2nd Film Great Dies This Week - Michelangelo Antonioni
Jul 31, 2007 at 11:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

blessingx

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See here. [NYTimes] Sad week for cinema.

EDIT: Longer obit here. [NYTimes]

Quote:

Michelangelo Antonioni is generally acknowledged as one of cinema’s greatest practitioners, a director whose work has raised film to a level usually associated with high literature.
- Talha Burki, FilmExposed


 
Jul 31, 2007 at 3:06 PM Post #2 of 4

blessingx

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Quote:

More than any other film L’Avventura seems to define the spirit of a time in cinema when anything seemed possible and there was no territory into which it could not venture. Above all what it seeks to capture is the world of fleeting emotion, feelings which are unstable and crystallize only momentarily in the camera’s gaze. - Geoffrey Nowell-Smith


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Quote:

CANNES STATEMENT by Michelangelo Antonioni

Today the world is threatened by an extremely serious split between a science that is totally and consciously projected into the future, and a rigid and stereotyped morality which all of us recognize as such and yet sustain out of cowardice and sheer laziness. Where is this split most evident? What are its most obvious, its most sensitive, let us even say its most painful, areas?

Consider the Renaissance man, his sense of joy, his fullness, his multifarious activities. Those were men of great magnitude, skillful craftsmen and at the same time artistically creative, capable of recognizing their own sense of dignity, their own sense of importance as human beings: the Ptolemaic fullness of man. Then man discovered that his world was Copernican, an extremely limited world in an unknown universe.

And today a new man is being born, fraught with all the fears, terrors and stammerings that are associated with a period of gestation. And what is even more serious, this new man immediately finds himself burdened with a heavy baggage of emotional traits which cannot exactly be called old and outmoded, but rather unsuited and inadequate. They condition us without offering us any help, they create problems without suggesting any possible solutions. And yet it seems that man will not rid himself of this baggage. He reacts, he loves, he hates, he suffers under the sway of moral forces and myths which today, when we are at the threshold of reaching the moon, should not be the same as those that prevailed in Homeric times, but nevertheless are.

Man is quick to rid himself of his technological and scientific mistakes and misconceptions. Indeed, science has never been more humble and less dogmatic than it is today. Whereas our moral attitudes are governed by an absolute sense of stultification. In recent years, we have examined those moral attitudes very carefully, we have dissected them and analyzed them to the point of exhaustion. We have been capable of all this, but we have not been capable of finding new ones. We have not been capable of making any headway whatsoever toward solving the problem of this ever-increasing split between the moral and the scientific man, a split which is becoming more and more serious, and more and more accentuated.

Naturally, I don't care to, nor can I, resolve it myself; I am not a moralist, and my film is neither a denunciation nor a sermon. It is a story told through images whereby, I hope, it may be possible to perceive not the birth of a mistaken attitude but the manner in which attitudes and dealings are misunderstood today. Because, I repeat, the present moral standards we live by, these myths, these conventions are old and obsolete. And we all know they are, yet we honor them. Why? The conclusion reached by the protagonists in my film is not one of sentimentality. If anything, what they finally arrive at is a sense of pity for each other. You might say that this too is nothing new. But what else is left if we do not at least succeed in achieving this? Why do you think eroticism is so prevalent today in our literature, our theatrical shows, and elsewhere? It is a symptom of the emotional sickness of our time. But this preoccupation with eroticism would not become obsessive if Eros were healthy, that is, if it were kept within human proportions. But Eros is sick; man is uneasy, something is bothering him. And whenever something bothers him, man reacts, but he reacts badly, only on erotic impulse, and he is unhappy.

The tragedy in L’Avventura stems directly from an erotic impulse of this type: unhappy, miserable, futile. To be critically aware of the vulgarity and the futility of such an overwhelming erotic impulse, as is the case with the protagonist in L’Avventura, is not enough or serves no purpose. And here we witness the crumbling of a myth, which proclaims it is enough for us to know, to be critically conscious of ourselves, to analyze ourselves, in all our complexities and in every facet of our personality. The fact that matters is that such an examination is not enough. It is only a preliminary step. Every day, every emotional encounter gives rise to a new adventure. For even though we know that the ancient codes of morality are decrepit and no longer tenable, we persist, with a sense of perversity that I would only ironically define as pathetic, in remaining loyal to them. Thus, the moral man who has no fear of the scientific unknown is today afraid of the moral unknown. Starting out from this point of fear and frustration, his adventure can only end in a stalemate.


 
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:53 PM Post #3 of 4

kerelybonto

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I remember the first time I happened across L'avventura, on television, and the engrossing intellectual bewilderment, but also visceral understanding and identification, it roused in me. (I think it was much like the feeling I had after seeing David Lynch's Mullholand Dr. for the first time, but subtler and more profound, more human-scale.)
 
Aug 3, 2007 at 3:30 AM Post #4 of 4

vibin247

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Man, what a week for film fanatics. Although I never really liked Antonioni's films, they were definitive in their own right. Bergman once said that Antonioni could never understand the movement of film through performances, not just the camera. But perhaps he was the only one who could implement the long pause effectively, and of course, could make Monica Vitti look more stunning than intended.
 

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