Michelangelo Antonioni – La notte (1961)

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Quote:
One of the masterworks of 1960s cinema, La notte [The Night] marked yet another development in the continuous stylistic evolution of its director, Michelangelo Antonioni — even as it solidified his reputation as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. La notte is Antonioni’s “Twilight of the Gods”, but composed in cinematic terms. Examined from a crane-shot, it’s a sprawling study of Italy’s upper middle-class; seen in close-up, it’s an x-ray of modern man’s psychic desolation. Two of the giants of film-acting come together as a married couple living in crisis: Marcello Mastroianni (La dolce vita, 8 1/2) and Jeanne Moreau (Jules et Jim, Bay of Angels). He is a renowned author and “public intellectual”; she is “the wife”. Over the course of one day and the night into which it inevitably bleeds, the pair will come to re-examine their emotional bonds, and grapple with the question of whether love and communication are even possible in a world built out of profligate idylls and sexual hysteria. Continue reading

Michelangelo Antonioni – Il Mistero di Oberwald aka The Oberwald Mystery (1981)

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The Passenger (1975) marked the end of Antonioni’s three picture deal with MGM, and simultaneously the end of his mainstream acceptance. Although revered now as one of his finest works, The Passenger had lukewarm reception at best, with most of the American critics still bitter of Antonioni’s caricaturing of American capitalism in Zabriskie Point (1969). Since those two films had been costly flops, Antonioni found himself unable to secure investors for the arthouse pictures he’d become known for. Five years past, and still not a film, until finally Antonioni settled on The Oberwald Mystery. Continue reading

Michelangelo Antonioni – Gente del Po AKA People of the Po Valley (1947)

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“Paste Magazine” wrote:
by Sean Gandert

“Gente del Po” is very much a neo-realist work of its period, even though it’s completely a documentary rather than just having the trappings of reality. The film follows a family of fishers through their day-to-day life, inflecting a semblance of narrative onto things at the end by explaining a journey into town as a trip for medicine, but for the most part, the film is simply descriptive. Of course, Antonioni has never been particularly known for his narratives, which usually consist of little more than pretty young people angsting around, but here the difference is that the family doesn’t even approach characterization, described only as “a man, a woman, and a girl.” Continue reading