Discussion:
Michelangelo Antonioni - RIP (1912-2007)
(too old to reply)
Boaz
2007-07-31 16:27:22 UTC
Permalink
First Bergman, now Antonioni. Is it true these things happen in
threes? So who's next? :-(

Boaz
("Life goes on. It always does until it doesn't. But you know that,
don't you?")
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Blow-Up director Antonioni dies

Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni, renowned for his 1966
release Blow-Up, has died aged 94.

He gained two Oscar nominations for the iconic release, and was
awarded an honorary Academy Award for his life's work in 1995.

He was also nominated for the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival,
the Palme d'Or, five times between 1960 and 1982.

The director died peacefully at home on Monday night, his wife,
actress Enrica Fico, told La Repubblica newspaper.

Richard Mowe, a film writer and co-director of the Italian Film
Festival UK, said Antonioni made productions "that were out of the
conventional modes of expression".

"He invented his own language of cinema - that's what made him very,
very inventive," he said. "He didn't owe anything to anybody else. He
was a total original."

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, the author of a book on Antonioni's film
L'Avventura (The Adventure), described his works as being productions
that "invite you to concentrate on them, like great music".

"It's extraordinary that he should die within a day of Ingmar Bergman
- that's two greats in two days," said Mr Nowell-Smith, who also
curated a season of his work at London's BFI Southbank.


"It's the last link with the great days of European art cinema."
Film critic Kim Newman paid tribute to the director, calling him an
"important and fascinating film-maker".

Newman said Antonioni's best films were all concerned with "how awful
Italian post-war society is, and how trivial and superficial everybody
has become".

"But the films are so beautiful and the people in them are so
gorgeous, you can't but feel, well, it would be really great to be
alienated, lovelorn and miserable like that."

Fans will be able to pay their respects when Antonioni's body lies in
state in the Sala della Protomoteca at Rome's city hall, the
Campidoglio, on Wednesday morning.

The funeral will then take place in the director's home town of
Ferrara, north-eastern Italy, on Thursday.

Antonioni was born in Ferrara in 1912 and released his debut feature,
Story of A Love Affair, at the age of 38.

But he did not achieve international recognition until the mystery
L'Avventura 10 years later in 1960.
In 1966, he signed a deal to make a trilogy of films for the English
market with legendary Italian film producer Carlo Ponti.

The first was Blow-Up, in which a photographer appears to have
uncovered a murder in his photos.

Shot in London, and starring David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave, it
was his biggest international hit.

Antonioni captured the "flower power" era in 1970, filming Zabriskie
Point in California, while Hollywood actor Jack Nicholson starred as a
journalist in 1974 in Professione: Reporter (The Passenger).

In 1985, the director suffered a stroke that left him partially
paralysed, but he continued to work behind the camera. "Filming for me
is living," he said.

His last cinematic release was 2004's The Dangerous Thread of Things,
one part of a trilogy of short films released under the title Eros.
Gunther Gloop
2007-07-31 16:34:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
First Bergman, now Antonioni. Is it true these things happen in
threes? So who's next? :-(
Well, since we're comparing like with like there is probably only one left
as great as those two,
but _surely_ Brandon Hardesty still has a few years left in him? Say it
ain't so!!

-Kevin.
Mike Jackson
2007-07-31 17:14:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
First Bergman, now Antonioni. Is it true these things happen in
threes? So who's next? :-(
Michael Bay?

Come on, be honest. You wish you were reading his obit all the time.
--
"I believe in equality. Equality for everybody.
No matter how stupid they are or how superior I am to them."
-- Steve Martin
kelps
2007-07-31 18:52:58 UTC
Permalink
favorite Antonioni scene



dc
ichorwhip
2007-08-03 04:40:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by kelps
favorite Antonioni scene
http://youtu.be/jSJGEn4FDys
dc
I would have guessed something from "Zabriskie Point" coming from
you. Anyhow, it's an interesting scene in many respects. A few
trivials: Jeff Beck, known for a bad temper, actually obliterates his
guitar for once, which he rarely actually did, but it was staged that
way right? The amp buzzing and interrupting what could have been the
(un)usual, dreamy, "spacy and strange" Antonioni scene... or not,
Antonioni defies, simple as that. It looked like a typical ES 300
type Gibson in any event, which tells me it prolly wasn't Beck's. (I
read unverified that it actually belonged to Steve Howe of "The In
Crowd" at that time and later of "Yes") Damned shame! I never could
understand much the destruction of instruments a la Pete Townshend and
Jimi Hendrix, but it sure caught on. I could barely stand to see
Beck battering the Vox AC30 amp and stack as well. Never catch The
Beatles doing that! Oh me, the vintage gear is so sweet and so damned
expensive these days. Prolly because of shit like this. Anyways, it
occurred to me that Beck is in parallel to Antonioni artistically
speaking so it's fitting that Beck figures so prominently in prolly
Antonioni's greatest picture. Here's part of an interview I found
where Beck describes his style:

"Like few guitarists before him, Beck plays the entire guitar. Using
his fingers instead of a guitar pick for greater speed and control
over the fretboard, Beck adds deft twists of the volume and tone knobs
to shape the notes as he's playing them and further bends sounds into
a rubbery tangle with his controlled cruelty on the whammy bar. "I
play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest
sounds possible. That's the point now isn't it?" says Beck with a
wicked grin. "I don't care about the rules. In fact, if I don't break
the rules at least 10 times in every song then I'm not doing my job
properly."

Of courses breaking with conventions is one of the things Antonioni
was best known for and sometimes with stunning results. He'll be
missed but can never be forgotten.

(One last tidbit: Michael Palin appears briefly in the scene. I
didn't notice until I stumbled over some trivia on "Blow Up", but you
can clearly see him early in the scene standing behind the left
shoulder of the guy with glasses who's nearly spacing out on The
Yardbirds performance.)

"I'm a photographer."
i
"piop"
kelps
2007-08-03 09:35:32 UTC
Permalink
Sent my computer back to the company this morning for some additional liquid
cooling and lo and behold my old computer didn't have you plonked.
So lets see how long that lasts, sicne you are on a topic that I hold dear.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by kelps
favorite Antonioni scene
http://youtu.be/jSJGEn4FDys
dc
I would have guessed something from "Zabriskie Point" coming from
you.
I liked Zabriske Point "id give it a B-. It wasn't Blow Up. When it was
released I saw it a few times in a few days, and watched it on VHS years
later. One of those films I'd like to see again, but it felt empty to me.


