Michelangelo Antonioni, the Architect of Human Landscape

Even in the golden era of Italian and European film, Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) stands out as […] Read more

Even in the golden era of Italian and European film, Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) stands out as a poetic auteur of alienation and modernity, whose innovations in narratives and in vision challenged and changed film. Recognized as a master with the top awards at Cannes, Berlin and Venice, his works continue to speak powerfully both as individual films and as lifetime exploration about the ways film may embody art, philosophy and existential quests for an entire age.

Born into a cultured family of the Italian middle class, Antonioni moved towards film after graduating in economics, but his early career was overshadowed by war and the Resistance. After dabbling with neo-realism in the 1950s, he turned towards the middle-class as subject while continually deepening the questions he posed in psychological, cultural and filmic dimensions. In his probing analyses, Antonioni took charge of time, space – landscapes both natural and man-made, cavernous and intimate, become indelible elements in all of his films – and actors, especially in his relationship with Monica Vitti, who illuminated many of his key films. After his seminal trilogy that established his name and unmistakable style, however, Antonioni continued to grow, exploring color, new borders and languages (three striking films in English) and even new technologies at the end of his life, while he also traveled to China to face the complexities of yet another world.

This series concentrates on the arc of masterpieces that defined his unique status in world cinema from L’avventura (1960), which burst upon the European filmscape with a power that it still commands nearly six decades later, to his final solo feature, where relationships, alienation and enigmas haunt a successful director. The series offers a feast of ideas and masterful techniques in his famous long takes and loving exploration of land and people, his careful and creative use of music and silence, and the scenes – and spaces of emptiness – that will continue to haunt us long after the lights go out.

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