XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => The Director's Chair => Topic started by: (kelvin) on April 12, 2003, 05:23:31 PM

Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: (kelvin) on April 12, 2003, 05:23:31 PM
Recently, I watched nearly all of his films in a retrospective dedicated to his uniquely poetic works. I was stunned by the beauty and sadness of "L'Avventura", "La Notte", "L'Eclisse", just to name my favourites.
In fact, I don't think it is anyhow possible to make better movies than he did. I felt like looking into a mirror: those people trapped in sweet postmodern indifference, only united through their crying silence and their silent crying.
I was deeply touched. Nevertheless, I also have to admit that Antonioni's actress "fétiche" Monica Vitti is just great. I would very much like to discuss any of his films.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 12, 2003, 07:00:20 PM
"L'Avventura" is one of the absolute best and most important movies ever made.  The only other films I've been able to see of his include "La Notte", which seems like a weird movie for him to even have made at the time considering the art of it is near duplicate of L'Avventura but yet the movie is much smaller in scope and effect than its predessor. I do enjoy watching La Notte though to this day because the Antonioni art is still there and always good to see and Jeanne Moreau may have absolutely the most beautiful face I've ever seen. The third movie in the trilogy, L'Avventura and La Notte being the first two, L'Eclisse, seems like it does go farther in its art than L'Avventura while La Notte seemed a minor work compared to it. I really want to see L'Eclisse because from what I know of it, it seems even Antonoini is challenging himself to how far he can push his art, especially with the ending. Criterion sooner or later will release this one. Then the other I've seen was "Blow Up", which I absolutely loved because it felt in the same vein of L'Avventura and Antonioni's work, but seem even more subtle and harder to examine in presenting itself. L'Avventura, though it may not have pushed it's new art the farthest, it pushed it a significant amount to where it still can be represented as the best for its style because it wasn't like an early Bergman film that was pretty easy in symbolism when compared to his later work, that became much farther complex. L'Avventura though as a beginning work for its art, still was of high quality to compete with any of the others in arguments.  Antonoini's 60s work seems to run in the same class of importance and especially for Italian cinema at the time, when Antonoini was working within "Interior Realism", a second movement of sorts from "Neo Realism" and seemed to represent the very best in that movement to not only how far one can push the boundaries to show that focus on the loss of spiruality and fullness, but how one can show it the most effectively. I think Antonoini did it the best of anyone at the time. Fellini had his greatest works during this period and was of sorts working within Interior Realism, but he really is a different benchmark and seemed completely outside of all classifications and better represented to be in his own category of filmmaker. Fellini remains my personal favorite for the times and one of the best ever, if not the best for film art.

Also, it must be noted that I saw Beyond the Clouds, with co direction by Wim Wenders. The art of Antonoini and his approach was there, but it seemed like minor material and presented in a way that was not very fulfilling when compared to his earlier work and its power.  It just seemed he was showing his style without evolving on it.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Cecil on April 12, 2003, 08:33:31 PM
unfortunately ive only seen blowup and zabriskie point, both of which i love. and it pains me that they are not out on dvd.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: (kelvin) on April 13, 2003, 04:33:43 PM
In fact, "L'Avventura" might be Antonioni's best film, I would even count it between the Top 10 best films ever. Perhaps only Tarkovsky was able to express similar ideas of existentialism and nihilism melted with poetry and passion.
Antonioni's films have a certain style, very recognizable and individualistic. I simply adore his obsession to integrate the architecture into his pictures. It becomes a narrative element that comments on the thoughts and feelings of his characters.
The great tragic in his movies consists in the fact that the depicted characters are all in search for something that doesn't exist, that runs away from them, and the more they chase it, the faster it runs. Now, worst of all, they are actually totally aware of their fate: they know that they know, but they won't admit it.
This leitmotiv finds its climax in "L'Eclisse". The opening seems to last just an eternity; the film shows us a post-communicative world where the street lights can give more warmth than man itself. It's the eclipse of mankind, very silent an very sad.
But I think that "La notte" is as well a great film, even though it is not as radical as the two other movies mentioned. Nevertheless, there are some magnificent scenes in it.
As for "Beyond the clouds", it is a profound reflection about something called love, which I liked a lot. Given Antonioni's health, it was quite an extraordinary achievement.
"Blow Up" is of course also a great film, if not a real masterpiece. Nevertheless, I have to say that, as in most if his colour films, I missed somehow the "chic" portrayed in his previous films.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 13, 2003, 07:06:22 PM
I liked La Notte as well, but as I said before, the movie didn't really develop its own identity and of the trilogy, is generally considered to be the weakest of the three, which I would agree with. I also have L'Avventura in my top ten list for best ever and fully believe it created a new art form in the movies.

Though I did like 'Beyond the Clouds', it seemed much more mainstream than the other works of Antonioni, but still of his signature. Beyond The Clouds was easy to follow and take path with, where his real masterpieces of the past really brought themselves into a world unlike our other that was like an experience of seeing the world a new, where the worst fate is not to die, but to continue to live a meaningless existence.

And the more I think of Blow Up, the more I really do love it because the identification of meanings in a movie like L'Avventura is easier to understand, where Blow Up takes issue with things that are so much more random in life that many things can be of interpretation, or to the viewer not understanding of Antonioni's art, can seem even more meaningless than any of his other works that I've seen.

The film besides L'Eclisse I want to see the most of his is The Passenger. From what I hear though, it is really of very limited availability. The star of the film, Jack Nicholson, owns the rights to it and it leasing it out to absolutely no one. He is keeping the film to himself and the limited availability it has now is as wide as it will be because I guess the film is way too personal for him to be released wide because it reflects on a period of time in his life that is too personal for him to show the world. Curiosity only thickens with case.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: (kelvin) on April 14, 2003, 07:04:19 AM
Strange story about Nicholson keeping "The Passenger" just for himself...a bit eccentric, isn't it? Well, okay, the actor himself is, let's say, "unconventional". Is the original title of the movie "Professione : reporter"? For I will have the possibility to watch it in a fews weeks in a retrospective. Anyway, I am looking forward to it, because it is one of the few works by Antonioni I haven't seen yet.
And yes, "Beyond the Clouds" may be more mainstram, but I think this fact resides in the nature of the subject. A film about the various aspects of love can't be put into the philosophical context and narrative patterns of his great masterpieces of the early 60s.
By the way, have you seen any of his short films or documentaries? Some of them are quite interesting.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 14, 2003, 09:23:07 AM
I do understand that "Beyond the Clouds" is not fitting for his movies during the 60s on spiritual isolation. What I was trying to go for was more or less a new identity for this subject, like he did with spiritual isolation in the 60s that felt like something completely new. I don't think the film was thought out to its fullest capabilities of dealing with the mysteries of what love, or thought love, can be. He just seemed to take characteristics in general approach with his past films and mixed it with a general film that could have been attributed to anyone.

I haven't seen any of his documentaries or short films at all. My location and availability of his films in this location is quite limited. I am 4 hours from a decent a mid sized American city that has at least 2 indepedent theatres for these movies or interest in anything world cinema. I live in a city that has one theatre and the most basic of American movies. I'm stuck with trying to order online or through stores which has brought disastrous attempts with constant failures on some movies for me to get a hold of, especially the work of Max Ophuls in general. I can only for now, see the most wide spread works Antonioni has to offer.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on April 14, 2003, 01:41:21 PM
What, no mention of Red Desert????

That's an outstanding film!
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 14, 2003, 07:01:19 PM
Actually, no mention of Red Desert is a good question. I've never seen it but from what I hear, it really isn't one of his best works at all and represents, with Zabriskie Point, two films from his high period of the 60s that were pretty bad according to most Antonioni enthusiasists. The reasons why is that it seems Antonioni dips way too much into self parody for these films. While watching L'Avventura with commentary on (I hardly ever watch any movie with commentary), the Antonioni expert identified a moment in the movie that was of self parody. It was on the island near the end of the search for the missing woman when nothing has been found and all seems hopeless as the people just walk around really doing nothing. In one scene, all the people are together sitting and frutting about the situation while the main guy of focus (forgot name) is walking back and forth in front of them, from what I remember. The idea is that Antonioni is making his ideas too obvious in this scene that would play out in a comedy trying to show people doing nothing with nothing important to do. While the rest of the island scene captured an ambiguilty to directly identify the situation of these people and in relation to the general themes of the movie, this one shot did it in easy fashion. It didn't fit and like Antonioni was directly saying what to feel instead of showing us the world for our own interpretation. The expert on the commentary said moments like these were all over Red Desert and Zabriskie Point, from memory, was said to be in faults mainly for this reason as well. Oh well, I still want to see them. Should be interesting to see how much I agree with the general consensus on these films, if I do.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on April 14, 2003, 09:44:47 PM
please bare with me. i only began looking at film as an artform a few months ago. during that period i was watching films like Sunrise, L'Avventura and The Seventh Seal all in one day back to back! so of course i didn't have the chance to really look and think about any individual films closely.
i remember L'Avventura's brilliant cinematography, but i was left a little confused. can you tell me what you took from the film, or your interpretation or anything really. and try not to use too many fancy words and terribly long explainations if possible.
thanks.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 15, 2003, 08:36:00 AM
OK, so you liked the cinematography, which is that you probably realized the movie seemed to rely on that cinematography and just to hold on shots for long periods of time, making the cinematography more to the forefront of what you were noticing. Now take a look at what determines a normal movie, in that you get the set up for a scene by characters saying necessary information to push the story along or something happens that pushes the story along. Every scene in a movie is measured by how important it is to the rest of the movie, like does it say something that is completely important to the rest of the movie. So try to understand that each scene is not just a scene, but information given to you in the most limited amount of time. Now to understand L'Avventura in that way, also look at it as giving information in the most focused way it can. But, the major difference between L'Avventura and the average movie is that L'Avventura is not giving you all the important information through dialogue. The movie requires you to look at every single aspect of the picture you are seeing and see if you can relate it back to the main story. At the end of L'Avventura, when the two lovers realized the hopelessness of their relationship, you seem them not able to talk to each other in any comfortable way and a thick way of tension up. But look behind them at the scenery. There is a tree that has its leaves blowing pretty hard even if there is no other evidence it is a windy day. Then look further back and you see not just a mountain, but a dorment volcano. Now why would the only scene in the movie be this one where a volcano is shown? You try to relate these elements to what is being felt in the character drama in the movie. Basically Antonioni movies are about the dominance of one's surrounding on their life and the interpretation of it. And it also must be known, that interpretation of the actions of the character are more important what they are saying so it goes down to the acting technique when you really want to study acting, you don't see how they say their lines, but you turn the sound off and see how they do their actions because that is most revealing. Try to look at the characters in this movie that way, try to read their body language because it is most revealing without necessarily saying who they are in what spoken words as drama would. It goes for the ambiguous and the feeling of what the viewer feels in watching the movie. I hope this helps.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Pubrick on April 15, 2003, 09:24:03 AM
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
I hope this helps.