Anyhow, it's an interesting scene in many respects. A few
Post by ichorwhip
trivials: Jeff Beck, known for a bad temper, actually obliterates his
guitar for once, which he rarely actually did, but it was staged that
way right? The amp buzzing and interrupting what could have been the
(un)usual, dreamy, "spacy and strange" Antonioni scene... or not,
The Who was Antonioni's first choice for the guitar breaking scene, but they
wouldn't or couldn't do it for some reason, so Antonioni asked the
Yardbirds. But then when they learned the script had Jeff smashing his
guitar they protested saying that was the Who's thing and they weren't into
breaking instruments, but they finally agreed to do it with a beat up guitar
provided. The Who and Yardbirds had had a long time rivalry going. I
believe Jeff had previously only smashed a guitar once in a fit. The next
issue was they were going to do "Train kept a Rollin'" which is how they
usually opened their show in those days, but then there was some
legal/monetary record label, fuss over that so, Keith rewrote the lyrics
quickly and turned it into "Stroll on." This is one of the few recordings
where Beck and Page appear together with the Yardbirds and Jimmy had really
been playing bass with them, since he replaced bassist Paul Samwell Smith
who had recently left the group. I saw this lineup at Catalina at the
Avalon Ballroom, in Aug '66 and Page was on bass. (my favorite concert
ever)
Post by ichorwhip
Antonioni defies, simple as that. It looked like a typical ES 300
type Gibson in any event, which tells me it prolly wasn't Beck's. (I
read unverified that it actually belonged to Steve Howe of "The In
Crowd" at that time and later of "Yes")
Actually Howe was with a group called "Tomorrow" that had recorded two songs
hoping to get them into the film Blow Up but they weren't included. I
wouldnt be surprised if it was Howes guitar, Jeff destroyed. I have never
checked to see if Howe is in that audience..


Damned shame! I never could
Post by ichorwhip
understand much the destruction of instruments a la Pete Townshend and
Jimi Hendrix, but it sure caught on. I could barely stand to see
Beck battering the Vox AC30 amp and stack as well. Never catch The
Beatles doing that! Oh me, the vintage gear is so sweet and so damned
expensive these days. Prolly because of shit like this.
I have a 52 Les Paul one of the first 50 (no serial number), and vintage
fender amps.


Anyways, it
Post by ichorwhip
occurred to me that Beck is in parallel to Antonioni artistically
speaking so it's fitting that Beck figures so prominently in prolly
Antonioni's greatest picture. Here's part of an interview I found
"Like few guitarists before him, Beck plays the entire guitar. Using
his fingers instead of a guitar pick for greater speed and control
over the fretboard, Beck adds deft twists of the volume and tone knobs
to shape the notes as he's playing them and further bends sounds into
a rubbery tangle with his controlled cruelty on the whammy bar. "I
play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest
sounds possible. That's the point now isn't it?" says Beck with a
wicked grin. "I don't care about the rules. In fact, if I don't break
the rules at least 10 times in every song then I'm not doing my job
properly."
Here's some personal trivia. I was in Hawaii in 1975 at a Buddhist
convention, where around 10,000 of us were and we had built a large
floating island off Waikiki for a world peace meeting. I was upstairs, in
the hotel overlooking the island, with a fellow Buddhist, we'll call him B,
who was a top guitar student of Joe Pass, (who played the Palomino Club in
North Hollywood nightly,) and I was trying to encouraging this exhausted
and despondent fellow, as we were going down in the elevator in a mad
dash-----to swim to the floating island, to take care of some urgent
need------that he should put more effort into his Buddhist practice and he
was saying how he wanted to be a guitar star----he was playing at the
convention ---and was somewhat new to buddhism, he would be on stage with
Herbie Hancock and his band (a strong Buddhist still today) and right on cue
as I was lecturing him about how wasted and lost, rock stars had
become----and after turning the corner from the elevator we nearly ran into
a totally and completely wasted, wavering, drunken Jeff Beck who could
barely stand up. I said "Hi Jeff, meet B, B meet Jeff". Jeff looked
like he was about to throw up and about to fall over. B was flabbergasted.
He had just played in Honolulu. I think that had scared B, he might have
thought I had set him up for that or that is was a mystic
coincidence--which it was----Jeff just burped and shook B's hand. Jeff was
never really into bad drugs, but this was the dark ages of rock in 1975,
when booze had made a comeback.

Jeff is god anyway. I saw his gigs at universal amphitheater and he was and
is still awesome and the best forever.
Post by ichorwhip
Of courses breaking with conventions is one of the things Antonioni
was best known for and sometimes with stunning results. He'll be
missed but can never be forgotten.
(One last tidbit: Michael Palin appears briefly in the scene. I
didn't notice until I stumbled over some trivia on "Blow Up", but you
can clearly see him early in the scene standing behind the left
shoulder of the guy with glasses who's nearly spacing out on The
Yardbirds performance.)
"I'm a photographer."
i
"piop"
Last time I saw Steve Howe was at a guitar center Hollywood, when he was
giving a little talk to a small group around 1999, had I known that might
be his guitar in Blow Up, I would have asked him.

The Yardbirds are still alive touring right now to rave reviews

audio file:
http://tinyurl.com/2ts8hz

And recently there has been a rumor of a new tour being planned with Page
and Beck together with them.



The rumor appeared a couple weeks ago but.......
http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003614906


dc
kelps
2007-08-03 09:43:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by ichorwhip
. Anyways, it
occurred to me that Beck is in parallel to Antonioni artistically
speaking so it's fitting that Beck figures so prominently in prolly
Antonioni's greatest picture.
And if Beck is Antonioni, Relf was SK.


dc
p***@yahoo.com
2007-07-31 19:14:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
First Bergman, now Antonioni. Is it true these things happen in
threes? So who's next? :-(
Honestly, I didn't know Antonioni was still alive...

I thought Godard would be next although he is only 77. He has not been
in good health for some time.

Gen
unknown
2007-08-01 06:41:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by Boaz
First Bergman, now Antonioni. Is it true these things happen in
threes? So who's next? :-(
Honestly, I didn't know Antonioni was still alive...
I thought Godard would be next although he is only 77. He has not been
in good health for some time.
Gen
Who is left from the Bergman/Antonioni/Fellini generation? Is Godard
the last one left?

Brian DePalma should have been next for the last 25 years.

