Michelangelo Antonioni

"Antonioni deploys a unique aesthetic and camera style to express the emotional barrenness of modern man in all his mature films. His characters communicate inadequately with each other, his narratives are almost plotless and the physical world is used to express alienation and psychological agony." - The Movie Book, 1999

Michelangelo Antonioni

Director / Screenwriter / Editor
(1912-2007) Born September 29, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Italy, France
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Ensemble Film, Marriage Drama, Documentary, Romantic Drama, Road Movie
Key Collaborators: Tonino Guerra (Screenwriter), Eraldo Da Roma (Editor), Giovanni Fusco (Composer), Monica Vitti (Leading Actress), Gianni Di Venanzo (Cinematographer), Pierro Poletto (Production Designer), Elio Bartolini (Screenwriter), Carlo Ponti (Producer), Carlo Di Palma (Cinematographer), Lucia Bose (Leading Actress), Gabriele Ferzetti (Leading Actor), Suso Cecchi d'Amico (Screenwriter)

"Antonioni’s significance as a director is likely to rest on his early films of the 1960s, although a rounded picture of his achievements requires attention to his documentary work and and his color experimentation in The Red Desert and The Mystery of Oberwald (1981)… Roland Barthes attested to Antonioni’s high standing in the world of cinema when he suggested that the filmmaker’s work stands as a challenge to all contemporary artists." - Tom Ryall (Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2006)
"Antonioni's films are almost plotless, their narrative vagueness almost bordering on mystery. Interest centers on the female, with the male functioning as a catalyst... His reputation rests mainly on his films of the early 60s, truly original works by one of the most remarkable creative artists of the postwar cinema." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"It was his association with the actress Monica Vitti in four films - L'Avventura, La notte, L'eclisse and The Red Desert - that brought his work to the attention of a wider international audience, with bleak, fragmentary pictures of characters drifting away from each other, and even from reality. His unique control of camerawork, often moving in long, slow, sometimes circular pans, stamped his work with a highly individual quality of emotional tension." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"At times, his cool, detached observations tend towards abstraction, reducing humans to objects; but in his best work, as in The Passenger, whose stunning, slowly advancing final seven-minute shot shows life in a Spanish village continuing while the reporter is killed off-screen, his bold masterly style transcends pictorial mannerisms to achieve a metaphysical resonance and rigour." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"One of the undoubted masters of the Italian cinema, Antonioni's uncanny visual sense was evident from his very first directing job, the black-and-white documentary The People of the Po Valley (1947). Everything counts in an Antonioni film, from the colour of a fur coat to the positioning of two alienated people on a bridge." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)
"When a scene is being shot, it is very difficult to know what one wants it to say, and even if one does know, there is always a difference between what one has in mind and the result on film." - Michelangelo Antonioni
"You know what I would like to do: make a film with actors standing in empty space so that the spectator would have to imagine the background of the characters." - Michelangelo Antonioni
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Story of a Love Affair (1950), Il Grido (1957) , L'Eclisse (1962)
Recommended
The Lady Without Camelias (1953), Le Amiche (1955), L'Avventura (1960) , La Notte (1961) , Red Desert (1964) , Blowup (1966)
Worth a Look
Zabriskie Point (1970) , Chung Kuo - Cina (1972), The Passenger (1975) , Identification of a Woman (1982)
Approach with Caution
Beyond the Clouds (1995), Michelangelo Eye to Eye (2004)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Red Desert
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