~rougerum

paragraphs would help more.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: (kelvin) on April 15, 2003, 03:00:41 PM
@ The Gold Trumpet:
I agree so far with your comments on "Beyond the Clouds". It is neither "L'Avventura" nor "L'Eclisse". Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is a film that really has some qualities and it is far from being mainstream. (I do not even dare to imagine what a mainstream Antonioni would look like...)
I really liked your explanation of "L'Avventura". By the way, which other films do you count between your personal favourites besides this one? Mine include Vertov's "The Man With a Movie Camera", "Barry Lyndon", "La passion de Jeanne d'Arc" and "Hana-Bi" (etc etc etc). I'm always interested in these kinds of questions...
Besides, if you ever happen to be in Europe, Luxembourg especially, visit the "cinémathèque municipale"...a temple for cinephiles and for those who love Antonioni's movies...
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Pwaybloe on April 15, 2003, 03:08:06 PM
Quote from: chriskelvin
I really liked your explanation of "L'Avventura".


::GT creams pants::
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 15, 2003, 06:53:01 PM
It's always nice to get compliments, especially for me when I hardly get any and post to the point where I am looking for arguments or discussion instead.

Other personal favorites? Well, there is a movie playing in the world right now I think is of the same equality of importance as L'Avventura, and thats City of God. On its outside storyline, it is very much like Goodfellas, but the movie attains new grounds in my mind to being a completely poetic movie through the editing. Editing has always been the key and most distinguisable aspect of the movies to separate it from other art forms, but in City of God, it feels like it is really being pushed to its limits for the first time. The movie is a rapid fire of so many cuts that doesn't show off because it can, but to grab the emotional feeling of chaos within its world. In it, you get prolly one of the best experiences in just watching a movie because the movie at once, moves like a documentary in breaking away from acting techniques that dominates other movies and goes for a pure realism, but yet with the look of a documentary, it uses pure movie magic to heighten that feeling into the stratusphere of how far emotion in just viewing a movie can be pushed. Citizen Kane acted as bringing all aspects learned in making movies from the beginning to its time all into one movie. With the film world based off the indepedent movements starting in 1960s and 1970s and great interest in capturing realism, it is under my belief City of God acts as the equivalent of Citizen Kane for our own times in bringing every single aspect learned in making movies from the last 30 or so years into one movie. Every chance I get in promoting this movie, I do it and will continue to do so because I believe in its greatness so much even if it has yet to be general fact among film fans.

But for other personal favorites, I would say works like Grave of the Fireflies, 8 1/2, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Singin' In The Rain, Apocalypse Now, La Dolce Vita, Citizen Kane and The Passion of Joan of Arc among other works would rank very high for me. Personally, I've been getting into the imagination possible with animation lately and the beauty and grace of the musicals as well.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on April 15, 2003, 08:08:16 PM
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
I hope this helps.

~rougerum


yeah. that helps a lot. does the Criterion commentary go into depth on this? and..how do you like the Criterion disc of the film?

i see mention of the Passion of Joan Arc. i remember Godard and Lang talking about this on the Criterion Contempt. how is this film?
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 15, 2003, 10:03:57 PM
Criterion disc is great and my detailing of the final scene in L'Avventura I mainly credit from that commentary. Very good one.

And yes, it is an incentive you at least watch The Passion of Joan of Arc once in your life. May not think it is all that great, but you should see what basically made film into an art form to begin with. Silent cinema, especially at its barest of bones like in this movie, is not for all.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on April 16, 2003, 10:49:33 AM
after i thought about it, i remembered seeing a tree moving, but not the other things around it. i took it as being odd, but didn't really give it much thought.

i like silent films. i really like chaplin and Keaton. sunrise was great. i think metropolis was pretty much silent too and it was pretty good, so i'm down with silent films. i'm more of a visual person anyways.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: MacGuffin on July 09, 2003, 05:31:55 AM
"Blow Up" (1966). Antonioni's portrait of '60s swinging London is on Turner's schedule for a DVD release for next year.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on July 09, 2003, 09:26:42 AM
Quote from: MacGuffin
"Blow Up" (1966). Antonioni's portrait of '60s swinging London is on Turner's schedule for a DVD release for next year.


I just had an orgasm.


Best news I've heard in awhile.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: chainsmoking insomniac on July 09, 2003, 09:27:17 AM
Woo-hoo!!!!!
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: ono on July 14, 2003, 04:37:42 PM
I just got through L'Avventura.  Well, sort of.  My roommate's blasting that awful movie Basic in the background didn't help my movie any.  And well, while there were some (read: one or two) memorable parts, mostly, the film bored the snot out of me.  I'll probably need to see it again, on DVD or something (VHS is really starting to annoy me, but that's mostly what my library has).

Anyway, I generally don't care how "important" a film is, which is what I think GT is getting at when he heaps praise on L'Avventura: that it did a lot for advancing the art of film.  While that's all well and good, "important" films are overrated.  People hail Citizen Kane as "important" because of its advancements in technology and art.  Ditto with D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.  Kane is a decent film, nothing more.  Birth of a Nation is a horrible film, period, and should not get the praise it does just for technical innovations.  Getting there first isn't nearly as important as using a technique well.  So what I want to hear is, importance aside, why is L'Avventura such a good film?  'Cause to me, well, it's simply not (though I do admit I should probably watch it again).  (And GT, if you reply, please indent more often than you normally do.  Paragraphs are your friend.  :))
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on July 14, 2003, 07:26:48 PM
Quote from: Onomatopoeia
(And GT, if you reply, please indent more often than you normally do.  Paragraphs are your friend.  :))


Fuck that, paragraphs still owe me twenty bucks. I understand what you are saying, but I do think personal love on my part belongs with L'Avventura as much as I also realize its social importance. I partly agree with you on Kane and Birth. I love Kane, but Welles as a filmmaker, I am more prone to watch The Trial and performance wise, I am taking The Third Man. For me, though, with all the details aside to my understanding of it, why I love the movie so much is because it is not only great, but it creates its own world. Its a movie that feels like it is outside of other movies or any language of movies we know and feels like it is its own being.

Satiyat Ray did that with Panther Panchali and recently Songs from the Second Floor did it too. 2001: A Space Odyssey, most definitely.  I hear Yasijuro Ozu is like that at his best. Whatever the film is trying to be, at least these films are their own and and in many ways, I am identifying with the more so now, it is equal personal love for L'Avventura. I hope you watch the movie again under better settings so the movie can bring maybe a better reaction from you.
*Just looked back at his posts on the first page of this thread and only could think, "What the fuck was I thinking posting like that?"*
I'm learning.

~rougerum
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on July 14, 2003, 10:43:44 PM
Quote from: Onomatopoeia
Kane is a decent film, nothing more.  <:))


i couldn't disagree more, but i think i gave some of my reasons in the welles thread.

right now i have the first "real" scene of the film in my head. after the fake news reel (where the entire story is set up), the news real ends abruptly and the beams of light and smoke and shadows and people come in........ahh.....isn't that the coolest?
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on July 15, 2003, 11:13:52 AM
Quote from: Onomatopoeia
I just got through L'Avventura.  Well, sort of.  My roommate's blasting that awful movie Basic in the background didn't help my movie any.  And well, while there were some (read: one or two) memorable parts, mostly, the film bored the snot out of me.  I'll probably need to see it again, on DVD or something (VHS is really starting to annoy me, but that's mostly what my library has).

Anyway, I generally don't care how "important" a film is, which is what I think GT is getting at when he heaps praise on L'Avventura: that it did a lot for advancing the art of film.  While that's all well and good, "important" films are overrated.  People hail Citizen Kane as "important" because of its advancements in technology and art.  Ditto with D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.  Kane is a decent film, nothing more.  Birth of a Nation is a horrible film, period, and should not get the praise it does just for technical innovations.  Getting there first isn't nearly as important as using a technique well.  So what I want to hear is, importance aside, why is L'Avventura such a good film?  'Cause to me, well, it's simply not (though I do admit I should probably watch it again).  (And GT, if you reply, please indent more often than you normally do.  Paragraphs are your friend.  :))


Some cool things about L'avventura (and people... please correct me if I am wrong in any facts...):

While it may be slow, Antonioni used this film to invent his narrative structure based around the Fake Plot. That thing that holds us until we are at bursting point with the important characters, then he can forget about plot and just let us simmer with them to the proper point. While we now are much more slaves to constantly progessing (and resolving) narrative, if you don't let that be a factor in judging the film, you can "read" it in the way he wanted, and the disappearance of the girl just works so well. Antonioni continued this in Red Desert with the boy's sickness, and in Blow Up of course with the dead body. I think it's just one other cool way to set up a totally different payoff in your story, and to give you the time needed to build to that payoff.