G
Harry Bailey
2007-08-01 10:15:32 UTC
Permalink
Boaz
2007-08-02 04:07:56 UTC
Permalink
Harry Bailey
2007-08-02 22:37:02 UTC
Permalink
"He's done two masterpieces, you don't have to bother with the rest.
One is Blow-Up, which I've seen many times, and the other is La Notte,
also a wonderful film, although that's mostly because of the young
Jeanne Moreau. In my collection I have a copy of Il Grido, and damn
what a boring movie it is. So devilishly sad, I mean. You know,
Antonioni never really learned the trade. He concentrated on single
images, never realising that film is a rhythmic flow of images, a
movement. Sure, there are brilliant moments in his films. But I don't
feel anything for L'Avventura, for example. Only indifference. I never
understood why Antonioni was so incredibly applauded. And I thought
his muse Monica Vitti was a terrible actress."
Well, nil nisi bonum... even though in this case it is the dead now
speaking ill of the (now) dead. If there is an afterlife it will be
interesting to see how Antonioni's spirit will deal with this comment
from Bergman. If there is no afterlife, then it doesn't make any
difference, does it?
Perhaps a dead philosopher can help in that regard: taking a more
analytical perspective, here's Gilles Deleuze on Antonioni - and
Kubrick - from his influencial work, Cinema 2: The Time-Image:

Give me a brain' would be the other figure of modern cinema, [the
first figure is the body - Ed] This is an intellectual cinema, as
distinct from the physical cinema. Experimental cinema is shared
between these two areas: the physics of the body, everyday or
ceremonial; the formal or informal 'eidetics' of the spirit (to use
Bertetto's formulation). But experimental cinema develops the
distinction according to two processes, one concretive, the other
abstractive. The abstract and the concrete, however, are not the right
criteria, in a cinema which creates rather than experiments. We saw
that Eisenstein already laid claim to an intellectual or cerebral
cinema, which he considered to be more concrete than the physics of
bodies in Pudovkin, or physical formalism in Vertov. There is no less
of the concrete and abstract on the one side than on the other: there
is as much feeling or intensity, passion, in a cinema of the brain as
in a cinema of the body. Godard initiates a cinema of the body,
Resnais, a cinema of the brain, but one is not more abstract or more
concrete than the other. Body or brain is what cinema demands be given
to it, what it gives to itself, what it invents itself, to construct
its work according to two directions, each one of which is
simultaneously abstract and concrete. The distinction is thus not
between the concrete and the abstract (except in experimental cases
and, even there, it is fairly consistently confused). The intellectual
cinema of the brain and the physical cinema of the body will find the
source of their distinction elsewhere, a very variable source, whether
with authors who are attracted by one of the two poles, or with those
who compose with both of them.

Antonioni would be the perfect example of a double composition. The
unity of his work has often been sought in the established themes of
solitude and incommunicability, as characteristics of the poverty of
the modern world. Nevertheless, according to him, we walk at two very
different paces, one for the body, one for the brain. In a fine
passage, he explains that our knowledge does not hesitate to renew
itself, to confront great mutations, whilst our morality and feelings
remain prisoners of unadapted values of myths that no one believes any
more, and find only poor excuses - cynical, erotic, or neurotic - for
freeing themselves. Antonioni does not criticize the modern world, in
whose possibilities he profoundly 'believes': he criticizes the
coexistence in the world of a modern brain and a tired, worn-out,
neurotic body. So that his work, in a fundamental sense passes through
a dualism which corresponds to the two aspects of the time-image: a
cinema of the body, which puts all the weight of the past into the
body, all the tiredness of the world and modern neurosis; but also a
cinema of the brain, which reveals the creativity of the world, its
colours aroused by a new space-time, its powers multiplied by
artificial brains. If Antonioni is a great colourist, it is because he
has always believed in the colours of the world, in the possibility of
creating them, and of renewing all our cerebral knowledge. He is not
an author who moans about the impossibility of communicating in the
world. It is just that the world is painted in splendid colours, while
the bodies which people it are still insipid and colourless. The world
awaits its inhabitants, who are still lost in neurosis. But this is
one more reason to pay attention to the body, to scrutinize its
tiredness and neurosis, to take tints from it. The unity of
Antonioni's work is the confrontation of the body-character with his
weariness and his past, and of the brain-colour with all its future
potentialities, but the two making up one and the same world, ours,
its hopes and its despair.

Antonioni's formula is valid for him only, it is he who invents it.
Bodies are not destined for wearing out, any more than the brain is
destined for novelty. But what is important is the possibility of a
cinema of the brain which brings together all the powers, as much as
the cinema of the body equally brought them together as well: there
are, then, two different styles, where the difference itself is
constantly varying, cinema of the body in Godard and cinema of the
brain in Resnais, cinema of the body in Cassavetes and cinema of the
brain in Kubrick. There is as much thought in the body as there is
shock and violence in the brain. There is an equal amount of feeling
in both of them. The brain gives orders to the body which is just an
outgrowth of it, but the body also gives orders to the brain which is
just a part of it: in both cases, these will not he the same bodily
attitudes nor the same cerebral gest. Hence the specificity of a
cinema of the brain, in relation to that of the cinema of bodies. If
we look at Kubrick's work, we see the degree to which it is the brain
which is mise-en-scene. Attitudes of body achieve a maximum level of
violence, but they depend on the brain. For, in Kubrick, the world
itself is a brain, there is identity of brain and world, as in the
great circular and luminous table in Doctor Strangelove, the giant
computer in 2001 A Space Odyssey, the Overlook hotel in The Shining.
The black stone of 2001 presides over both cosmic states and cerebral
stages: it is the soul of the three bodies, earth, sun and moon, but
also the seed of the three brains, animal, human, machine. Kubrick is
renewing the theme of the initiatory journey because every journey in
the world is an exploration of the brain. The world-brain is A
Clockwork Orange, or again, a spherical game of chess where the
general can calculate his chances of promotion on the basis of the
relation between soldiers killed and positions captured (Paths of
Glory). But if the calculation fails, if the computer breaks down, it
is because the brain is no more reasonable a system than the world is
a rational one. The identity of world and brain, the automaton, does
not form a whole, but rather a limit, a membrane which puts an outside
and an inside in contact, makes them present to each other, confronts
them or makes them clash. The inside is psychology, the past,
involution, a whole psychology of depths which excavate the brain. The
outside is the cosmology of galaxies, the future, evolution, a whole
supernatural which makes the world explode. The two forces are forces
of death which embrace, are ultimately exchanged and become ultimately
indiscernible. The insane violence of Alex in Clockwork Orange is the
force of the outside before passing into the service of an insane
internal order. In Space Odyssey, the robot breaks down from the
inside, before being lobotomized by the astronaut who penetrates it
from the outside. And, in The Shining, how can we decide what comes
from the inside and what comes from the outside, the extra-sensory
perceptions or hallucinatory projections? The world-brain is strictly
inseparable from the forces of death which pierce the membrane in both
directions. Unless a reconciliation is carried out in another
dimension, a regeneration of the membrane which would pacify the
outside and the inside, and re-create a world-brain as a whole in the
harmony of the spheres. At the end of Space Odyssey, it is in
consequence of a fourth dimension that the sphere of the foetus and
the sphere of the earth have a chance of entering into a new,
incommensurable, unknown relation, which would convert death into a
new life.
Harry Bailey
2007-08-07 21:18:01 UTC
Permalink
Yes, but I was referring to deaths that occurr within a week or so of
each other.
I should imagine that such a morbid coincidence is likely to recur in
the near future, judging from the large number of directors who are
over sixty, as this list of some 250 such film-makers, recently
compiled, makes clear:



August 07, 2007

Who are the oldest living film directors?

