Top Picks: Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni (1912 - 2007) is one of the foremost directors of Italian cinema. He has uniquely captured industrialization within Italy post WWII and is known for his representations of a character and class bordering on nihilism. His films carry an elegant, sparse, yet rich, dramatic tone. 

Identification of a woman Trying to find the perfect woman to inspire and star in his new film, a divorced film director pursues two vastly different women. Antonioni's heavily symbolic mis-en-scenes within 1980s Rome makes this film stand out from his oeuvre.

L'avventura A group of friends go boating in Sicily. When Anna mysteriously disappears, a search ensues leading to questions pertaining to Anna's relationship with men, particularly her boyfriend Sandro. Amidst confusion, Sandro and Anna's best friend, Claudia, fall in love. With a strange twist of events leading to the end, the finale is sublimely resolved in a spectacularly poignant scene. 

L'eclisse begins with the exhausting conclusion of a long-term relationship. As Vittoria falls for another man she struggles with the fact that she may just be entering another vicious cycle. Antonioni's camera doubles the impact by using the backdrop of an economically crippled Rome.

The Passenger Unlike the rest of the films cited, The Passenger takes place in various European countries and the main characters (including Jack Nicholson) speak English. Two men meet in a war torn part of Africa: one an undercover agent, the other a journalist. When one of them dies unexpectedly, the surviving man takes his identity, while the rest of the world thinks he's dead. Antonioni's statement seems to be about what it means to be on the run from one's life - more specifically, from one's historical identity - and what there's room for when all's set aside. 

Red desert is a cinematic masterpiece that asks two important questions: What is the price of modernity? And - is there any worthwhile beauty to be found in a scientific and technological world that has laid so much waste? In the story, Giulana's relationship with her husband Ugo is a solid one, yet lacks the delicacy she longs for after a car accident in which she was treated for shock. 

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