently), but the fest canceled the screening because the experimental film included 10 seconds of male nudity.

Jerry Lewis, who didn’t have a film there, held a press conference that was a huge hit with the French media and even attracted New Wave luminaries Jean-Luc Godard and Agnes Varda. THR quoted a Parisian critic who said Lewis was “infinitely more brilliant and creative than Chaplin.”

But the fest’s big moment came when Joseph Strick saw censors had blocked the subtitles during a soliloquy in his adaptation of Ulysses.

The American director stood up, yelled, went to the projection booth and turned o the switches before guards pushed him down a ?flight of stairs. He then withdrew the film.

For Antonioni, the big moment came when Blow-Up won the Palme d’Or. And for Redgrave, she says in her memoir that it came when her lover and future husband Franco Nero gave her a golden bracelet inscribed: “Francesco e Vanessa — per sempre.”