Also, I believe this was Monica Vitti's first film. She is amazing. Marks just for that fact.

Lastly, the camera work is astounding. If for nothing else, this film is great to watch for the visuals that are beautiful, yet stifling and slightly disturbing (in a calm, dry way), that only Antonioni can do.

Please give it another chance on Criterion.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on September 16, 2003, 10:38:59 AM
Oi (that was a pretentious post I put awhile back, huh?).

Anyway, I'm doing the Trilogy of Alienation now, just finished re-watching L'Avventura & La Notte last night, will do L'eclisse tonight (for the first time!!).

Um, I was doing some reading, and I came across this fact that I had never noticed before. So I checked it out and sure enough: (in L'avventura) the brunette babe that Sandro sees during the mob of reporters, whose name is Gloria Perkins, is the same girl he sleeps with at the end when Claudia catches him. It was mentioned that Gloria was a "writer", but also that she could be bought for a month's worth of wages. It seems like Sandro got her for pretty cheap. But geez, now a whole lot more of this flick makes sense to me. Too bad I missed it before. Did anybody else make the same mistake I did, thinking they were two unrelated episodes? Only one review or piece of criticism I've read mentions this, all others seem to overlook it...
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: modage on November 11, 2003, 09:16:57 PM
just saw L'Avventura.  it was okay.  a little long.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SHAFTR on November 11, 2003, 09:21:37 PM
Quote from: themodernage02
just saw L'Avventura.  it was okay.  a little long.


Just wait, give it a day or two to fester.  You'll want to see it again.  I did quite a bit of reading on L'Avventura, along with a 10 or so page paper, and it really is a great film.  There is a certain feeling that the viewer has when the film is finished.  I think it takes awhile for someone to finally realize that feeling.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: classical gas on November 12, 2003, 05:14:28 AM
Quote from: Onomatopoeia
I just got through L'Avventura.  Well, sort of.  My roommate's blasting that awful movie Basic in the background didn't help my movie any.


oh, how similar our lives must be.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: classical gas on November 12, 2003, 05:19:36 AM
Quote from: SHAFTR
Quote from: themodernage02
just saw L'Avventura.  it was okay.  a little long.


Just wait, give it a day or two to fester.  You'll want to see it again.  I did quite a bit of reading on L'Avventura, along with a 10 or so page paper, and it really is a great film.  There is a certain feeling that the viewer has when the film is finished.  I think it takes awhile for someone to finally realize that feeling.


agreed
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: classical gas on March 03, 2004, 03:55:48 AM
Okay, so I just saw 'Blow Up' for the first time tonight.  I don't know how others have interpreted this film, but I'd like to add my comments and see what others have to say about it, because I'm not too sure that I've gotten all I can get from this film or maybe I'm looking too much into it.

-don't read any further if you haven't seen the film-

Okay, so it starts out with the photographer and he's on top of his field and everyone wants to work with him and he seems to think that he sees what others don't see; he's a typical artist who thinks that he is more perceptive and intuitive than others.

I have to say quickly, that I found significance in his artist friend saying something about his paintings, about them meaning nothing until he's had time to ananlyze them; I may be way off in that quote, but it was something of that sort.  i can't quite connect this to the whole of the film though.

Then, he develops the pictures of the woman (Redgraves) with the man in the park and he notices (or thinks he does) the gun in the bushes.  He then blows the pictures up in order to get closer to the truth.  Like the further he pursues each aspect of the scene, the closer he'll come to the reality of what happened, however, the more he looks into it (the more he zooms in on the photos) the more blurred everything becomes.

And then the fling with the two girls; here he resumes his role as the dominate artist; but then when he awakes the murder, or his idea that a murder has happened pulls him away from these girls and he's back to where he started.  It is taking his whole attention now, because now his photos are questioning his reality, maybe?

So the movie goes to the park and he sees the body and returns to his apartment and the pictures are gone.  The only one left is the blurry picture that could be a body.  The woman that comes over comments that it looks like one of the painter's abstract paintings, or his blurred reality of what he thinks has happened; now he's not quite sure if he knows what he saw is real.  Could what he saw just be a lie to himself; is he deceiving himself?

So he has to find his friend to go with him to the body, for further proof that his subjective reality is the true reality; that what he saw is what is real; but his friend is too stoned to leave the party or just doesn't want to leave.

Also, the thing about the guitar neck that he discards, any significance in that?  Did he just find that he went through all that trouble to get it from the crowd just for a worthless object (like the propellar?).

And he goes back to the body, which isn't there anymore and he wanders away, and watches the mimes playing tennis.  He goes to pick up their imaginary tennis ball.  Is he accepting their reality, whatever it may be?  Or does he realize that reality is up to interpretation and that these mimes are having fun with the whole idea, as should he.  And then, he dissapears.  hmm....

One final note, I know this has been a long post, but; some of the editing in this film was odd.  Such as the part when he goes back for the body the second time (I think....) and he looks up at the leaves blowing in the wind and then it cuts to the leaves, but when the camera goes down, it's on the photographer; like we weren't looking at his perspective at all, which would be assumed.  Plus, some of the shots at the beginning where he's photographing the couple in the park; some of the shots don't add up, did anyone else notice this?

Please, give me a pity reply, as it's getting lonely in this thread after posting three times in a row...
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on March 03, 2004, 09:04:00 AM
It's a top film, and I think you nailed most of the important stuff. I didn't notice anything "wrong" really with the shots you mentioned, just accepted it as Antonioni's style. Still, the only part of the film that doesn't work for me if the Yardbirds scene -- maybe because it's so out of sync. But if someone could make that scene gel for me, I'd be hella happy.


On another note, I started watching Zabriskie Point last night. Ah, silly revolutionary hippies... movie started out fairly well, but when it got to the desert and the two leads alone, it just became cheesy and boring and all I could think of is that I'd rather watch Gerry. So I shut it off. First Antonioni movie I've seen that was pretty bad. It feels not so nice...
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: (kelvin) on March 03, 2004, 04:11:08 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
It's a top film, and I think you nailed most of the important stuff. I didn't notice anything "wrong" really with the shots you mentioned, just accepted it as Antonioni's style. Still, the only part of the film that doesn't work for me if the Yardbirds scene -- maybe because it's so out of sync. But if someone could make that scene gel for me, I'd be hella happy.


On another note, I started watching Zabriskie Point last night. Ah, silly revolutionary hippies... movie started out fairly well, but when it got to the desert and the two leads alone, it just became cheesy and boring and all I could think of is that I'd rather watch Gerry. So I shut it off. First Antonioni movie I've seen that was pretty bad. It feels not so nice...


 :shock:

Have you seen the END of the film???
That is sheer brillance.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on March 03, 2004, 04:14:50 PM
I've read about it.

I may fast forward there tonight, based soley on Careful With That Axe, Eugene...

(it's a crappy library vhs copy that is pan and scan)
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: (kelvin) on March 03, 2004, 04:32:35 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen


I may fast forward there
*ugh*

 
Quote from: SoNowThen
 pan and scan
*ugh*
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: A Matter Of Chance on March 03, 2004, 06:17:10 PM
I like Antonioti, L'Avventura is a great one of his.

(http://www.irelands-web.ie/laser/images/l'avent2.jpg)
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Ghostboy on August 09, 2004, 01:05:47 AM
I just watched L'aventura this evening; and was impressed in a cold and distant way that, after reading this thread and Ebert's great movie review, seems to be an acceptable reaction after a first viewing. I wholly embraced the first half of the movie; it must have been a big inspiration to Peter Weir on Picnic At Hanging Rock. Then, throughout the second half, I found myself resisting the story more and more; I was getting detatched from it, and was struggling to stay involved.

It struck me while watching it as a story not unlike Last Tango In Paris, which I just watched last night -- basically, an examination of emptiness, except in this case that examination was transposed on a certain context (as SoNowThen put it on the last page, a fake story) which purposely put audiences in a certain mood and cast the development of the characters in a certain light that otherwise wouldn't have been attained.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Ghostboy on August 11, 2004, 12:51:54 AM
I just saw Blowup tonight and completely flipped for it. In fact, I'm watching it again as I write this (glancing back and forth between screens). I feel like I completely got it -- like Antonioni was completely operating on my wavelength. I love that feeling.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: 03 on August 11, 2004, 01:41:50 AM
i know this feeling you speak of.
i recently read the story (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0394728815.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg) by cortazar, and i enjoyed it very much.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: cron on August 11, 2004, 07:58:12 PM
I didn't know Julio Cortazar had written that story until a month ago or such.
Julio Cortazar is one of my favorite writers, so I seriously want to see this film now.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: El Duderino on September 11, 2004, 08:37:29 PM
Erotic Homage to Antonioni Unveiled at Venice

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Filmmaking greats Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Soderbergh and Wong Kar Wai unveiled at the Venice Film Festival on Friday their seductive trilogy "Eros," devoted to eroticism and desire.

   

In the film, which is also a homage to the ailing 91-year-old Antonioni by the two internationally acclaimed young directors, each takes a unique approach to the theme in separate vignettes.

"What motivated me to do this film was Michelangelo Antonioni, who had been the guiding light for me and filmmakers of my generation," said Kar Wai, creator of the sci-fi romance "2046" and arthouse favorite "In the Mood for Love."