WHILE REELING FROM THE WASH OF COMMENTARY AFTER THE DEATHS OF INGMAR
BERGMAN AND MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI ON THE SAME DAY, much of which
ventured who, beyond the prolific near-centenarian from Porto, might
be the oldest surviving world directors, it was striking to realize
how many persist at their craft even as they grow older. Other
patterns emerged: it's intriguing to consider the work of dissimilar
directors born in the same month or year. Is it meaningful in any way
that the director of Annie Hall and the director of Our Hitler were
born in the same week? Or that Carl Reiner and Alain Resnais are the
same age? (Abbas Kiarostami and Victor Erice collaborated on
"Correspondences," a beautiful book about their work and the age that
they share.)

Which led to this, rather than yet another rumination on the work of
the two men-a project for later, perhaps, after coming to grips with
Rivette's Out 1-a necessarily selective survey of over 250 directors
from around the world, all of whom are 60 or older, who have had
lasting impact or a moment that matters in one way or another.

Entries are listed by year of birth, date, their most recent project
completed or in production and its release date.

1908
Manoel de Oliveira, 11 December, The Singularities of Rapariga Loira
(2008)

1909
Richard L. Bare, 12 August, "Green Acres" (43 episodes, 1965-1971)

1911
Jules Dassin, December 18, Circle of Two (1980

1915
Mario Monicelli, 15 May, Le rose del deserto (2006)
Kon Ichikawa, 20 November, The Inugamis (2006)

1916
Dino Risi, 23 December, Le Regazze di Miss Italia (2002)

1917
Mel Shavelson, 1 April, Yours Mine And Ours (1968)

1918
Gabriel Axel, 18 April, Leila (2001)

1920
Eric Rohmer, 4 April, Les amours d'Astree et de Celadon (2007)
Mickey Rooney, September 23. The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960)

1921
Chris Marker, 29 July, The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004)
Miklos Jancso, 29 September, Ede megeve ebedem (2006)

1922
Carl Reiner, 20 March, That Old Feeling (1997)
Alain Resnais, 3 June, Private Fears In Public Places (2006)
Blake Edwards, 26 July, Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
Jonas Mekas, 24 September, Elvis (2001)
Arthur Penn, 27 September, Inside (1996)
Ebrahim Golestan, Ghost Valley Treasure (1974)

1923
Franco Zeffirelli, 12 February, Tre Fratelli (2005)
Irvin Kirschner, 29 April, RoboCop 2 (1990)
Seijun Suzuki, 24 May, Princess Raccoon (2005)
Sir Richard Attenborough, 29 August, The Snow Prince (2003)
Arthur Hiller, 22 November, National Lampoon's Pucked (2006)

1924
Stanley Donen, 13 April, Love Letters (1999)
Sidney Lumet, 25 June, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
Robert Frank, 9 November, Sanyu (2000)
Robert M. Young, 22 November, "Battlestar Galactica" episodes
(2004-2007)

1925
Paul Newman, 26 January, The Glass Menagerie (1986)
Peter Brook, 21 March, The Tragedy Of Hamlet (2002)
D. A. Pennebaker, 15 July, Addiction (2007)
Joseph Sargent, 22 July, Sybil (2007)
Claude Lanzmann, 27 November, Sobibor (2001)

1926
Youssef Chahine, 25 January, 47 Years After (2007)
Haskell Wexler, 6 February, From Wharf Rats to Lord of the Docks
(2007)
Bud Yorkin, 22 February, Love Hurts (1991)
Andrzej Wajda, 6 March, Katyn (2007)
Jerry Lewis, 16 March, Smorgasbord (1983)
André Delvaux, 21 March, 1001 films (1989)
Roger Corman, 5 April, Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
Herschell Gordon Lewis, 15 June, Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat (2002)
Mel Brooks, 28 June, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
Norman Jewison, 21 July, The Statement (2003)
Lina Wertmuller, 14 August, Peperoni ripieni e pesci in faccia (2004)
Bud Greenspan, 18 September, Pride Against Prejudice: The Larry Doby
Story (2007)
Albert Maysles, 26 November, American Prison: The Forgotten Jews
(2007)

1927
Kenneth Anger, 3 February, Mouse Heaven (2004)
Ken Russell, 3 July, Trapped Ashes (2006)
Elliot Silverstein, 3 August, The Car (1977)
Marcel Ophüls, 1 November, The Troubles We've Seen (1994)
Jerry Schatzberg, The Day the Ponies Come Back (2000)
Alfred Leslie, Cedar Bar (2002)

1928
William Peter Blatty, 7 January, The Exorcist III (1990)
Jacques Rivette, 1 March, Don't Touch The Ax (2007)
William Klein, 19 April, Messiah (1999)
Agnes Varda, 30 May, Quelques veuves de Noirmoutier (2006)
James Ivory, 7 June, City of Your Final Destination (2007)
Nicolas Roeg, 15 August, Puffball (2007)
Mel Stuart, 2 September, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor
Harold Becker, 25 September, Rififi (2008)
Clu Galager, 16 November, A Day With The Boys (1969)

1929
Ulu Grosbard, 9 January, The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
Vera Chytilová, 2 February, Pleasant Moments (2006)
Alejandro Jodorowsky, 7 February, The Rainbow Thief (1990)
Claude Goretta, 23 June, Sarte, the Age of Passions (2006)
Buddy van Horn, 20 August, Pink Cadillac (1989)
Vittorio Taviani, 20 September, La massseria delle allodole (2007)
Alain Tanner, 6 December, Paul s'en va (2004)
Michael Snow, 10 December, *Corpus Callosum (2002)

1930
Frederick Wiseman, 1 January, State Legislature (2007)
Richard Donner, 24 April, 16 Blocks (2006)
Paul Mazursky, 25 April, Yippee (2006)
Jess Franco, 12 May, Snakewoman (2005)
Clint Eastwood, 31 May, The Changeling (2008)
Claude Chabrol, 24 June, The Woman Cut In Half (2007)
Robert Culp, 16 August, Hickey And Boggs (1972)
Sir Peter Hall, 22 November, Never Talk To Strangers (1995)
Jean-Luc Godard, 3 December, Vrai faux passéport (2006)
Richard Rush, Color of Night (1994)

