Oct 10, 2012

14th Oct; Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger

The Passenger
A film by Michelangelo Antonioni
English with English sub titles
Runtime: 126 mins
14th Oct 2012 ; 5.45 pm
Perks Mini Theater

There is an emptiness in the films of Michelangelo Antonioni that the director seems to love more than the people who intrude upon it. His films are never crowded. "The Passenger" (1975) begins with a man in a North African village surrounded by desert.
He hires a boy to lead him out into the wilderness, and then a man appears to lead him farther still and abandon him. Emptiness surrounds him. The man returns to the town alone. He is David Locke (Jack Nicholson), a journalist who was seeking an interview with guerrillas rumored to be somewhere in the desert hills.
A fatalistic tale of identity, destiny, coincidence, existential malaise, and the boundaries between the real and the imagined, Antonioni's pensive examination of the deceptive, destructive sway that dreams hold on their creators derives its magic from a deliberate inscrutability, an opaqueness in which familiar storytelling conventions are upended, and clear-cut analysis and categorization prove frustratingly insufficient.
  As it hurtles toward its climactic moment of transcendent liberation, The Passenger offers only answers that lead to more questions, its larger meaning(s) as open to interpretation as the vast Saharan desert that provides the film's initial setting.
Antonioni’s style, with the notable exception of his masterpiece BlowUp, is much more langorous and demanding. But like his earlier works L’Avventura and La Notte those willing to sit through it will be amply rewarded. The films of Michelangelo Antonioni are aesthetically complex – critically stimulating though elusive in meaning.
 They are ambiguous works that pose difficult questions and resist simple conclusions. Classical narrative causalities are dissolved in favour of expressive abstraction. Displaced dramatic action leads to the creation of a stasis occupied by vague feelings, moods and ideas. Confronted with hesitancy, the spectator is compelled to respond imaginatively and independent of the film.

Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper.
In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema" studying directorship at the School of Cinema. As he was indebted to neorealism his films reflect his bourgeois roots like in his first movie Cronaca di un amore (1950) or La signora senza camelie (1953) or Le amiche (1955).
His biggest success was the trilogy L'avventura (1960), La notte (1961), and L'eclisse (1962), with which he won several prizes. This success allowed him to go abroad and to work on international scale in English: e.g. Blowup (1966) in London and Zabriskie Point (1970) in the USA as well as Professione: reporter (1975). A stroke in 1985 severely inhibited his productivity until his death in 2007.

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