In the first vignette, "The Hand," Hong Kong's Kar Wai weaves an erotic story about a tailor and a courtesan played by Gong Li with sumptuous images and rainy, dark sets.

Soderbergh's "Equilibrium," on the other hand, is a perverse comedy starring Robert Downey Jr. (news - web sites) as a 1950s New York ad agent who visits a psychiatrist to unravel his mysterious erotic dreams and unblock his creativity.

Initially, Spain's Pedro Almodovar had been lined up to take part in the project, but in the end, the award-winning U.S. director of "Traffic" and "Sex, Lies and Videotape" stepped in.

"I wanted my name on a poster with Michelangelo Antonioni," an irreverent Soderbergh said in the production notes.

Finally, Antonioni, one of Italy's most influential film directors and the cinematic father of modern angst and alienation, offers a meditation on the gap between men and women in "The Dangerous Thread of Things."

The story is set in the beautiful Tuscan countryside and is the most sexually explicit of the three stories.

Antonioni's 60-year career includes Oscar-nominated "Blowup" and the internationally acclaimed "L'Avventura" (The Adventure).

Despite a crippling stroke in 1983 which robbed him of his speech, the Italian director is still working.

"It was very exciting to work with all those people who made this film. Thanks for having given Michelangelo many days of life," said his wife Enrica.

Antonioni's deliberately slow-moving and oblique movies are not always crowd pleasers, but films such as "L'Avventura" turned him into an icon for directors like Kar Wai and Martin Scorsese, who has described him as a poet with a camera.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: meatwad on September 11, 2004, 09:50:19 PM
already posted in the Soderbergh thread
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Bethie on September 13, 2004, 03:39:25 AM
Quote from: classical gas
Okay, so I just saw 'Blow Up' for the first time tonight.

-don't read any further if you haven't seen the film-

Okay, so it starts out with the photographer and he's on top of his field and everyone wants to work with him and he seems to think that he sees what others don't see; he's a typical artist who thinks that he is more perceptive and intuitive than others.

I have to say quickly, that I found significance in his artist friend saying something about his paintings, about them meaning nothing until he's had time to ananlyze them; I may be way off in that quote, but it was something of that sort.  i can't quite connect this to the whole of the film though.

Then, he develops the pictures of the woman (Redgraves) with the man in the park and he notices (or thinks he does) the gun in the bushes.  He then blows the pictures up in order to get closer to the truth.  Like the further he pursues each aspect of the scene, the closer he'll come to the reality of what happened, however, the more he looks into it (the more he zooms in on the photos) the more blurred everything becomes.

And then the fling with the two girls; here he resumes his role as the dominate artist; but then when he awakes the murder, or his idea that a murder has happened pulls him away from these girls and he's back to where he started.  It is taking his whole attention now, because now his photos are questioning his reality, maybe?

So the movie goes to the park and he sees the body and returns to his apartment and the pictures are gone.  The only one left is the blurry picture that could be a body.  The woman that comes over comments that it looks like one of the painter's abstract paintings, or his blurred reality of what he thinks has happened; now he's not quite sure if he knows what he saw is real.  Could what he saw just be a lie to himself; is he deceiving himself?

So he has to find his friend to go with him to the body, for further proof that his subjective reality is the true reality; that what he saw is what is real; but his friend is too stoned to leave the party or just doesn't want to leave.

Also, the thing about the guitar neck that he discards, any significance in that?  Did he just find that he went through all that trouble to get it from the crowd just for a worthless object (like the propellar?).

And he goes back to the body, which isn't there anymore and he wanders away, and watches the mimes playing tennis.  He goes to pick up their imaginary tennis ball.  Is he accepting their reality, whatever it may be?  Or does he realize that reality is up to interpretation and that these mimes are having fun with the whole idea, as should he.  And then, he dissapears.  hmm....

One final note, I know this has been a long post, but; some of the editing in this film was odd.  Such as the part when he goes back for the body the second time (I think....) and he looks up at the leaves blowing in the wind and then it cuts to the leaves, but when the camera goes down, it's on the photographer; like we weren't looking at his perspective at all, which would be assumed.  Plus, some of the shots at the beginning where he's photographing the couple in the park; some of the shots don't add up, did anyone else notice this?

Please, give me a pity reply, as it's getting lonely in this thread after posting three times in a row...


In the trailer, the voice over says, "Sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all."


I saw Blow-Up a month ago.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SiliasRuby on April 16, 2005, 12:04:12 PM
I saw L'Avventura last week and I loved it, but I don't think for me, it can be the kind of film I can watch over and over again...but unusually I'd like to see it a second time. I have Blow-up on DVD and have watched it many times.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: samsong on April 16, 2005, 12:54:25 PM
:yabbse-thumbup: L'Eclisse :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on April 16, 2005, 01:43:40 PM
I'm a major fan of Antonioni, but I cannot defend Blow-Up the way others can. Great movie in many ways, but it also drifts from the best of Antonioni. I felt Antonioni exploring film genre more with the murder mystery in it. It doesn't have the tone of self examination the way his previous trilogy did. After watching Blow-Up, I was impressed with how Antonioni could mesh his art with a genre. After watching L'Avventura, La Notte and L'Eclisse, I was impressed with how much his art touched a nerve inside of me.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on April 17, 2005, 10:32:57 PM
Quote from: Bethie
Quote from: classical gas
Okay, so I just saw 'Blow Up' for the first time tonight.

-don't read any further if you haven't seen the film-

Okay, so it starts out with the photographer and he's on top of his field and everyone wants to work with him and he seems to think that he sees what others don't see; he's a typical artist who thinks that he is more perceptive and intuitive than others.

I have to say quickly, that I found significance in his artist friend saying something about his paintings, about them meaning nothing until he's had time to ananlyze them; I may be way off in that quote, but it was something of that sort.  i can't quite connect this to the whole of the film though.

Then, he develops the pictures of the woman (Redgraves) with the man in the park and he notices (or thinks he does) the gun in the bushes.  He then blows the pictures up in order to get closer to the truth.  Like the further he pursues each aspect of the scene, the closer he'll come to the reality of what happened, however, the more he looks into it (the more he zooms in on the photos) the more blurred everything becomes.

And then the fling with the two girls; here he resumes his role as the dominate artist; but then when he awakes the murder, or his idea that a murder has happened pulls him away from these girls and he's back to where he started.  It is taking his whole attention now, because now his photos are questioning his reality, maybe?

So the movie goes to the park and he sees the body and returns to his apartment and the pictures are gone.  The only one left is the blurry picture that could be a body.  The woman that comes over comments that it looks like one of the painter's abstract paintings, or his blurred reality of what he thinks has happened; now he's not quite sure if he knows what he saw is real.  Could what he saw just be a lie to himself; is he deceiving himself?

So he has to find his friend to go with him to the body, for further proof that his subjective reality is the true reality; that what he saw is what is real; but his friend is too stoned to leave the party or just doesn't want to leave.

Also, the thing about the guitar neck that he discards, any significance in that?  Did he just find that he went through all that trouble to get it from the crowd just for a worthless object (like the propellar?).

And he goes back to the body, which isn't there anymore and he wanders away, and watches the mimes playing tennis.  He goes to pick up their imaginary tennis ball.  Is he accepting their reality, whatever it may be?  Or does he realize that reality is up to interpretation and that these mimes are having fun with the whole idea, as should he.  And then, he dissapears.  hmm....

One final note, I know this has been a long post, but; some of the editing in this film was odd.  Such as the part when he goes back for the body the second time (I think....) and he looks up at the leaves blowing in the wind and then it cuts to the leaves, but when the camera goes down, it's on the photographer; like we weren't looking at his perspective at all, which would be assumed.  Plus, some of the shots at the beginning where he's photographing the couple in the park; some of the shots don't add up, did anyone else notice this?

Please, give me a pity reply, as it's getting lonely in this thread after posting three times in a row...


In the trailer, the voice over says, "Sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all."


I saw Blow-Up a month ago.


i actually rented Blow Up yesterday. i listened to the commentary today. the commentarist (i guess this is a word) suggested some of the odd editing was done by Antonioni to note his presence. just like the photographer took pictures and constructed a reality from them, Antonioni does this as a director.
Title: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SiliasRuby on June 03, 2005, 02:50:22 AM
I watched L'Eclisse tonight. God, what an intensely emotional film, s. I watched L'Avventura a while back for the second time and I have changed my view in that I'm getting much more out of it. So, I might buy them both. Samsong wasn't playing when he was giving high props to L'Eclisse. Anyway, ya  :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: rustinglass on November 06, 2005, 05:30:42 AM
this week i saw "Il Mistero di Oberwald". I loved all the video experiments he does with the colours and everything, it's a very beautiful film, but it was too melodramatic, just too much. I liked Blow-up more.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: life_boy on November 06, 2005, 08:18:13 AM
I'm really looking forward to the theatrical run (and eventual DVD release) of The Passenger.  It has been one of those films I just can't get a hold of for anything.  How do people feel about this film?
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on November 06, 2005, 03:15:05 PM
I'm really looking forward to the theatrical run (and eventual DVD release) of The Passenger.  It has been one of those films I just can't get a hold of for anything.  How do people feel about this film?

To many, it is a great film. For many Antonioni enthusiasts though, it marks a descent in Antonioni's career as he explored genre more. I've never seen it. It is one of the few films I'll almost do anything to watch on a decent print. Good chance the DVD will go Criterion. Nicholson owns the rights and has already recorded a commentary of sorts for Criterion's release of L'Avventura.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: JG on November 06, 2005, 04:17:13 PM
I saw a bunch of signs for that movie yesterday.  Is there going to be a reprint shown in theaters?
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on November 06, 2005, 04:50:38 PM
I saw a bunch of signs for that movie yesterday.  Is there going to be a reprint shown in theaters?