1931
Robert Duvall, 5 January, Assassination Tango (2002)
Hal Needham, 6 March, Street Luge (1996)
Ettore Scola, 10 May, Gente di Roma (2003)
Irwin Winkler, 25 May, Home of the Brave (2006)
Jan Troell, 23 July, Maria Larsson's Everlasting Moment (2008)
Ermanno Olmi, 24 July, One Hundred Nails (2007)
Alain Cavalier, 14 September, Le Filmeur (2005)
Marta Meszaros, 19 September, Hanna Wende (2008)
Paolo Taviani, 20 September, La masseria delle allodole (2007)
Mike Nichols, 6 November, Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

1932
Carlos Saura, 4 January, Io, Don Giovanni (2008)
Alfonso Arau, 11 January L'Imbroglio nel lenzuolo (2007)
Richard Lester, 19 January, Get Back (1991)
Milos Forman, 18 February, Goya's Ghosts (2006)
Nagisa Oshima, 31 March, Gohatto (1999)
Elaine May, 21 April, Ishtar (1987)
George Sluizer, 25 June, The Chosen One (2007)
Monte Hellman, 12 July, Trapped Ashes (2006)
Melvin Van Peebles, 21 August, The Real Deal (2003)
Robert Benton, 19 September, Feast of Love (2007)
Dusan Makavejev, 13 October, Danish Girls Show Everything (1996)
Edgar Reitz, 1 November, Heimat-Fragmente: Die Frauen (2006)
John G. Avildsen, 21 December, Dancing Into the Future (2007)
John Mackenzie, Quicksand (2001)

1933
Jean-Marie Straub, 8 January, Quei loro incontri (2006)
Liliani Cavani, 12 January, Albert Einstein (2009)
John Boorman, 18 January, The Memoirs of Hadrian (2008)
Costa-Gavras, 12 February, The Ax (2005)
Bob Rafelson, 21 February, No Good Deed (2002)
Ken Jacob, 25 May, Razzle-Dazzle (2007)
Ivan Passer, 10 July, Nomad (2005)
Roman Polanski, 18 August, Pompeii (2009)
Lucian Pintilie, 9 November, Tertium non datur (2005)
Bruce Conner, Looking for Mushrooms (1996)

1934
Otar Iosseliani, 2 February, Jardins en automne (2006)
Peter Kubelka, 23 March, Dichtung und Wahrheit [Poetry and Truth]
(2003)
Mark Rydell, 23 March, Even Money (2006)
Claude Berri, 1 July, La graine et la mullet (2007)
Sydney Pollack, 1 July, Sketches Of Frank Gehry (2006)
Gilbert Cates, 6 June, Backfire (1987)
Jan Svankmajer, 4 September, Sileni (2005)
Kira Muratova, 5 November, Two In One (2007)
Garry Marshall, 13 November, Georgia Rule (2007)
Robert Towne, 23 November, Ask the Dust (2006)

1935
Theo Angelopoulos, 17 April, The Dust of Time (2007)
Joan Micklin Silver, 24 May, A Fish In The Bathtub (1999)
William Friedkin, 29 August, Bug (2006)
Michael Winner, 30 October, Parting Shots (1999)
Peter Watkins, 29 October, Commune (Paris, 1871) (2000)
Les Blank, 27 November, All in This Tea (2007)
Woody Allen, 1 December, Woody Allen Spanish Project (2008)
Hans- Jürgen Syberberg, 8 December, Hohle der Erinnerung (1997)

1936
Alan Alda, 28 January, Betsy's Wedding (1990)
Burt Reynolds, 11 February, The Final Hit (2000)
Kwon-taek Im, 2 May, Across the Years (2006)
Dennis Hopper, 17 May, Homeless (2000)
Ken Loach, 17 June, It's A Free World (2007)
Robert Redford, 18 August, Lions For Lambs (2007)
Hugh Hudson, 25 August, I Dreamed Of Africa (2000)
Philip Kaufman, 23 October, Twisted (2004)

1937
Warren Beatty, 30 March, Bulworth (1998)
Jack Nicholson, 22 April, The Two Jakes (1990)
Jorgen Leth, 14 June, Aarhus (2005)
Tom Stoppard, 3 July, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
Francis Veber, 28 July, The Valet (2006)
Andrei Konchalovsky, 20 August, Gloss (2007)
Carroll Ballard, 14 October, Colter's Run (2008)
Luc Moullet, 14 October, The Liter of Milk (2006)
Claude Lelouch, 30 October, Crossed Tracks (2007)
Sir Ridley Scott, 30 November, American Gangster (2007)
Tom Palazzolo, I Married a Munchkin (1994)

1938
Istvan Szabo, 18 February, Journey by Moonlight (2008)
Paul Morrissey, 23 February, Veruschka (2005)
Jirí Menzel, 23 February, Obsluhoval som anglického krála (2006)
Jerzy Skolimowski, 5 May, Ferdyduke (1991)
Richard Benjamin, 22 May, Conditional Love (2008)
Kevin Brownlow, 2 June, I'm King Kong! (2005)
Paul Verhoeven, 18 July, Azazel (2009)
Ralph Bakshi, 29 October, Last Days of Coney Island (2007)
Liv Ullman, 16 December, Faithless (2000)
Rudy Wurlitzer, Candy Mountain (1988)

1939
Edgardo Cozarinsky, 13 January, Night Watch (2005)
Michael Cimino, 3 February, No Translation Needed (2007)
John Hancock, 12 February, Suspended Animation (2004)
Bertrand Blier, 14 March, How Much Do You Love Me? (2005)
Volker Schlöndorff, 31 March, Ulzhan (2007)
Francis Coppola, 7 April, Youth Without Youth (2007)
Krzysztof Zanussi, 17 July, Black Sun (2007)
Peter Bogdanovich, 30 July, The Broken Code (2007)
Wes Craven, 2 August, Red Eye (2005)
Michael Sarne, 6 August, Glastonbury the Movie (1995)
John Badham, 25 August, Incognito (1997)
Joel Schumacher, 29 August, Town Creek (2008)
Marco Belocchi, 9 November, The Wedding Director (2006)
Dariush Mehrjui, 8 December, Santoori (2007)
Fred Schepisi, 26 December, Last Man (2008)

