Poll

Your Favorite Michelangelo Antonioni Film Is:

Story of a Love Affair (Cronaca di un amore)
0 (0%)
The Lady Without Camelias (La Signora senza camelie)
0 (0%)
I vinti
0 (0%)
Le amiche
0 (0%)
The Cry (Il grido)
0 (0%)
L'avventura
6 (15.4%)
La notte
1 (2.6%)
L'eclisse
3 (7.7%)
Red Desert (Il deserto rosso)
2 (5.1%)
Blowup
11 (28.2%)
Zabriskie Point
1 (2.6%)
Chung Kuo
0 (0%)
The Passenger
2 (5.1%)
The Mystery of Oberwald
0 (0%)
Identification of a Woman
0 (0%)
haven't seen any
8 (20.5%)
don't like any
5 (12.8%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 38

Author Topic: Antonioni, Michelangelo  (Read 5330 times)

Jared

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2013, 01:02:41 PM »
1) Blowup 4/5
2) L'avventura 4/5
3) L'Eclisse 4/5
4) The Passenger 3/5
5) Zabriske Point 3/5
6) La Notte 3/5
7) Red Dessert 3/5
8) Identification of a Woman 3/5
9) People of Po Valley 3/5 (short)
10) The Dangerous Thread of Things ("Eros" segment) 1/5

Need to rewatch the top few because I liked them and its been 7 or 8 years. Need to watch 5-8 again because memory is a little murky.

1SO

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2014, 02:06:08 PM »
Red Desert
* * *

Heady stuff, visualizing so much internal strife. The color compositions are in the same ballpark as Dodes'ka-den, and nobody does beautiful sadness like Monica Vitti. (Some actresses elicit the comment "I could watch her do nothing all day," but with Vitti that's pretty close to what you get.) I'm always hesitant with Antonioni, and MartinTeller hit on why when he wrote "this emptiness, in combination with the slow pacing and lack of humor, just makes you feel dead inside.  Which is a valid and provocative emotional reaction, but not one you want to experience very often."

Lobby

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2014, 02:59:04 PM »
I really had to struggle to stay awake watching this. Frankly it was rather offputting, apart from the odd colours that were interesting at points. But if I'd ever give Antonioni a new chance, is there something else you think might be easier to digest that you recommend?
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1SO

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2014, 03:54:04 PM »
I read your review. My unofficial New Year's Resolution is to try and have more patience and understanding for these films with a reputation for being slow, long and/or difficult. (If you look at my recent watches, you'll find a small pile of titles where I kept my hate of impatience to a minimum.) There's a moment early on where an ungodly amount of steam is released into the air, and rather than argue the point of it, I happily took in its industrial beauty.

And there really is a special hypnotic quality to Monica Vitti, who's not a conventional beauty by any stretch. The only actress I've seen cut from the same cloth is 1980s Ellen Barkin. Decades before the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, years before Pretty Poison, here's an angel who has flown too close to the sun and is now asking you to catch her, even though the flames will engulf you.

My 2 favorite Antonioni films - L'eclisse, L'avventura - are easier, but not by a noticeable number of degrees. Blowup is more appealing to your inner film geek and it looks easier, which makes it frustrating when it reveals itself to be just as enigmatic.

Lobby

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2014, 04:20:09 PM »
That's a noble New Year's resolution! I'm still working on it and occasionally I succeed.
I still can't believe I actually loved The Turin Horse for instance. This spring we're going to screen it at my local movie society - on my recommendation. I've just finished an article for our programme book. So there's hope for me too! Who knows, one day might even get to learn to like A.
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1SO

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2014, 02:13:15 AM »
The Passenger
* * *

It's been so long since I've had the time to sit down and savor a movie, so I was in the perfect mood to watch this. You have to take your time with it and enjoy every bite because there's no hurrying along. There's something mysteriously appealing about Antonioni, who can take a handful of scenes that appear to have no point and use them to build mystery. Perhaps 'intrigue' is the better word, because I stayed pretty clear of disinterest by a constant curiosity as to where the journey was taking me.

