Michelangelo Antonioni

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Antonioni
Silence as Loud as Noise

27 April – 25 May 2013

Pera Film in collaboration with Istituto Italiano di Cultura is presenting seven films and selected shorts of Antonioni beginning from the 40s until the early 80s.

Michelangelo Antonioni was born on 29 September 1912 and died in 2007 at the age of 94, having worked until almost the very end. Though he worked throughout the forties 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 Affairand 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.

Antonioni deftly manipulates the quieter, indirect edges of cinematic structure, often so discretely that his existential puzzles are felt before they can be intellectualized. The negative space is as prominent as the positive, silence as loud as noise, absence as palpable as presence, and passivity as driving a force as direct action. Transgressing unspoken cinematic laws, Antonioni frequently focuses on female protagonists while refusing to sentimentalize or morally judge his characters and placing them on equal footing with the other elements within his total dynamic system, like sounds or set pieces. Together with Fellini, Bergman and Kurosawa, Michelangelo Antonioni is credited with defining the modern art film. And yet Antonioni’s cinema is also recognized today for defying any easy categorization, with his films ultimately seeming to belong to their own distinctive genre.

More about the films & screening times

Story of a Love Affair

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: Lucia Bosé, Massimo Girotti, Ferdinando Sarmi. Italy,98’, 1950, black & white. Italian with Turkish subtitles

Set in Milan, a sparklingly lurid cityscape, Story of a Love Affair tells of a wealthy industrialist who hires a private eye to investigate the past of his young wife Paola. The investigation turns up a former lover, Guido, and the possibility of both lovers’ implication in the death of Guido’s girlfriend. Guido and Paola renew their affair, but with her new status, Paola can no longer live on love alone . . .

Red Desert

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: Monica Vitti, Richard Harris, Carlo Chionetti. Italy,117’, 1964,  color. Italian with Turkish subtitles

Antonioni’s 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound.

Zabriskie Point

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Paul Fix . Italy,110’, 1970, color. English with Turkish subtitles

The opening half-verité footage of a student activist meeting sets the tone and themes of Antonioni’s meandering portrait of 60s America, a painterly magazine spread of the anti-establishment that at times alternates between abstract urban montage and humane illustration of iconic Americana. Encased within his glossy, seductive cinematography are abrasive scenes of police brutality, overt racism, oblivious consumerism, capitalistic violence and the ubiquitous drone of the Vietnam death toll.

Identification of a Woman

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: Tomas Milian, Daniela Silverio, Christine Boisson. Italy, France, 128’, 1982, color. Italian, French, English with Turkish subtitles

“I don’t know the story yet, but the main character is a woman,” claims the disoriented film director in Antonioni’s last Italian-set inquiry into the imprecise nature of human relationships. The film is a body- and soul-baring voyage into one man’s artistic and erotic consciousness. After his wife leaves him, a film director finds himself drawn into affairs with two enigmatic women: at the same time, he searches for the right subject and actress for his next film. This spellbinding anti-romance was a late-career coup for the legendary Italian filmmaker, and is renowned for its sexual explicitness and an extended scene on a fog-enshrouded highway that stands with the director’s greatest set pieces.

L’Avventura

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari. Italy, 143′, 1960, black & white. Italian with Turkish subtitles

The first of Antonioni’s breakthrough film trilogy, L’avventura proved an “adventure” from its rough, perilous production to its troubled release, including charges of obscenity and immorality. Using a widescreen canvas for the first time, Antonioni’s signature experimental narrative style blossoms fully and radically around absence, initially in the form of a woman’s mysterious disappearance during a trip to an island.

Blow-Up

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles. UK, USA,111’, 1966, color. English with Turkish subtitles

The first European art film to enjoy mass popularity, Antonioni’s mod London romp/metaphysical conundrum exploded commercially and critically – its graphic after-effects still felt today in both pop culture and high art. David Hemmings’ iconic photographer divides his work into authentic art and vapid economic necessity, yet his egotistical objectification of reality and blasé ownership of the image tests the limits of such simplistic divisions…

The Mystery of Oberwald

Director:  Michelangelo Antonioni. Cast: Monica Vitti, Paolo Bonacelli, Franco Branciaroli. Italy, 129’, 1981, color. Italian with Turkish subtitles

Intrigued by the possibilities presented by the then-new format of video, Antonioni made this experimental work, based on the Jean Cocteau drama The Two-Headed Eagle and starring a regal Monica Vitti.

Shorts

People of the Po Valley
1943, Italy, 9’, black & white, Italian with Turkish subtitles

Sanitation Department
1948, Italy, 8’, black & white, Italian with Turkish subtitles

Lies of Love
1949, Italy, 10’, black & white, Italian with Turkish subtitles

Superstition
1948, Italy, 9’, black & white, Italian with Turkish subtitles

India Kumbh Mela
1983, Italy, India 9’, color

Roma 90
1989, Italy, 9’, color

Sicillia
1997, Italy, 11’, color, Italian with Turkish subtitles

Lo sguardo di Michelangelo
2004, Italy, 15’, color, Italian with Turkish subtitles

Antonioni By Antonioni
1978, Italy, 22’, color, Italian with Turkish subtitles

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