Yep. Release limited this year.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: MacGuffin on November 06, 2005, 07:24:41 PM
I saw a bunch of signs for that movie yesterday.  Is there going to be a reprint shown in theaters?

(http://us.movies1.yimg.com/movies.yahoo.com/images/hv/photo/movie_pix/sony_pictures_classics/the_passenger__professione__reporter_/_group_photos/jack_nicholson7.jpg)

Trailer here. (http://www.sonypictures.com/classics/syndication/trailers/thepassenger/ThePassenger_trlr_300.mov)
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SoNowThen on November 07, 2005, 02:15:22 AM
Schneider?!!!! I had no idea she was in this. Cool. You can always use more petite, busty French girls. In movies, in life... throw a few around the living room, brightens up the day.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on November 07, 2005, 02:17:05 AM
Schneider?!!!! I had no idea she was in this. Cool. You can always use more petite, busty French girls. In movies, in life... throw a few around the living room, brightens up the day.

God, you better be happy Thrindle doesn't really dig through all the forums. Made me laugh though.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: SiliasRuby on November 07, 2005, 05:49:57 AM
Oh Hell ya. That movie looks and sounds just fabulous can't wait to see it.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: A Matter Of Chance on November 07, 2005, 02:20:43 PM
The mother of one of my good friends owns this movie on VHS and I saw it a few years ago. It's really, really, really good, I, personally, liked it more than Blow-Up. This news makes me very happy.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on July 22, 2006, 03:47:45 PM
[For Edison - Spoilers!]
When I was writing my small review of Cache, I was acknowledging Antonioni and I forgot I never addressed my views on The Passenger. The Passenger is a glimpse of Antonioni past his prime.

Blow Up began his downfall because he left Italy and lost the personal touch that defined his work. While Blow Up embraced genre, it had redeeming qualities. The filmic eye that made Antonioni unique was still on display in major ways. Though scenery no longer interacted with story like in a painting, as the case was with L'Avventura, Blow Up was graced with a vision that was only capable from Antonioni. Antonioni was still leaps and bounds beyond filmmakers like Jean Pierre Meville. The major problem of The Passenger is that he loses his great filmic eye. Antonioni embraces hand held camera work and new forms of picture distillation to acquire a documentary look, but all those elements are used to make a film that feels like anyone could have made. Only the final scene where Nicholson is killed in the hotel room is a return to greatness for Antonioni.

I think the major problem with the film is how much it relies on dialogue and story. Other visual filmmakers like Robert Bresson faced problems with dialogue and story in their later works. Lancelot of the Lake is a a terrible film because Bresson wasn't able to find a technically sound idea to sustain the length of the film. The film is the fable of Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table. Like other Bresson films, the dialogue is flat and the actors are models within a visual experiment. The problem is that the only thing the film does to distinguish itself is playing with the editing and sound in re-telling a generic story. The film is classroom folly that is only interesting for technicians instead of an actual audience. The technicians notice the structural barriers being broke in classical storytelling. The audience notices the mundane story and the disruptive sound and editing techniques. Bresson isn't able to translate Lancelot of the Lake into a wortwhile experience. Pickpocket is a brutal film technically to watch, but a successful rendering of realism that still holds up to this day.

Antonioni has as much interest in actors and story as Bresson does. The problem is that Antonioni attempts nothing daring with the visuals. We're left wishing the story had more coherence and depth and that Jack Nicholson has a larger motivation to bring something to the table instead of an actor just well aware of the Antonioni model of the past. The model doesn't hold up here for acting because Antonioni brought nothing to the table.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: edison on July 22, 2006, 09:48:13 PM
You may want to add a spoiler warning to your critique.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Pubrick on October 23, 2006, 08:05:54 AM
in the middle of exams. great.

(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y154/pubrick/emoticons/teach.gif)
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: children with angels on July 31, 2007, 07:19:35 AM
Okay, now this is just getting eerie and very, very sad...

Blow-Up director Antonioni dies 
Source: BBC
 
Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni, renowned for his 1966 release Blow-Up, has died aged 94.
He gained two Oscar nominations for the iconic release, and was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his life's work in 1995.

He was also nominated for the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d'Or, five times between 1960 and 1982.

The director died peacefully at home on Monday night, his wife, actress Enrica Fico, told La Repubblica newspaper.

Richard Mowe, a film writer and co-director of the Italian Film Festival UK, said Antonioni made productions "that were out of the conventional modes of expression".

  It's the last link with the great days of European art cinema

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith
Antonioni author
"He invented his own language of cinema - that's what made him very, very inventive," he said. "He didn't owe anything to anybody else. He was a total original."

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, the author of a book on Antonioni's film L'Avventura (The Adventure), described his works as being productions that "invite you to concentrate on them, like great music".

"It's extraordinary that he should die within a day of Ingmar Bergman - that's two greats in two days," said Mr Nowell-Smith, who also curated a season of his work at London's BFI Southbank.

 
Antonioni was married to Enrica Fico
"It's the last link with the great days of European art cinema."

Film critic Kim Newman paid tribute to the director, calling him an "important and fascinating film-maker".

Newman said Antonioni's best films were all concerned with "how awful Italian post-war society is, and how trivial and superficial everybody has become".

"But the films are so beautiful and the people in them are so gorgeous, you can't but feel, well, it would be really great to be alienated, lovelorn and miserable like that."

Fans will be able to pay their respects when Antonioni's body lies in state in the Sala della Protomoteca at Rome's city hall, the Campidoglio, on Wednesday morning.

The funeral will then take place in the director's home town of Ferrara, north-eastern Italy, on Thursday.

Antonioni was born in Ferrara in 1912 and released his debut feature, Story of A Love Affair, at the age of 38.

 
Blow-Up starred Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings
But he did not achieve international recognition until the mystery L'Avventura 10 years later in 1960.

In 1966, he signed a deal to make a trilogy of films for the English market with legendary Italian film producer Carlo Ponti.

The first was Blow-Up, in which a photographer appears to have uncovered a murder in his photos.

Shot in London, and starring David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave, it was his biggest international hit.

Antonioni captured the "flower power" era in 1970, filming Zabriskie Point in California, while Hollywood actor Jack Nicholson starred as a journalist in 1974 in Professione: Reporter (The Passenger).

In 1985, the director suffered a stroke that left him partially paralysed, but he continued to work behind the camera. "Filming for me is living," he said.

His last cinematic release was 2004's The Dangerous Thread of Things, one part of a trilogy of short films released under the title Eros.
 
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Just Withnail on July 31, 2007, 08:34:41 AM
Few have made a contribution to film that equals [Bergman's]

...but Antonioni was one of them.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: grand theft sparrow on July 31, 2007, 09:09:26 AM
I'm afraid to even say this but Godard had better take his vitamins and rest up this week.

And just to be on the safe side, can we please rename this thread (http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=386.0)?
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: A Matter Of Chance on July 31, 2007, 09:16:35 AM
I think this is really terrible. Despite his age and partial paralysis, like GT said about Bergman, it was good to know he was alive. Antonioni, Bergman and later Godard were the first to get me thinking sergiously about pictures. Sometimes I even feel like they taught me what I know about American cinema, too.

I am usually torn between Bergman and Antonioni. Bergman, to his credit, is void of a particular kind of romanticism that makes Antonioni so appealing, but I clearly see Antonioni is more interesting to me thematically, not to mention visually. I think L'Avventura, La Notte, L'Eclisse and Il Deserto Rosso is probably the best sequence of films made by a director other than maybe John Ford. A few years ago a teacher of mine gave me a book by him, 'That Bowling Alley on the Tiber', which is a collection of film ideas and little bits and pieces of his thoughts. It's sparse but nice.

Anyhow, there's no reason for me to choose right now. Their contributions are both nigh innumerable.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: The Red Vine on July 31, 2007, 09:36:13 AM
We all knew this was gonna happen sooner or later. I just didn't expect it to be back to back. Antonioni meant a lot to me, my favorite of his maybe being The Passenger. Bergman has done so many masterworks I can't even begin to name them all. But I grew up with Cries and Whispers.

They both did incredible, groundbreaking work while they were here and I'm grateful for them.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Pubrick on July 31, 2007, 10:47:05 AM
it's no kubrick.

but damn it's close.

94 is a grand old age, i always thought of Identification of a Woman as his swan song anyway.. all the subsequent shorts notwithstanding.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Fernando on July 31, 2007, 11:12:11 AM
it's no kubrick.

but damn it's close.

94 is a grand old age, i always thought of Identification of a Woman as his swan song anyway.. all the subsequent shorts notwithstanding.

I think the main difference between the passing of SK vs. Antonioni and Bergman is that with Kubrick it felt so untimely because he had so much more to give (even if it was only one more flim) and let's be honest, because of the huge gaps between his films everytime SK did one felt like such a grand event, it is beside the point who you think was better, these three filmmakers are regarded in the highest level.


As for Antonioni, I've only seen Blow Up and L' Avventura and the latter is one of the best films I've seen, truly a work of art; which other films of his would you ppl recommend?
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: RegularKarate on July 31, 2007, 11:50:08 AM
Totally crazy... on the same day.

What if Wes Craven and Brian De Palma die next and on the same day?
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on July 31, 2007, 12:07:50 PM
What the fuck! This is creepy. Michelangelo Antonioni was well within proper age to pass on, but another film giant passes on. Unlike Bergman, Antonioni dominated film for mainly the 50s and 60s only. His films in the 70s weren't even close to his heights. Bergman was a master and while I don't think that highly of Wild Strawberries or The Seventh Seal, the breath of his accomplishments was always something to be amazed at.

