7.31.2007

First Bergman, then Antonioni...

It's a good week to die, apparently. I have to admit this news affected me a lot more, because while I've only seen two movies by Antonioni, I love them both.

When you read a synopsis of the plot of an Antonioni movie, it often seems like it's an action movie, almost, a mystery, something suspenseful. Take Blow-Up, for example: "A man discovers he might have photographed a murder". Or the Passenger: "A man takes the identity of a dead man, who turns out to have been an arms dealer". It almost feels like there should be exclamation points at the end, but Antonioni never resorts to them, and subverts your expectations. He lures you in with these seemingly plot-driven premises, and then turns them into meditations on reality, identity, and the inability of finding an absolute truth.

Blow-up ends with the famous mime scene: mimes are playing tennis without a ball or rackets. When at some point "the ball" goes out of the tennis court, David Hemmings picks it up, throws it back, and all of a sudden we hear the sounds of the ball hitting the rackets. Then, in the famous final shot, our protagonist simply disappears. The Passenger ends with a similar disappearance, and a masterful shot that goes on forever, daring us to find meaning or purpose.


I know, I know, two films is too few to really know a filmmaker. I need to see l'Avventura, l'Eclisse, and many more. But I do know that based on the two movies I have seen, Antonioni is a filmmaker I admire and love, and in my mind, he didn't die: he simply, from one frame to the next, vanished into the unknown.


1 comment:

cjKennedy said...

I still haven't seen The Passenger, but Blow-Up was the first Antonioni I ever saw. I have to be honest, I didn't get it the first time. It wasn't until I watched it again later after seeing a bunch more movies including a few more of Antonioni that I started to feel like I could understand what he was all about.

He's still a pretty big mystery in the sense that I have a hard time articulating what I like about his movies, but I can feel them in a way I do few other movies.

I hope you check out l'Avventura and l'Eclisse and La Notte soon. They're more obtuse than Blow-Up I think but you took to that one pretty quickly so you'll probably get alot out of his other movies as well.

I'm kind of jealous. I wish I could watch them again for the first time! I guess I can with The Passenger and Zabriskie Point.

RIP Michelangelo