1940
George A. Romero, 4 February, Diary of the Dead (2007)
Stuart Samuels, 8 March, 27 (2007)
Bernardo Bertolucci, 16 March, The Dreamers (2003)
Godfrey Reggio, 29 March, Naqoyqatsi (2002)
Paul Cox, 16 April, Human Touch (2004)
Al Pacino, 25 April, Salomaybe? (2007)
Abbas Kiarostami, 22 June, Certified Copy (2008)
Victor Erice, 30 June, Soliloquio (2006)
Brian De Palma, 11 September, Redancted (2007)
Bruce Beresford, 16 August, The Contract (2006)
Chris Menges, 15 September, the Lost Son (1999)
Dario Argento, September 7, Mother Of Tears (2007)
Fredi M. Murer, 1 October, Vitus (2006)
Terry Gilliam, 22 November, Untitled Gorillaz Project (2007)
Slava Tsukerman, Stalin's Wife (2008)

1941
Hayao Miyazaki, 5 January, Ponyo On A Cliff (2008)
Henry Jaglom, 26 January, Irene in Time (2007)
Michael Apted, 10 February, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of
the Dawn Treader (2009)
Adrian Lyne, 4 March, Unfaithful (2002)
Wolfgang Petersen, 14 March, Poseidon (2006)
Stefan Jarl, 18 March, Flickan fran Auschwitz (2005)
Bertrand Tavernier, 25 April, In The Electric Mist (2007)
Nora Ephron, 19 May, Bewitched (2005)
Bob Dyland, 24 May, Renaldo and Clara (1978)
Stephen Frears, 20 June, Skip Tracer (2007)
Denys Arcand, 25 June, The Age Of Ignorance (2007)
Raul Ruiz, 25 July, Love and Virtue (2008)
Denys Arcand, 26 June, L'Âge des ténèbres (2007)
Jean Pierre Lefebvre, 17 August, See You In Toronto (2000)
Barbet Schroeder, 26 August, Terror's Advocate (2007)
Michael Wadleigh, 21 September, Jimi Hendrix Live At Woodstock (1999)

1942
Walter Hill, 10 January, Broken Trail (2006)
Terry Jones, 1 February, The BFI London IMAX Signature Film (1999)
Margarethe von Trotta, 21 February, I Am the Other Woman (2006)
Mike Newell, 28 March, Love in the Time Of Cholera (2007)
Peter Greenaway, 5 April, Nightwatching (2007)
Douglas Trumbull, 8 April, Luxor Live (1996)
Michael Haneke, 23 March, Funny Games (2007)
Barry Levinson, 6 April, What Just Happened? (2007)
Barbra Streisand, 24 April, The Mirror Has Two faces (1996)
Raymond Depardon, 6 July, Profils paysans: la vie moderne (2007)
David Steinberg, 9 August, Frangela, 2007
George Kuchar, 31 August, Beastial Comforts (2005)
Werner Herzog, 5 September, Antarctic documentary (2007)
Michael Crichton, 23 October, The Thirteenth Warrior (1999)
Martin Scorsese, 17 November, Shine a Light (2007), Silence (2008)
Rosa von Praunheim, 25 November, Your Heart in My Head (2005)
George Armitage, The Big Bounce (2004)

1943
Larry Clark, January, Destricted (2006)
Tobe Hooper, 25 January, Mortuary (2005)
Michael Mann, 5 February, Hancock (2008)
Mike Leigh, 20 February, Untitled Mike Leigh Project (2008)
Andre Téchiné, 13 March, The Witness (2007)
David Cronenberg, 15 March, Maps to the Stars (2008)
Roy Andersson, 31 March, You the Living (2006)
Jean-Pierre Gorin, 17 April, My Crasy Life, 1992
Jon Jost, 16 May, La lunga ombra (2006)
Iain Sinclair, 11 June, London Orbital (2002)
Walter Murch, 12 July, Return to Oz (1985)
Peter Hyams, 26 July, A Sound Of Thunder (2005)
Alain Corneau 7 August, Le deuxieme soufflé (2007)
Robert DeNiro, 17 August, The Good Shepherd (2006)
Hugh Wilson, 21 August, Mickey (2004)
Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1 October, His Minor Majesty (2007)
Bob Swaim, 2 November, La France Made in USA (2007)
Terrence Malick, 30 November, Tree Of Life (2008)
Arturo Ripstein, 13 December, Carnaval del sodoma (2006)
Alan Rudolph, 18 December, The Secret Lives Of Dentists (2002)
Harry Shearer, 23 December, Teddy Bears' Picnic (2002)
Thom Andersen, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

1944
Sir Alan Parker, 14 February, The Ice At The Bottom Of the World
(2008)
Jonathan Demme, 22 February, He Comes In Peace (2008)
Jacques Doillon, 15 March, Le premier venu (2008)
John Milius, 11 April, Journey of Death (2008)
Charles Burnett, 13 April, Red Soil (2007)
George Lucas, 14 May, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
(2005)
Frank Oz, 25 May, Death at a Funeral (2007)
Tony Scott, 21 June, Emma's War (2008)
Peter Weir, 21 August, Master and Commander (2003)
Harun Farocki, 1 September, Nicht ohne Risiko (2004)
Patrice Chereau, 2 November, Gabrielle (2005)
Danny DeVito, 17 November, Duplex (2003)
Harold Ramis, 21 November, Year Zero (2008)
James Toback, 23 November, When Will I Be Loved (2004)
Eliseo Subiela, 27 December, El resultado del amor (2007)
Taylor Hackford, 31 December, Ray (2004)

1945
Andrew Bergman, 20 February, Joe's Last Change (2008)
George Miller, 3 March, Happy Feet (2006)
Werner Schroeter, 7 April, Deux (2002)
Ventura Pons, 25 July, Barcelona (un mapa) (2007)
Wim Wenders, 14 August, The Palermo Shooting (2008)
Bob Balaban, 16 August, Bernard and Doris (2007
Robert Greenwald, 28 August, Supermarket Swindle (2008
Willard Huyck, 8 September, Howard The Duck (1986)
Nikita Mikhalkov, 21 October, 12 Angry Men, Burnt By the Sun 2 (2007)
Terrence Davies, 10 November, The House of Mirth (2000)
Neil Young, 12 November, Greendale (2003)
Penelope Spheeris, 2 December, The Kid and I (2005)
Victor Nunez, Coastlines (2002)
Jim Sharman, Shock Treatment (1981)