Jack Nicholson gives as stripped down a performance as I've seen from him without looking like he's just cashing a check. This is where he was at his peak, so even playing with an empty wine glass is an entertaining physical gesture. He keeps the character from being too mysterious or a blank slate by making the most of his lengthy conversation that sets up the premise. (A scene that incorporates flashback in a very stylish manner.)

The Passenger is a film of questions to talk about, not one with answers provided. (Including the technical question of how in the hell did he pull off that lengthy shot near the end?) Antonioni plays it just right where he doesn't make points so much as find the right way to pose his questions about life. (He probably would've loved reading people's reactions in chat rooms and boards.) Unlike my usual consumer tendencies and like a true lover of cinema, I happily took it all in.

1SO

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2014, 10:21:46 AM »
La Notte
* * *

For years I was apprehensive about Antonioni, but with each new discovery I enjoy him more and more. My Rankings nearly match the order in which I watched them with the newest on top. That makes La Notte the best (and Blow-Up a prime candidate for a re-watch.)

Red Desert - Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964

Listless alienation in the modern world, sure, whatever.
I wonder what draws filmmakers to make films about loneliness and isolation, and how it's often met with ambivalence. I just watched 2 by Nuri Bilge Ceylan that have that as a theme. Plus there's Tsai, Akerman, Bergman, Kieslowski and Sofia Coppola to name a few. This isn't the only subject in their films but it is a recurring idea.

I'm now comfortable calling Antonioni cinema's Master of loneliness and isolation, as well as ennui, desolation and despair. No other filmmaker captures that mood so well through selective framings and the use of negative space.

 

That last shot is from my favorite scene in the film, my favorite Antonioni scene to date. I love the subtle sexual touch of Monica Vitti fixing the strap on her dress. It's an unconscious gesture repeated at the end of the film by another character, linking the two in a very exciting way. Vitti and her dress strike all kind of unconsciously lewd poses in this scene. The dialogue between her and Marcello Mastroianni is filled with (un)subtle desire.

I've always been cautious of Antonioni because his effects often come with a heavy dose of boredom, and it's here too. An unfortunate (to me) but necessary part of the package. I'm a story guy, but I love how these films capture emotions first, hanging them on a simple story like musical numbers.

roujin

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2014, 04:18:58 PM »
1. L'Avventura (1960)

Blow-Up (1966)

1SO

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2015, 12:29:42 AM »
RE-WATCH MARATHON


Blow-Up (1966)

For years I was apprehensive about Antonioni, but with each new discovery I enjoy him more and more. That Blow-Up a prime candidate for a re-watch.

I'm now comfortable calling Antonioni cinema's Master of loneliness and isolation, as well as ennui, desolation and despair. No other filmmaker captures that mood so well through selective framings and the use of negative space.

So, yeah. I had this one all wrong. I was in film school, it was my first Antonioni, and I was interested in the murder plot. I was missing the forest for the trees. This isn't a film about a murder but a film about a guy who doesn't care about humanity and pays the price for it. Actually, it's a film about a lot of things. I just picked one. I'm also noticing most of what I'm writing could have question marks added. Murder? Pays the price?

The mystery comes off as the film's weakest aspect, but if you plug it into this world of illusion and memory, the way the photographer reacts to his discoveries compares nicely to the way he reacts to the women in the film. It's another helping of what Antonioni does best, only this time moved to 60s swinging London, where the loneliness and ennui manifest in a different way. It's unlike other Antonioni - more hip, less icy, even more enigmatic than usual - yet it achieves a lot of the same effect. People who care passionately while acting like they don't care at all. Or is it the other way around? It was fun to think about.
Rating: * * *, a major upgrade

1SO

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Re: Directors Best Poll - Michelangelo Antonioni
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2015, 10:00:40 AM »
Zabriskie Point (1970)
* *
Antonioni isn't sure what he's grabbed hold of with this one. Switching out great, classy actors for complete novices is a director stepping outside his comfort zone, but he also seems ill-suited to the material. (For the record, cast seasoned actors would've also worked against the film. It's kind of a no-win situation.) There are effective moments. The desert orgy is long but it's poetic, not messy. The soundtrack is very good, blanketing the film, like the songs in Easy Rider. In the end, the story is too elusive and the symbolism is too blatant.