Michelangelo Antonioni 1912–
Italian film director, screenwriter, and film critic.
Antonioni is best described as a director who exposes the core of the human soul. His films depict human alienation and the destruction of established values.
Cronaca di un amore, Antonioni's first feature film, contains qualities characteristic of much of his later work: desolate landscapes, unresolved plot, and discontented, aimless characters. In Le amiche, based on a short story by Cesare Pavese, Antonioni focuses on male-female relationships, using sparse dialogue. This technique would later become an Antonioni trademark.
L'avventura brought Antonioni international renown. In the film, the plot remains unfulfilled, and Antonioni's use of such an unusual technique caused an uproar at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. L'avventura is the first of three films to center on revealing aspects of relationships. La notte and L'eclisse also rely on elaborate detail to conceal the emptiness of affluent life.
Blow-Up portrays a male photograher caught up in the mod society of London in the mid-sixties. Based on a story by Julio Cortázar, Blow-Up relates an artist's struggle to reveal truth through rationalism. His next film, Zabriskie Point, was filmed in the United States and is generally viewed as an intense depiction of the futility of both idealism and materialism. In 1975, Antonioni directed The Passenger, a film which contains many characteristics of his earlier works. However, Antonioni's reliance on existential themes has prompted critics to compare the film to Camus's The Stranger.
Writing on Blow-Up, Max Kozloff has defined Antonioni's "repertoire of themes": "Without doubt, most of his earlier perceptions are present: of the insufficiency and transcience of human affection, of chilled eroticism, of the muteness of objects, of intermittent hysteria, and a sundered social fabric." (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 73-76.)