1946
David Lynch, 20 January, Inland Empire (2006)
Christopher Hampton, 26 January, Imagining Argentina (2003)
Hector Babenco, 7 February, El pasado (2007)
Luis Puenzo, 19 February. The Whore and the Whale (2004)
Michael Radford, 24 February, La Mula (2008)
Bigas Luna, 19 March, Yo soy la Juani (200g)
Lajos Koltai, 2 April, Evening (2007)
John Waters, 22 April, A Dirty Shame (2004)
Franc Roddam, 29 April, K2 (1992)
Bill Plympton, 30 April, Idiots and Angels (2008)
Bruce Robinson, 2 May, The Rum Diary (2008)
Lasse Hallström, 2 June, Sammy (2007)
Sylvester Stalllone, 6 July, John Rambo (2007)
Paul Schrader, 22 July, Adam Resurrected (2008)
Bill Forsyth, 29 July, Gregory's Two Girls (1999)
Barbara Kopple, 30 July, Shut Up & Sing (2006)
Martha Coolidge, 17 August, Zorro 2110 (2008)
Dennis Dugan, 5 September, I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (2007)
Frank Marshall, 13 September, Eight Below (2006)
Tommy Lee Jones, 15 September, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
(2005)
Steven Spielberg, 18 September, Indiana Jones IV (2008)
John Woo, 23 September, Red Cliffs (2008)
Jean-Jacques Beineix, 8 October, Mortel transfert (2001)
Ivan Reitman, 27 October, My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
Joe Dante, 28 November, The Greatest Show Ever (2007)
Andy Davis, The Guardian (2006)

1947
Takeshi Kitano, 18 January, Kantoku Banzai! (2007)
Paul Auster, 3 February, The Inner Life of Martin Frost (2007)
Benoît Jacquot, 5 February, L'intouchable (2006)
Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, 2 March, What No One Knows (2008)
Hsiao-hsien Hou, 8 April, Untitled Kung Fu Project (2008)
Tim Hunter, 15 June, Mad Men (2007)
Albert Brooks, 22 July, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005)
Stuart Gordon, 11 August, Stuck (2007)
Péter Gothár, 28 August, Hungarian Beauty (2003)
Stephen King, 21 September, Maximum Overdrive (1986)
Alan Moyle, Weirdsville (2007)

Harry Bailey
2007-08-05 16:12:33 UTC
Permalink
Shaviro on Antonioni:

---------------------
http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=592

I've always felt that the people who describe Antonioni's movies as
being about ennui, anomie, and alienation are... not wrong, exactly, but
largely missing the point. The point being that Antonioni's movies,
above all, are about seeing and feeling the world, about the look of
things - including when those things seem to look back, or when they
seem to look through us, to ignore us. There are so many scenes that
continue to haunt me, years after I last saw them: some shots of the
volcanic islands in L'Avventura, where the woman disappears; the final
sequence of that same movie, in which Monica Vitti strokes the male
lead's hair, forgiving him (perhaps), despite the fact that he has
been unfaithful to her, and has proved himself to be a worthless cad.
There's the scene of panic at the stock exchange, in L'eclisse, and of
course the (justly) famous final sequence of that film, the montage of
an entirely deserted city, scenes of the rendezvous to which neither
of the troubled lovers managed, or was willing, to show up.

Of course, Antonioni is especially great at endings. There's also the
long travelling shot that ends The Passenger, moving out of Jack
Nicholson's hotel room onto and through a largely deserted square,
baking in the hot sun, then eventually back into the hotel room to
find Nicholson's corpse. And above all, perhaps, there's the ending of
Zabriskie Point, with that hideous house in the desert exploding again
and again, and all those commodities floating through the sky, slowly
floating, to the unworldly music of Pink Floyd, until Daria leaves,
and it blends into a pure colorism of the desert.

And so much more. There are scenes that I cannot even place - I will
have to watch all those films again: deserted squares with the sun
beating down (someplace in the trilogy, as well as in The Passenger).
Even in Blow Up, which is sometimes deprecated, because it is
Antonioni's most "pop" movie, as well as his most popular one at the
box office, there are astonishing visions, and not necessarily the
most obvious ones: like the scene where Jeff Beck is playing in a
club, and he wrecks his guitar and throws it into the crowd, and David
Hemmings struggles against all the other fans in order to grab it; and
finally, after he gets it, he exits the club and throws it down
(negligently? disgustedly? I can't quite remember) into the trash. Or
that other scene, near the end, where Hemmings is at a party, he
smokes a joint (I think?) with Verushka, in any case he is too stoned,
too tired, too worn out to care any more... Not to mention the
exploitation scene, in the middle, with the nude cavorting models...

I may not be remembering these scenes quite accurately; it's too long
since I last watched any of them. But even if I have distorted them in
my mind, the very fact that I am groping after them like this, that
they have the sort of insistence they do in my memory, and that my
remembrance of them, however inexact, stirs up all sorts of emotional
currents, is a testimony to how visionary a filmmaker Antonioni was -
meaning this word in the literal sense of 'having visions' as well as
in the sense of an obsession with the visual, with the visible (and
the invisible), with "the surface of the world" (to quote the subtitle
of Seymour Chatman's 1985 book on Antonioni). Antonioni shows us the
world - sometimes the "natural" world, but more often the human-built
world, including the human beings who are figures in that world - as
we scarcely ever see it: he shows us the world as image, the world
retreated into its image, the world "made image" (in precisely the way
that the Word is "made flesh"). Which is why one gets the vertiginous
sense, watching Antonioni's films that what we are seeing is not the
least bit objective, since everything we see is inflected, affected,
by the characters' catastrophic subjectivity, by their narcissism,
their neuroticism, their (yes) ennui and anomie; and yet, at the very
same time , that what we are seeing is entirely separate from human
subjectivity, that in fact we are seeing inhumanly, from an entirely
alien sensibility, as if the camera were a being from another planet,
for whom human behavior is as distant and enigmatic as insect behavior
is for us. It's the impossible combination of a subjectivity so
excessive as to be sick unto death, and an inhuman distance so great
as to defy explication, that makes Antonioni's films so compellingly
enigmatic, so alluring for their surfaces or their look.

Antonioni's movies are also about time, about how time passes, about
the feeling of duration. As Bergson said, you have to wait for the
sugar to dissolve in your tea; it doesn't happen instantaneously.
Antonioni's films are about waiting; the wait can be for something as
trivial as sugar dissolving, or for something as momentous as death.
But in any case, Antonioni captures this waiting, the way that (as
Kant, Bergson, Proust, and Husserl all say) time passing is the very
essence of our interiority (or of what we are perhaps too ready and
eager to claim as an "inner life"): Antonioni captures this, in its
misery and splendor, more accurately and more fully than any other
film director (except possibly Chantal Akerman) has ever done. I think
that his ability to plumb the depths of time - which like vision, is
both deeply subjective and deeply inhuman, in his treatment of it - is
why Antonioni has so often been taken to be either boring (which he
never is for me) or about boredom and ennui (which I think he is only
in a very limited and derivative sense).

