Michelangelo Antonioni. RIP.

Okay, now I’m totally depressed! :frowning:

Antonioni works was amazing. His Blow-Up was incredbile (the invention of the zoom lens allowed him to play around in a great way. The Passenger

And so close to Bergman’s death. It such a sad week for cinephiles.


Another master gone. Though nowhere as productive as Bergman, his greatest work (L’Eclisse, L’Avventura, The Passenger) stands up equally well to the best work the medium ever produced. Like Bergman, his films were often bleak, always challenging, and never made for mass consumption. And while Bergman dwelled greatly on Guilt, Antonioni was steeped in Alienation–from society, culture, feeling, and each other.

Blow-Up made him incredibly famous, and while it dates a bit in its “mod” sensibility, it’s still got stunning compositions and a fearlessness about its own opaqueness (plus an often underappreciated perverse sense of humor). Even films that don’t quite cut it (Red Desert, Zabriskie Point) have some indelible images and still contributed to adding complexity to cinematic language. His early stuff (Il Grido, The Lady without Camelias) is also worth checking out and is worthy of Sirk in its exploitation of melodramatic tropes to mine much deeper emotions and commentary.

He was also extremely sensitive to feminine strength and fragility, and his pairings with Monica Vitti stand with Griffith/Gish and Sternberg/Dietrich as one of the great director/actress pairings of all time. L’Eclisse remains my favorite of his and one of the landmarks of 60s cinema. If you’ve never seen it, hunt it down. Scorsese’s My Voyage to Italy has an excellent reading of the last 8 minutes of the film, which stand out as one of the great filmic setpieces ever constructed.

A remarkable talent and another legend that will be missed.

I don’t know his stuff, only his rep - I sought out clips from Blow Up because I am a Yardbirds fan…if you had to pick one film to see of his, what would it be?

But yeah, the timing vs. Bergman is an interesting coincidence…

Good night, sweet prince. You made the dullest films ever made and the way the intellectual film critics bent over backwards to suck your nihilistic cock was truly admirable. Will Sofia Coppola ever recover? I hope not.

Hmm. Probably Blow-Up just because of the slice of cutlure it captures and depicts on film, and because it’s got a good mystery to it. The zoom lens was invented around this time, so it’s interesting to see how he takes advantage of it. There is a scene where a very nervous Vanessa Redgrave is pacing ack and forth (left to right), trying to get the negatives of the shot he took. As she moves left, the camera zooms in, as she moves right the camera zooms out. It created a really stressful and dynamic visual style, that prior to that movie hadn’t been exploited much.

You’d have to be prepared for a very slow pace. I wouldn’t say his pace is as slow as a Jim Jarmush movie, but his films tend to be very subtle. L’avventura was a huge critically acclaimed flick. While enjoyable, Blow-Up is far more entertaining as a movie.

Damn, I missed the memo. This must be the month that Death comes to collect great European film makers. Who is next on the dead pool? I always meant to see L’Avventura but hadn’t gotten around to it; The Passenger, made back before Jack Nicholson became a self-parody (his best work along with Five Easy Pieces and Chinatown), is one of my favorites, and almost Graham Greene-type story of a journalist that stumbles into impersonating an international arms dealer, shot in languorous takes. If this were a Hollywood movie, or even an independant American one, it would be some kind of political thriller with a car chase and a shootout, and in fact there is one but scripted in the same slow moving, inevitable way of the rest of the story. and the final, extended take is unforgettable. I’m not a big fan of Blow-Up–there’s definitely an undercurrent of self-embarrassed humor there about Swinging London–but I don’t think it holds up quite as well.


I’ve read that he used to pretend it was groovy to sit in a movie and pretend he was Claude Hooper Bukowski, but I don’t have a cite.

Huh? Hitchcock used a zoom lens in Vertigo, eight years earlier and Wikipedia says that the zoom lens for film was invented in 1932.

Has any one seen Zabriskie Point? Ah, on preview, I see that Archive Guy has seen it. I’ve been hoping to see it as it is in the pantheon of weird movies with Pink Floyd sound tracks. Maybe it’ll make it to DVD now that Antonioni has died.

End of an era indeed. Reading the Guardian’s Bergman obit this evening, it was striking to see him bracketed with Antonioni, Kurosawa, Ray, Wilder and Visconti. All dead except for one at the time the paper went to press …
Not to everyone’s taste certainly, but surely anyone can be grateful to him for giving Monica Vitti to the world. And the penultimate (?) shot of The Passenger is one of the greatest extended tracking shots of them all.

I’m guessing Alain Resnais is mugging up on his chess openings.

Blow-Up is basically the Garden State of its era.

Expand, please.


I saw it back in college - around '71 or so. It’s very weird - doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the tail end, with a climax punctuated by Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” is one of the most intense cinematic expeirences I’ve ever had.

It’s worth seeing.

Well, Blow Up is going to be more useful to you if you are looking to add to your film literacy base. It’s one of those films that views like a parody of itself, because you’ve probably seen references to it in other films. When I see it, I have to remind myself that it seems goofy and cliche because it is what opened the doors, you know?

Personally, I think his best is L’Avventura. Visually, it is a masterpiece. Film has never looked so good. You could probably watch it with the sound off and enjoy it just as much. It’s one of those movies where every shot, every angle, everything is a perfect composition, carefully and deliberately crafted. It’s so Italian, so di moda, it’s a delight from start to finish. I should add the plot is rather beside the point, its strength is not in its pacing, that’s for sure.

And linked here is Ebert’s obituary for Antonioni.

I have, after reading about it in *The Fifty Worst Films Ever Made. *

You know that face that the corpses made after watching the video in The Ring? Yours will assume the same position if you attempt to watch Red Desert.

Blowup (yes that’s how the title is spelled, no hyphen) is something close to a perfect movie.

Strangely, Antonioni’s last recorded words were “Ingmar Bergman survives.”

This statement is cryptic enough to be entirely without meaning. Do you hate Garden State? Did it change your life? What’s the deal? In what bizarre way do you parallel the two movies to the extent that suggest they’re indistinguishable except for their respective dates?

Unless you clarify your statement, V, your post will mean 100 different things to 100 different readers: you’ve communicated nothing.


*Blowup *is a masterpiece, as is Zabriskie Point. Both are very much about their time, and neither shies away from a little perplexing surrealism, but they speak to me, personally, much more clearly than his earlier films, mentioned by ArchiveGuy. I love those movies, but they strike me as more academic. Wathing them is more like homework, for me, while watching *Blowup *or *ZP *is an immensely enjoyable, visceral experience.

Odd, but while imdb.com lists Blowup as one word, no hyphen, the movie poster shown on the page clearly reads Blow-Up. See here.