What I would like is for Criterion to release his small releases late in life. He was always a working filmmaker and did smaller projects, but most of them will never see the light of day unless Criterion (or Eclipse) steps in.

Stanley Kubrick did pass on too early. He had one more film in him and I believe that would have been A.I. (Artificial Intellgience), but all deaths are a general sadness. 

For other quality Antonioni, I'd recommend L'Eclisse, La Notte and hope to god that Red Desert sees the light of day sometime.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: MacGuffin on August 02, 2007, 12:44:01 PM
Film maker Antonioni buried in home town

Italian film maker Michelangelo Antonioni was buried at a quiet ceremony in his beloved home town of Ferrara on Thursday, with fellow director Wim Wenders among those who turned out to pay tribute.

Antonioni, known for films like the Oscar-nominated "Blowup" and "L'Avventura," was laid to rest after a ceremony at St. George's Basilica -- the church he was baptised in 94 years ago -- with more family than stars in attendance.

"It is difficult to sum up what the 'Maestro' has left," said Wenders, who co-directed "Al di la delle nuvole" (Beyond the Clouds) with the Italian film maker in 1995. "He certainly created a new image of man in the 20th century."

Antonioni died on Monday after a career spanning six decades. He won an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1995.

His deliberately slow-moving and oblique movies were not always popular hits but he was hailed as a founding father of European avant-garde cinema for his portrayals of modern angst and alienation.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on August 04, 2007, 04:11:52 PM
i'm just now seeing this. i was reading up on Kubrick on imdb and thought someone had mixed Bergman and Antonioni up sinced they're both highly regarded directors in film.

i saw articles in the local paper on Bergman - i guess this is because Woody Allen championed him (he is quoted in every article i've read about Bergman's passing) - but none on Antonioni.

i've seen 3 Antonioni films, as opposed to 2 of Bergman's, and Antonioni's work seems to resonate a lot more with me for whatever reason. i definitely need to see more of both of them though.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: MacGuffin on August 06, 2007, 11:00:42 AM
Goodbye Maestro
A poem for Michelangelo Antonioni by his friend and collaborator Wim Wenders
Source: The Guardian


As sad as I was to learn

that you are gone,

as happy I was to hear

that you went in peace,

the way you wanted to,

conscious and clear.

Awareness and clarity,

perception and rigour

were your strengths,

and you relied on them

all through your life

and up to your death.

Modernity for you

was not a fleeting trend

but to fully seize

contemporary life

while anticipating

its possible futures.

I am proud

that I had the privilege

to meet you,

and that I was allowed to see

your mind and your eyes

at work.

You left us a treasure:

your writing, your painting

and your way of looking

that all condensed into

the timeless architecture

of your films.

Your experiences

that you shared with us

have shed a lasting light

on ours,

not just in cinema.

Grazie, Michelangelo.

Wim Wenders,

Sicily, July 31 2007
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: MacGuffin on August 14, 2007, 10:26:21 AM
The Man Who Set Film Free
By MARTIN SCORSESE; New York Times

NINETEEN-SIXTY-ONE ... a long time ago. Almost 50 years. But the sensation of seeing “L’Avventura” for the first time is still with me, as if it had been yesterday.

Where did I see it? Was it at the Art Theater on Eighth Street? Or was it the Beekman? I don’t remember, but I do remember the charge that ran through me the first time I heard that opening musical theme — ominous, staccato, plucked out on strings, so simple, so stark, like the horns that announce the next tercio during a bullfight. And then, the movie. A Mediterranean cruise, bright sunshine, in black and white widescreen images unlike anything I’d ever seen — so precisely composed, accentuating and expressing ... what? A very strange type of discomfort. The characters were rich, beautiful in one way but, you might say, spiritually ugly. Who were they to me? Who would I be to them?

They arrived on an island. They split up, spread out, sunned themselves, bickered. And then, suddenly, the woman played by Lea Massari, who seemed to be the heroine, disappeared. From the lives of her fellow characters, and from the movie itself. Another great director did almost exactly the same thing around that time, in a very different kind of movie. But while Hitchcock showed us what happened to Janet Leigh in “Psycho,” Michelangelo Antonioni never explained what had happened to Massari’s Anna. Had she drowned? Had she fallen on the rocks? Had she escaped from her friends and begun a new life? We never found out.

Instead the film’s attention shifted to Anna’s friend Claudia, played by Monica Vitti, and her boyfriend Sandro, played by Gabriele Ferzetti. They started to search for Anna, and the picture seemed to become a kind of detective story. But right away our attention was drawn away from the mechanics of the search, by the camera and the way it moved. You never knew where it was going to go, who or what it was going to follow. In the same way the attentions of the characters drifted: toward the light, the heat, the sense of place. And then toward one another.

So it became a love story. But that dissolved too. Antonioni made us aware of something quite strange and uncomfortable, something that had never been seen in movies. His characters floated through life, from impulse to impulse, and everything was eventually revealed as a pretext: the search was a pretext for being together, and being together was another kind of pretext, something that shaped their lives and gave them a kind of meaning.

The more I saw “L’Avventura” — and I went back many times — the more I realized that Antonioni’s visual language was keeping us focused on the rhythm of the world: the visual rhythms of light and dark, of architectural forms, of people positioned as figures in a landscape that always seemed terrifyingly vast. And there was also the tempo, which seemed to be in sync with the rhythm of time, moving slowly, inexorably, allowing what I eventually realized were the emotional shortcomings of the characters — Sandro’s frustration, Claudia’s self-deprecation — quietly to overwhelm them and push them into another “adventure,” and then another and another. Just like that opening theme, which kept climaxing and dissipating, climaxing and dissipating. Endlessly.

Where almost every other movie I’d seen wound things up, “L’Avventura” wound them down. The characters lacked either the will or the capacity for real self-awareness. They only had what passed for self-awareness, cloaking a flightiness and lethargy that was both childish and very real. And in the final scene, so desolate, so eloquent, one of the most haunting passages in all of cinema, Antonioni realized something extraordinary: the pain of simply being alive. And the mystery.

“L’Avventura” gave me one of the most profound shocks I’ve ever had at the movies, greater even than “Breathless” or “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” (made by two other modern masters, Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, both of them still alive and working). Or “La Dolce Vita.” At the time there were two camps, the people who liked the Fellini film and the ones who liked “L’Avventura.” I knew I was firmly on Antonioni’s side of the line, but if you’d asked me at the time, I’m not sure I would have been able to explain why. I loved Fellini’s pictures and I admired “La Dolce Vita,” but I was challenged by “L’Avventura.” Fellini’s film moved me and entertained me, but Antonioni’s film changed my perception of cinema, and the world around me, and made both seem limitless. (It was two years later when I caught up with Fellini again, and had the same kind of epiphany with “8 ½.”)

The people Antonioni was dealing with, quite similar to the people in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels (of which I later discovered that Antonioni was very fond), were about as foreign to my own life as it was possible to be. But in the end that seemed unimportant. I was mesmerized by “L’Avventura” and by Antonioni’s subsequent films, and it was the fact that they were unresolved in any conventional sense that kept drawing me back. They posed mysteries — or rather the mystery, of who we are, what we are, to each other, to ourselves, to time. You could say that Antonioni was looking directly at the mysteries of the soul. That’s why I kept going back. I wanted to keep experiencing these pictures, wandering through them. I still do.

Antonioni seemed to open up new possibilities with every movie. The last seven minutes of “L’Eclisse,” the third film in a loose trilogy he began with “L’Avventura” (the middle film was “La Notte”), were even more terrifying and eloquent than the final moments of the earlier picture. Alain Delon and Ms. Vitti make a date to meet, and neither of them show up. We start to see things — the lines of a crosswalk, a piece of wood floating in a barrel — and we begin to realize that we’re seeing the places they’ve been, empty of their presence. Gradually Antonioni brings us face to face with time and space, nothing more, nothing less. And they stare right back at us. It was frightening, and it was freeing. The possibilities of cinema were suddenly limitless.

We all witnessed wonders in Antonioni’s films — those that came after, and the extraordinary work he did before “L’Avventura,” pictures like “La Signora Senza Camelie,” “Le Amiche,” “Il Grido” and “Cronaca di un Amore,” which I discovered later. So many marvels — the painted landscapes (literally painted, long before CGI) of “Red Desert” and “Blowup,” and the photographic detective story in that later film, which ultimately led further and further away from the truth; the mind-expanding ending of “Zabriskie Point,” so reviled when it came out, in which the heroine imagines an explosion that sends the detritus of the Western world cascading across the screen in super slow motion and vivid color (for me Antonioni and Godard were, among other things, truly great modern painters); and the remarkable last shot of “The Passenger,” where the camera moves slowly out the window and into a courtyard, away from the drama of Jack Nicholson’s character and into the greater drama of wind, heat, light, the world unfolding in time.

I crossed paths with Antonioni a number of times over the years. Once we spent Thanksgiving together, after a very difficult period in my life, and I did my best to tell him how much it meant to me to have him with us. Later, after he’d had a stroke and lost the power of speech, I tried to help him get his project “The Crew” off the ground — a wonderful script written with his frequent collaborator Mark Peploe, unlike anything else he’d ever done, and I’m sorry it never happened.

