people

Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni

Though Michelangelo Antonioni worked throughout the forties (on short documentaries like N.U., about street cleaners in Rome) and fifties (including writing the story that was the basis for Federico Fellini’s The White Sheik, and directing his first fiction features, including the penetrating films about bourgeois Italian life Story of a Love Affair and Le amiche), it was in the 1960s that he became a major force in international film. It was also then that he began to typify, alongside such artists as Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, and Alain Resnais, a new European art cinema, expressing a distinctly contemporary ennui. With their stunning visuals, ambiguous narratives, and still relevant focus on modern alienation, Antonioni’s films of this period, all starring Monica Vitti, his lover at the time—L’avventura (famously booed at Cannes for confounding its audience with its longueurs and lack of closure), La notte, L’eclisse, Red Desert—have stood the test of time. And his less iconic later films, like Identification of a Woman, have only grown more compelling and mysterious as the years have passed.