Antonioni is also - paradoxical as this may sound - a great poet of
the body. As Deleuze says, Antonioni is very largely about "the
immense tiredness of the body", as well as other "attitudes or
postures of the body." In these attitudes or postures, Antonioni
portrays "no longer experience, but 'what remains of past
experiences', 'what comes afterwards, when everything has been
said'." (Cinema 2, page 189). Antonioni gives us the vision of what is
stirring when nothing has yet appeared, and of what remains when
everything is gone: and this vision is embedded in the flesh, or at
least in a certain sort of flesh, in attitudes and postures which are
devoid of consciousness, and perhaps entirely inaccessible to thought.
That is to say, Antonioni is a poet of the body, because he shows us
what cannot be said, captures on screen what the body feels but does
not know. It's there mostly despairingly, in some of the scenes that I
have already mentioned - like the ending of L'Avventura, or the pot-
smoking party in Blow-Up; but also - if rarely - ecstatically, like
the moment in Zabriskie Point when the protagonists are making love in
the desert, and then, in a long shot, they are multiplied, a whole
army (?!) of lovers stretching as far as the eye (or the camera) can
see.

In all these ways, Antonioni gives us his own, highly original and
unusual, inflection of modernism. The combination of ravishing (if
severe) visual beauty and an underlying despair is, of course, very
much a familiar modernist stance or trope. But Antonioni gives it a
particular inflection, through the ways his characters are absorbed
into a landscape (usually not a "natural" one) that changes them even
as it reflects them: both expresses them and absorbs and digests them.
The relation between human figures, and the spaces they inhabit (or
feel uncomfortable in, and in that sense fail to fully inhabit) is a
unique one in Antonioni's films, and I am not sure I have adequate
words for it.

But it's here that I can best raise the question of the politics of
Antonioni's films. The Italian trilogy (or tetralogy, if you include
Red Desert - and one might also group with them their later echo in
Identification of a Woman) does indeed focus on rich, or at least haut-
bourgeois, characters who haven't a care in the world financially
(despite that stock market panic in L'eclisse), but who suffer from
loneliness, from an inability to connect with other people except on
the most superficial level, and from - not frustration so much as
anhedonia, an inability to take pleasure, and also (more deeply) an
inability even to have the desires whose unfulfillment might lead to
frustration. Often these characters are women; Antonioni treats them
with considerable sympathy, even if he objectifies them sexually at
the same time.

One common criticism of Antonioni is that any leftist critique of the
privileged classes that he might have is subverted by the way he
glamorizes these protagonists and their money-fueled lifestyles. But I
think this objection is misguided. Antonioni's films work as critiques
of class relations, and of gender relations, precisely because they
don't at all moralize (and also because they don't portray any working
class alternatives to the lives of the bourgeoisie, in the manner of
the neorealist films that Antonioni was reacting against). Rather,
these films draw us into a paralysis, which we as viewers share with
the characters whom we are watching on screen. This paralysis is the
absurd consequence of what happens when class domination and gender
stratification are pushed to the extreme points that they are in a
certain sort of (medium-late) capitalist society. The characters'
neuroticism, their narcissism, their sterility, is the rigorous
'subjective' consequence of an 'objective' regime of accumulation for
its own sake.

But this paralysis, is also, and as it were in spite of itself, a
precondition for aesthetic rapture. Paralysis is Kantian
"disinterest"; it is also what Deleuze - describing the neorealism
that Antonioni is both the heir to and the rebel against - calls "pure
optical and sound situations," in which the sensori-motor linkages of
"ordinary" perception are ruptured (see Cinema 2, pages 3-6).
Antonioni's characters don't experience aesthetic bliss; but their
paralysis is the precondition for the bliss that Antonioni, and his
films' spectators, are able to feel. As Deleuze also says, "the old
curse which undermines the cinema" is that "time is money," and that
"there is not, and there never will be, equivalence in the mutual
camera-money exchange." (Cinema 2, page 77-78). Unequal exchange, the
extraction of a surplus even when there is formal equivalence of the
items exchanged: this capitalist logic is at the heart both of the
neuroses of Antonioni's characters, and of the delirious aestheticism
that serves as an always-unequal counterpart, or counter-payment for
those neuroses.

The situation is a bit different in Antonioni's English-language
films, where the paralyzed voyeur-characters are photographers (Blow-
Up) or journalists (The Passenger), or even would-be radicals
(Zabriskie Point who try (unsuccessfully) to escape the logic of
equivalence/surplus/paralysis that is inscribed into the logic of
capitalist society. I'm aware that a lot more needs to be said about
Antonioni's ambiguous treatment, in these films, of what Deleuze and
Guattari call "lines of flight" or (when they are not successful, as
is generally the case in Antonioni's films) "lines of abolition." More
needs to be said, as well, about how gender relations (in addition to
class relations) factor in here. But I think my general point stands -
about how Antonioni's aestheticism is both consciously inscribed
within, and also mobilized against, the unacceptable social relations
that remain Antonioni's starting point.

I still haven't said anything about my favorite Antonioni film - or at
least the one that I have seen most often, and with which I am most
familiar: Red Desert (1964). This was Antonioni's first film in color,
and its scenes of belching factory smoke, and overall muted,
depressive palette, are unforgettable. These hideous colors are only
accented by their contrast with the one fantasy sequence, the story
Monica Vitti tells her son about a paradisaical beach: here the
lighting and the colors are excessively bright and clear, too much so,
with the airbrushed perfection of the most expensive advertising. This
is the bourgeois vision of beauty as compensation and escape, as
unrealizable ideal: Antonioni shows it to be only the flip side of the
industrial pollution that dominates the rest of the film. Antonioni's
own aestheticism resides, rather, in the waste and pollution itself. I
think of his use of the color red, as in the scene in the cabin, where
Vitti tries (unsuccessfully) to transform herself into orgy mode; and
also the scene in the hotel room, her tryst with the engineer, where
the wall subtly changes color behind them as they writhe on the bed.
Related to that, in turn, though with a different palette, is the
scene in the ship yard, at night, where Vitti wandering alone is
briefly propositioned by a foreign sailor: not speaking Italian, he
tells her, in English, "I'll love you, I'll love you," as she passes
by. It's a scene that could be an epigraph for all of Antonioni's
movies, with their pain and blocked eroticism, and with the force of
the disinterest by means of which Antonioni transfigures them.

I will stop here, though I feel I could ramble on indefinitely. But I
need to watch these movies again, before I write more about them. I
will only add that, for all that Antonioni's critical reputation
declined over the past thirty years, he only became more and more
influential among the younger generations of art filmmakers. As David
Hudson notes, "now as we head into the late 00's, the almost
standardized "festival film" bears the mark of no other director more
than Antonioni's." Indeed - where would Tsai Ming-liang, Bela Tarr,
early Edward Yang, and Theo Angelopoulos be without Antonioni?
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