But it was his images that I knew, much better than the man himself. Images that continue to haunt me, inspire me. To expand my sense of what it is to be alive in the world.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: MacGuffin on August 15, 2007, 01:13:43 AM
Antonioni's museum shut
Personal archives in jeopardy
Source: Variety
 
Just two weeks after his death, helmer Michelangelo Antonioni's personal archives -- comprising several of his short films and thousands of photographs he took on set -- are in jeopardy due to plans to shutter the Antonioni museum in his native Ferrara, northern Italy.

The Antonioni museum closed a year ago for refurbishment but will not reopen due to lack of coin, according to a statement from Ferrara's mayor, Gaetano Sateriale, posted on the city's website on Monday.

"We can instead consider establishing a film museum in remembrance not just of Antonioni, but of many other directors who chose Ferrara as a movie location," Sateriale proposed. The surprise announcement. made so soon after Antonioni passed away -- on July 31 at age 94 -- angered the helmer's family and fans, as well as the Italian media. "Ferrara 'evicts' Antonioni" was the headline in La Repubblica.

The Antonioni archives were donated to the city in 1995, the year the helmer was honored with a lifetime achievement Oscar. The Antonioni museum opened the same year.

"The donation to the city of Ferrara is of great value," the director's niece, Elisabetta Antonioni, said on Tuesday, adding that the donation's terms stated clearly that the material be used for a museum dedicated "exclusively" to her uncle.

The archives, which are in storage, also include Antonioni drawings, his books on film, original posters of his features plus other memorabilia.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on September 02, 2007, 04:45:12 PM
Movie Gallery has a free movie weekend and surprisingly they had two copies of The Passenger DVD.

***SPOILERS***

After watching it I went to the IMDB board to read other's thoughts.
I totally missed the reflection in the window during the last shot.
I figured Antonioni was leaving it up in the air, but after rewatching the scene and focusing on the window reflection, it is definitely there.
Originally, with the wife's answer (which can be interpreted more than one way) I thought that maybe Jack's character was one of the ones leaving in the car.
The two sets of one black man/one white man also makes it very confusing.
I'm listening to Jack's commentary right now.

p.s. Am I the only one that think Maria Schneider looks like a teenage boy in the film? I read that she was in Last Tango (which I have not seen) but when she walks away there is absolutely no presence of hips.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 03, 2007, 06:47:10 AM
p.s. Am I the only one that think Maria Schneider looks like a teenage boy in the film? I read that she was in Last Tango (which I have not seen) but when she walks away there is absolutely no presence of hips.

When I went to see this, my girlfriend said the exact same thing when she saw her in some stills outside the theater: "...and who's the little kid?"
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on September 03, 2007, 10:19:32 PM
i'm wondering if she really knew English at the time and had not just learned the words (not knowing their meaning) because her conversations with Jack feel very awkward. her responses are fast and stacato, almost as if she needed to get them out before forgetting them almost.

listening to Jack's commentary and seeing the long take again - brilliant.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on September 03, 2007, 10:42:51 PM
As characterized by his films with Monica Vitti, it wasn't above Antonioni to cast a great beauty in the leading role instead of a great actress. In his own ways, Antonioni believed in need for cinematic language before he believed in getting quality acting. It was accepted in most corners of cinematic thought during the 1960s.

Maria Schneider was a beauty only in The Passenger and also in Last Tango in Paris. Her limitations are obvious. Most people forget to comment because it was accepted at the time.

The bigger concern about The Passenger is that has a similar theme to the one in L'Avventura and is considered an equal work to that film because both films have similar themes. I find that outragerous. Any professional filmmaker could have filmed the bulk of The Passenger. Only Antonioni in his prime could have created the structure and art in L'Avventua.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: w/o horse on September 04, 2007, 11:54:07 AM
October 10 and 11 at the New Beverly they're playing Il Grido and Zabriskie Point.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 04, 2007, 12:18:04 PM
The bigger concern about The Passenger is that has a similar theme to the one in L'Avventura and is considered an equal work to that film because both films have similar themes. I find that outragerous. Any professional filmmaker could have filmed the bulk of The Passenger. Only Antonioni in his prime could have created the structure and art in L'Avventua.

I can't really agree with that. Maybe L'Avventura is superior (love them both too much to choose one), but I don't really think anybody else could have made The Passenger, at least the way Antonioni did it - the same stuff, in the hands of another filmmaker would have been completely different. I mean, I can't even imagine anybody else making that movie at all. The pace, the shots... done by somebody else, it wouldn't have been the same movie, you know what I mean? It would have turned out to be something else; another movie. At least to me, there is no way any other filmmaker could have even made the movie.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on September 04, 2007, 12:31:43 PM
The bigger concern about The Passenger is that has a similar theme to the one in L'Avventura and is considered an equal work to that film because both films have similar themes. I find that outragerous. Any professional filmmaker could have filmed the bulk of The Passenger. Only Antonioni in his prime could have created the structure and art in L'Avventua.

I can't really agree with that. Maybe L'Avventura is superior (love them both too much to choose one), but I don't really think anybody else could have made The Passenger, at least the way Antonioni did it - the same stuff, in the hands of another filmmaker would have been completely different. I mean, I can't even imagine anybody else making that movie at all. The pace, the shots... done by somebody else, it wouldn't have been the same movie, you know what I mean? It would have turned out to be something else; another movie. At least to me, there is no way any other filmmaker could have even made the movie.

Professional filmmakers are suppose to have a handle in shooting adaquately and developing a good pacing. It isn't a great accomplishment. The major shot that is distinctely Antonioni-esque is the final scene where the camera pans across a road to see the characters lost in a foreign world. It is a masterful shot. Maybe the rest of the film couldn't be done by anybody, but it is Antonioni heading towards the generic of filmmaking.

The lack of artistry in the filmmaking makes the story also appear to me as ham. Antonioni was never a dramatist in a classical sense. The lack of a larger filmmaking scheme to help elevate the story makes the story here seem bare and open for criticism. The Passenger will be compared alongside other filmmakers like Bergman and others who know how to handle story and delve into it for depth. Antonioni doesn't make a film that is significant. The fact its obvious he has limited himself greatly makes the film look noticeable for only its shortcomings.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on September 04, 2007, 03:02:34 PM
Listening to the commentary with the screenplay writer, originally the film was written to be a thriller.
This was Antonioni's idea of a 'thriller.'

***spoiler***


I think Jack asked him why he went to the trouble of building a hotel (what Jack says) for the final shot - cause Antonioni didn't want to shoot a murder.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 04, 2007, 04:19:31 PM
Professional filmmakers are suppose to have a handle in shooting adaquately and developing a good pacing. It isn't a great accomplishment. The major shot that is distinctely Antonioni-esque is the final scene where the camera pans across a road to see the characters lost in a foreign world. It is a masterful shot. Maybe the rest of the film couldn't be done by anybody, but it is Antonioni heading towards the generic of filmmaking.

The lack of artistry in the filmmaking makes the story also appear to me as ham. Antonioni was never a dramatist in a classical sense. The lack of a larger filmmaking scheme to help elevate the story makes the story here seem bare and open for criticism. The Passenger will be compared alongside other filmmakers like Bergman and others who know how to handle story and delve into it for depth. Antonioni doesn't make a film that is significant. The fact its obvious he has limited himself greatly makes the film look noticeable for only its shortcomings.

Well, I just don't agree. There are some masterful shots at the desert, in Barcelona, etc that not only are absolutely gorgeous to look at, but also are astonishing while revealing the sense of isolation of its character in the world (pure Antonioni). This is a guy who just doesn't know how to exist, and just like Thomas in Blowup or Anna in L'Avventura or the pair in L'Eclisse, he disappears (in this case, he takes somebody else's identity and just keeps the rest of the movie trying to go, but unlike other Antonioni movies, he can't quite vanish because a woman keeps looking for him, and trying to make sure he doesn't go away). It's just one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, and I just don't see it lacking the goods that Antonioni usually provided.

This is a guy who, unlike Bergman, seems to get away from its characters (by compositions as much as by story) as much as he can, in order to try and give us a greater scheme of things and, truth be told, just like Bergman, he made me look at movies differently (mainly with Blowup) and even at life. That being said, I still can't believe these two masters have gone for good   :(
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 04, 2007, 04:20:27 PM
I think Jack asked him why he went to the trouble of building a hotel (what Jack says) for the final shot - cause Antonioni didn't want to shoot a murder.

Yeah, I remember that. It's just... beautiful.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: tpfkabi on September 04, 2007, 05:09:54 PM
if anyone has the dvd, que it up to 17:20 and look between Robertson's legs at his left thigh...surely an accident?
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Gold Trumpet on September 04, 2007, 05:47:47 PM
Geniuses: Some Notes

Stanley Kauffmann



They might have smiled. Averse as they were to plot mechanics in their work, they might have been amused at the blatant coincidence of their deaths on the same day. Or they might have been amused at those who believe it was planned by a cosmic trickster. In any case, July 30, 2007 is now a signal date in film history. Michelangelo Antonioni was ninety-four, Ingmar Bergman was eighty-nine.

Their work now moves into a different light. Almost all the art that is valuable to us is encased in history: it comes to us from the past, recent or remote. These two men, however, were contemporaries of ours: I even knew one of them a bit. Still, in a doubtlessly romantic view, any prosy connections between them and the present were jarring. In 1976, Bergman had severe publicized troubles with the Swedish government about taxes. In 1984, newspapers carried a photo of Antonioni standing guard with other directors at the coffin of an esteemed political figure. It was a faint shock to see the creators of the art that is part of my secrets involved in these daily doings.

But now their art moves into history. In Godard's Breathless the matter is well put. A novelist is asked his ambition. He says: "To become immortal and then to die." Exactly so here, twice.

