Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le Amiche opens with an aerial shot of Turin, Italy that, in the moment, could easily be mistaken as simply a cheery, picturesque backdrop for the credits sequence. Retroactively, though, the image proves deceptive and even misleading in its suggestion of peace and tranquility. Antonioni’s 1955 film interrogates the detrimental socio-economic dimensions of modernity in Turin by moving an assortment of characters through confrontations and conversations in drawing rooms and cafés, and outside on beaches and in alleyways, so that a character’s elation or devastation must be understood in relation to the place where it occurs. Le Amiche is filled with characters asking one another “why” something is happening, but for the director, “where” is always the most optimal question. Continue reading
IMDB quote 1: Three stories of well-off youths who commit murders. In the French episode a group of high school students kill one of their colleagues for his money. In the Italian episode a university student is involved in smuggling cigarettes. In the English episode a lazy poet finds the body of a woman on the downs, and tries to sell his story to the press.
IMDB quote2: This was Antonioni’s third film and arguably his rarest from the pre-AVVENTURA period. Taking an episodic structure, it is a sober treatment of juvenile delinquency – showing a widespread alienation affecting the youth of the post-war years in various European cities. The film has a rough, torn-from-the-headlines feel to it – even if the director’s perspective isn’t nearly as acute as in his later, more polished work (tending also towards preachiness, beginning from the opening montage). Continue reading
A frustrated war correspondent, unable to find the war he’s been asked to cover, takes the risky path of co-opting the I.D. of a dead arms dealer acquaintance.
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Leaving her lover of four years, Vittoria starts an affair with a stockbroker. But as the film progresses, her emptiness becomes more obvious, echoed in the buildings and the landscape, and she finally decides on a life of solitude rather than marriage or a failing relationship. Completing what is now seen as a trilogy of films on alienation after The Adventure and The Night, The Eclipse paints a picture of how modern industrial society can obliterate the emotions between men and women. Antonioni uses his symbols boldly: the final shots – 52 of them – hauntingly reflect a city empty of life. Continue reading
Michelangelo Antonioni’s Identification of a Woman is a body- and soul-baring voyage into one man’s artistic and erotic consciousness. After his wife leaves him, a film director finds himself drawn into affairs with two enigmatic women: at the same time, he searches for the right subject and actress for his next film. This spellbinding antiromance was a late-career coup for the legendary Italian filmmaker, and is renowned for its sexual explicitness and an extended scene on a fog-enshrouded highway that stands with the director’s greatest set pieces (-Criterion) Continue reading
Clara Manni (Lucia Bosé, so good in Antonioni’s A Story of a Love Affair), a Milan shop girl, is discovered on the street and used for a bit part in a movie. That single part brings her immediate celebrity, and with the coaxing of her producer, Gianni, she becomes a screen sex symbol. She has great success in several sex comedy vehicles, but Gianni decides to push her into the world of the art film in order to attain artistic legitimacy and respect. She never wishes for this, since money is never an issue to her, but she is pushed head first into a production of Joan of Arc. The film is brutally attacked by the critics, and Clara’s dignity and identity are thrown into question in the harrowing final shot. Continue reading
short documentary on the production of rayon, shot in Torviscosa (Italy). It portrays the production of this new synthetic fabric in the small town of Torviscosa, entirely built following strict fascist canons. Continue reading