July 31, 2007.
Reality changes so rapidly that if one theme is not dealt with, another presents itself. Allowing one’s attention to be attracted by each little thing has become a vice of the imagination. All one has to do is to keep one’s eyes open: everything becomes full of meaning; everything cries out to be interpreted, reproduced. Thus, there is no one particular film that I would like to make; there is one for every single theme I perceive. And I am excited by these themes, day and night. – Michelangelo Antonioni
And yet another great director has left us. Michelangelo Antonioni, the Italian filmmaker, died at the age of 94. He was a baffling artist- one who didn’t offer easy-to-follow narratives or traditional pacing. My favorite film of his, L’Avventura (The Adventure), was booed by critics and audiences when it opened at Cannes. In the film, a wealthy yachting party reaches an island to find out that one of their own, Anna, has disappeared from the boat. Did she drown? Was she kidnapped? No one knows. Eventually her best friend and lover take up with each other, while vaguely continuing the search, and then later the search is abandoned.
There is a sense of boredom, malaise, even despair in Antonioni’s films. He doesn’t offer solutions to the mystery that is human existence. With his wildly imaginative and surrealistic shots, and the naturalistic way he observed his characters and the unfolding of time, Antonioni proved himself to be- if not an everyman’s director- a true force in cinematic history.