Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) is no more...

 Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) is no more...

Thus Spake Antonioni:
"I am not a theoretician of the cinema. If you ask me what directing is, the first answer that comes into my head is: I don't know. The second: All my opinions on the subject are in my films."

"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. "

"When I am shooting a film I never think of how I want to shoot something; I simply shoot it

As if the news of Ingmar Bergman's death wasn't tragedy enough for one day we  came to know that another giant of world cinema - Michelangelo Antonioni-   also died the same day.

There is a reference to Antonioni in Kundan Shah's Hindi film Jaane Bhi Do Yaro  (1983, starring Naseeruddin Shah,  Ravi Baswani, Satish Shah, Om Puri and Neena Gupta) - the park where the duo discover the corrupt Municipal Commissioner D'Mello's dead body is named Antonioni Park. In Blowup (1966) - Antonioni's first English Language film - we have a fashion photographer who believes that the photograph of lovers that he took in a park also shows a murder being committed. In Jaane Bhi Do Yaro Kundan Shah salutes Antonioni by using the same idea. Incidentally, Blowup was the first British film which displayed full frontal female nudity.

The master of film aesthetics Antonioni was famous for his trilogy - L'Avventura (1960),  La Notte (1961), L'eclisse (1962). This trilogy deals with man's alientation in the modern machine dominated age.
Monica Vitti in L'Avventura (1960). This film received many brickbats in the form of boos, catcalls and walkouts at the Cannes film festival. In 1961 the magazine Sight and Sound conducted a poll and declared this to be the second best film of all time after Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.

Antonioni had said "In Blow-up I used my head instinctively!"

Beyond The Clouds (1995). Directed from a wheelchair after suffering a stroke with the help of director Wim Wenders. According to The Guardian this is "a serious, stately meditation on the meaning of life ... and the beauty of naked women."

From L'Avventura,1960 (4:31)

 From Blowup, 1966 (3:15)
 "You are right to say that Blow-up is my most unorthodox film, but it is unorthodox in montage, as well as photography. "

"In Blow-up I used my head instinctively!"

From Zabriski Point (6:40) which had music by Pink Floyd, The Who and The Rolling Stones

Tributes and links:
Italian visionary Antonioni dies at 94 - Xan Brooks  and agencies (Guardian Unlimited, July 31)
Michelangelo Antonioni, 94, Italian Director, Dies - Rick Lyman (The New York Times, July 31 2007)

The languorous, achingly hip films of Michelangelo Antonioni by Dennis Lim (Slate July 31)

Article in TIME (Feb 19, 1965) on Antonioni's Red Desert.

Quotes by Michelangelo Antonioni


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