 
 
 
 
The proximate deaths of Antonioni and Bergman prompt something that was rare during their lives: comparison with each other. One way to do this job is to compare their views of the theater and the relation of those views to their films.

No obituary of Bergman that I have seen has mentioned his film of The Magic Flute. Such a film would quite obviously have been impossible for Antonioni. Not only is The Magic Flute the best film ever made of an opera--modest distinction though that is--but it marries beautifully the main currents of Bergman's life. His theater career was even more prolific than his film work. (There are several books solely about his theater productions.) Bergman, in the Mozart piece, seemed to want to dramatize his twofold being. The opera is handled with innumerable theatrical and cinematic delicacies, and we are also taken backstage from time to time into the lives of the people who are making the marvel. Bergman seems to be fusing his several masteries before our eyes.

Here the use of those masteries is explicit, but it is present in all his work. The second time I saw Fanny and Alexander I was especially wonderstruck by the way he handled his actors' movement--not camera movement, at which he was a wizard, but the choreographing of actors as if they were on stage. His excellence with actors has a history. For many years he worked with a group of actors at various theaters during the season, then used some of them in films made during the sum- mer. He and they knew one another in coded but clear ways. In the very first sequence of Scenes From a Marriage, see how Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann move together into the screenplay like experienced dance partners into a pas de deux.

Antonioni, after some theater work during his university days, had small interest in the field. He did some theater directing, including the Italian premiere of Osborne's Look Back in Anger, but when I asked him once if he was interested in more theater work, he shook his head. "No," he said. "Always the same shot."

This complete immersion in cinema led him to achievements that were possible only in cinema. Think of Jeanne Moreau's long walk through the streets of Milan in La Notte, in which virtually nothing extraordinary happens but which, sheerly through selection and silence and concentration, becomes a kind of melancholy poem about inner loneliness in the modern world. Think of the long last sequence of Eclipse, which is only a series of street scenes in Rome with none of the actors, scenes that might have been places of rendezvous for the two lovers we have come to know but are now peopled only by passers-by. Subtly, we face the eventual passing of the lovers' affair, along with the shaky nature of truths about which we are hotly convinced at many moments in our lives. Neither of these two sequences, or plentiful others in Antonioni's work, would have been likely in Bergman.

Another means of comparison is in their differing views of time, views that are related to the theater. Excepting the Bergman films that were originally made for television and later condensed for the large screen, works thus born in different concepts of time, most of his pictures are tight, less than ninety minutes. Never is there any sense of imposed pace: only the theater's ethic that every moment must be utilized in character or dramatic development.

Antonioni, with no such imperative, wanted to employ time, real elapsed time, as a character, as a power that film gave him. The scene in L'Avventura in which two lovers kiss near the railway, really kiss for the first time, could conventionally have been condensed to half its length. Antonioni wanted us to breathe through the experience, to take something like the number of breaths that the lovers are taking in that scene (as they are in fact altering their lives), to feel its impact almost physically.

 

That fundamentally links Antonioni and Bergman, despite their differences, is a common theme: the question of God. Do we live in a godless universe? If this is so, how do we go about living? How do we make our choices? A generalization about these two artists is possible. For Bergman, the son of a clergyman who in a sense harassed him all his life, the question pressed constantly. For Antonioni, the question was answered early on, thoroughly, finally. Most of his films are about the result of this vacancy--the murkiness of compass points.

Bergman confronts the basic question intensely in a trilogy. Here are the titles, with his comments: "Through a Glass Darkly--certainty achieved. The Communicants--certainty unmasked. The Silence--God's silence--the negative impression." The centerpiece, known in America as Winter Light, is a drama about a clergyman whose faith is shaken but who is, so to speak, trapped in his religious office and continues in it doggedly, yet almost gratefully. Bergman once said of the film, "Everything became stations [of the cross] on the road for the priest."

Antonioni never deals extensively with religion in his films. (Elsewhere, in interviews and articles, he was explicit.) But his view of it underlies very much of his work, his sense that religion is a function of the past, now outworn. Look, for instance, at the stock-exchange scene in Eclipse. The building was originally an imperial basilica that had been converted into a Catholic church and then converted again into the Borsa. William Arrowsmith says: "Everything ... about the stock exchange in Antonioni's film tells us that the director is conscious of its religious nature." Its religious devolution, one might say.

Thus the past clings, or tries to cling, to us. But what of the present, asks Antonioni, even the future? Look at the last scene of L'Avventura. Sandro is a middle-aged man, successful, self-despising, who persuades a young woman, Claudia, to become his lover. She hesitates because his previous lover was a friend of hers who disappeared, possibly a suicide, only three days earlier. At last Claudia, not untroubled, consents. A day or so later she and Sandro stop in a luxe hotel. She is sleepy; he goes downstairs. In the early morning she goes to look for him and discovers him with a tart. Sobbing, she runs outside to a terrace, stands there against the railing. (In one shot a ruined church is in the background.) Surely she is not only shaken by his action but is very possibly linking it with her own action in becoming his lover so soon after her friend was gone. Sandro comes out behind her slowly and sits on a bench, his back toward her. She turns, approaches him. She sees that he is weeping, surely facing the void in himself. After a moment she puts a hand gently on the back of his head, and the film ends.

Her gesture is for me a terrifying moment. Claudia is not forgiving him: she doesn't have or want that power. She is acknowledging that Sandro, like her, is something of a victim--stranded in a hollow universe, left with only inutile shards of order. They are, in a profound sense, alone.

 

In 1979 Roland Barthes sent an open letter to Antonioni apropos of a retrospective of the director's work in Bologna. In my view the letter can be read as also addressed to Bergman. Barthes called Antonioni "not only in the realm of cinema--one of the artists of our time." He cited "the specters of modern subjectivity" that plague artists these days: "ideological lassitude, bad social conscience, the attraction to and distaste left by facile art, the trepidation of responsibility, and the incessant scruple that tears the artist apart, between solitude and gregariousness." He closed:


It is therefore necessary that you take full advantage of this peaceful, harmonious moment in which an entire assemblage comes to recognize, admire, and love your work. Because tomorrow the hard work begins again.

As it did, addressed by both Antonioni and Bergman, not only with their gifts but with their generally unremarked courage. What legacies they leave. Countless beneficiaries are yet to come.

Personal notes. I had an appointment to meet Bergman in Stockholm in the summer of 1964, but when I arrived, a colleague of his presented me with the director's apologies and the excuse that he had gone to his island to write a screenplay. I saw some other interesting film people in Stockholm; still I was, of course, disappointed. Two years later the film appeared for which--at least I told myself--Bergman had abandoned me. It was Persona, a sublime masterwork, so I forgave him.

I met and dined with Antonioni several times, in Rome and Venice and New York. From a cluster of Antonioni vignettes, here are two.

In 1966 I interviewed him for an hour and a half on PBS. Two years earlier in Rome he had promised to appear on television with me when he was next in New York--I was busy on the PBS station in those days--and when he arrived for the American premiere of Blowup, he kept his word. At the time he understood English but wasn't confident about speaking it; so a translator was there for his replies to my questions. After the taping he and I went back to the dressing room where we had been made up before the show. He picked up a towel, wiped his face, and was dismayed by the big red-brown smear. "Good heavens," he said. I laughed at the perfectly enunciated phrase in English coming from someone who had just needed ninety minutes of translation. He laughed, too, a little.

I saw him last in New York in 1992. He had come for the opening of a retrospective of his work despite the fact that in 1985 he had suffered a stroke that paralyzed his whole right side and left him speechless. (Yet he had continued, with assistants, to work.) When I arrived at the theater, I saw him in the lobby, with two or three people but not really listening to them. They went, and I walked up to him. His face warmed. He put out his left hand, and I grasped it in both of my hands. He made some sounds in his throat. After a moment, which was both long and short, I left.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: last days of gerry the elephant on September 14, 2007, 05:05:45 PM
I bought The Passenger to watch tonight and have already watched L'Eclisse last week.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: Mr. Merrill Lehrl on June 13, 2011, 05:01:13 PM
Towards the end of last year I went on a L'Avventura binge.  Probably all cinephiles know this type of binge:  I watched L'Avventura whenever I could.  Parts before I went to bed, parts when I woke up, and I watched the whole movie whenever I could, repeat, over and over for about a month.  Anyway, yesterday I opened a book and tucked inside it was a piece of paper with notes I had taken from a book of criticisms on L'Avventura.

I fell back in love, of course, which is what happens when you read old love letters.  May they do the same for you.

Quote
It is a picture of great, unsparing severity, of keen morality, because it is firmly grounded in today's humanity, not in gratuitous or literary abstraction.

Quote
L'Avventura...heavily influenced by existentialism...as a serious modus vivendi, a "belief that human beings can find a rationale, a morality, in the living of their lives, rather than huddling under a canopy of doctrine constructed to reassure."

Quote
That plight, [Antoniono] thought, is most acutely displayed in the affluent because only they have the time and leisure to be preoccupied by it.  As John Galbraith observes, "The poor man has always a precise view of his problem and its remedy:  he hasn't enough and he needs more.  The rich man can assume or imagine a much greater variety of ills and he will be correspondingly less certain of their remedy."

(Italo Calvino for sure:)
Quote
The theme of L'Avventura is the faculty of people to choose and determine their own behavior, out of the chaos of casual gestures, instincts, careless or contradictory words...the spectators are forced to make the same efforts and judgments they normally do, or ought to do, when confronted by reality.
Title: Re: Michelangelo Antonioni
Post by: wilder on May 25, 2013, 03:40:52 PM
Dear Antonioni (1997), a documentary portrait of the director, from the British TV series "Arena".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1JmIStA7dQ