Michelangelo Antonioni  

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Some comparison can be made between the work of De Chirico and the long takes in Antonioni's films from the 1960s, in which the camera continues to linger on desolate cityscapes populated by a few distant figures, or none at all, in the absence of the film's protagonists.

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Michelangelo Antonioni (Ferrara, September 29 1912Roma, July 30 2007) was an Italian film director whose films are widely considered as some of the most influential in film aesthetics.


He described himself as a Marxist intellectual, but some authors advance some doubts about his effective adherence to Marxism. In contrast with his contemporaries, including the neorealists and also Federico Fellini, Ermanno Olmi and Pier Paolo Pasolini, whose stories generally dealt with the lives of the working class and the misfits and outcasts of society, Antonioni's most notable films revolved around the elite and the urban bourgeois. However, contrary to what these critics say, his films depict his wealthy characters as empty and aimless, rather than romanticizing them. La notte depicts the disintegration of a wealthy married couple who can no longer connect meaningfully; L'avventura depicts the story of a woman who goes missing during a yachting trip, and whose fiancé and best friend subsequently develop a sexual relationship but are unable to develop genuine love for each other; Blowup depicts the superficial world of a 1960s fashion photographer in the "mod" scene, who in the end proves indifferent when called upon to report a potential murder. In a similar vein, Zabriskie Point is often interpreted as a criticism of American capitalism, and, though seemingly critical of bourgeois American hippies, sympathetically depicts their desire for escape. Antonioni's films also tend to be sensitive to the beauty of landscapes--such as the California desert in Zabriskie Point, or the rocky islands in L'avventura--which adds not only to the visual quality of his work, but also to his depiction of the rich as arrogant lost souls vainly attempting to impose their finite will upon an unyielding and sublime nature. Thus, despite his critics, Antonioni's films dissect the rich with a disapproving Marxist sensibility, even as his camerawork displays a fascination for the ornate settings of the wealthy class.


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