Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni

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Zabriskie Point Trailer


The late 1960s - Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California, United States. A boy and a girl meet in seclusion in an isolated corner of the desert and indulge in sexual and chemical experimentation. Mark (Mark Frechette) is wanted by the police for allegedly killing a policeman during a student riot, and Daria (Daria Halprin) is a property developer that is intent on helping develop land in the desert to make new homes. This turns Zabriskie Point into both a symbol of the future and a safe refuge from the outside world. 

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Zabriskie Point Review


Very Good
In Osha Neumann's memoir of his time as a '60s anarchist radical, Up Against the Wall Motherf**ker!, he describes the scene in 1969 as one of considerable change. He writes, "The season of love, rage, and extravagant expectations was coming to an end... hard drugs replaced LSD. The young dropouts had a nervous, ragged edge... Optimism was giving way to a tight-lipped struggle for survival." Students were taking to the streets and there was a paranoid energy in the air. Anything could change at any second.

It was like living on a powder keg.

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Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni

Eros Review


Weak
A triptych of short films, all on the subject of eroticism, sounds tantalizing, so it's too bad none of the shorts contained in Eros actually hits its mark. This despite the fact they were separately made by three of the most renowned directors of the past 40 years: Wong Kar Wai, Steven Soderbergh and Michelangelo Antonioni. What they manage in their individual shorts in Eros are but minor variations on themes and aesthetics already well explored in their own full-length films.

Wong Kar Wai's bluntly titled "The Hand" and set in his recurring milieu of early '60s Hong Kong, follows Zhang (Chang Chen), a humble tailor's apprentice, over his years-long infatuation with a beautiful socialite-turned-prostitute, Miss Hua (Gong Li). Kar Wai's treatment is aesthetically fussy, in keeping with his well-known style, but dramatically bland. There simply isn't much at stake here as the timorous Zhang must be content with the, ahem, hand jobs (see title) he receives all too rarely from the object of his infatuation. Now, hand job scenes (even in non-porno cinema) can be extremely erotic because of what they offer and what they only tease at (for a convincer, see the relevant scene in Michael Heneke's otherwise awful The Piano Teacher. Wow!). In any case, the segment's manually operated pseudo-erotica provide the only spike in an otherwise indolent story that never substantially conveys its central concern: Zhang's steady sexual awakening and his unshakeable devotion to an unavailable woman. Still, Kar Wai's fabulously crafted sound and imagery are both par for the course for this director and his world-class cinematographer, Christopher Doyle.

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The Passenger Review


Very Good
The ads for Volkswagen declare that "on the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers," the gist being that there are people who lead and take charge and others who are content to stare out the window and let things happen.

If the passenger became a driver, could he or she handle all the metaphorical responsibilities that go with it? That question is central to Michelangelo Antonioni's re-released The Passenger (1975) and the answer provides a sobering glimpse into the souls of the contenders who foolishly wish for that second chance, that empty stretch of road, and don't have any idea where to start.

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Beyond The Clouds Review


Good
Michelangelo Antonioni obsesses on the naked bodies of a good half-dozen Euro-stars in this wandering tour of western European sexual relations in various combinations. Based on a collection of his own short stories, Antonioni connects four such tales (infidelity, happenstance, old-fashioned horniness, etc.) with the narrative of a film director (John Malkovich) who's looking for a story to base his next movie on. We find we're lucky enough if we can just get one story out of this two-hour ordeal, which wanders aimlessly in art-house hell as often as it enchants.

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L'Eclisse Review


Very Good
It's impossible not to sound like a snob when writing about Antonioni's movies -- hell, the guy's name is "Michelangelo" -- but writing about the spare L'Eclisse is the worst job of all.

Antonioni's films rarely vary from a tight thematic script that ranges from melancholy to loneliness to despair. In L'Eclisse, he focuses that beam on Monica Vitti, an almost stereotypically detached Italian woman whose engagement falls apart in the opening scenes of the film -- though it's virtually without dialogue for 15 minutes. Eventually Vitti's Vittoria hooks up with Piero (Alain Delon), and the remainder of the film concerns their relationship -- as it were, anyway.

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Identification Of A Woman Review


Bad
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1982 film Identification of a Woman never saw release... and now we know why! Making its way to video after close to 20 years, Identification is a long-winded and oh-so-serious tale of a famous film director who, after being dumped by his wife, fools around with a couple of women as he tries to imagine a way to make a movie out of his sad sad life. The problem is not only that the two woman look and act so much alike there's little to differentiate them from each other, but our "hero" is also kind of a jerk with nothing new to say about female sexuality, which is purportedly what the movie is supposed to be about. Like most of Antonioni's work, Identification is very long and doesn't stray very far from the holding pattern it locks itself into, and only die-hard fans are likely to get much out of enduring its 2+ hour running time.

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L'Avventura Review


Essential
Clap, you bastards! After the receipt of scathing reviews during its initial presentation in Cannes, the urban alienation of Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura feels more prevalent than ever. Look around at society and you'll find a collection of bored automatons plugging away at jobs they hate, returning to bourgeois homes and values as a mask to disguise their malaise. If Fight Club didn't have Brad Pitt and Edward Norton smashing each other's faces in as catharsis, their lives might resemble those of Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti) and Anna (Lea Massari), a couple who can barely make love without distraction.

In their perpetual search for fun, this unhappy pair are all giggles as they embark on a yacht trip near Sicily, swimming and exploring a nearby island. Anna finds amusement in yelling "shark" when her friends are bathing, just to see if there's any life in them. "Throw up your head and then you'll wake up in the Dawn of the Dead," indeed. No wonder Anna claims she wants to be left alone.

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Il Grido Review


Good
One of many duds from Michelangelo Antonioni, this time a two hour affair with a laborer who gets dumped by his married girlfriend after her husband dies, then takes off on an inexplicable road trip to find himself. Which he never does. In typical Neorealist fashion, Steve Cochran's Aldo bumbles from bad to worse, eventually croaking after two full hours of misery. Not much artistry is exhibited along the way; other Italian films from the 1950s have told this story ("Life sucks.") with more aplomb.

The Mystery Of Oberwald Review


Weak
A minor work of Michelangelo Antonioni, The Mystery of Oberwald is not something many outside the Antonioni-obsessed will care to seek out. Shot on videotape in 1980, the movie once stood as a daring experiment in feature filmmaking by using the nascent format of tape. Today, it looks cheesy and cheap, akin to a low-budget soap opera shot in a hurry.

And soap opera isn't far from the mark. Oberwald's story, based on Jean Cocteau's play L'Aigle a Deux Tetes, involves a mourning queen (Antonioni regular Monica Vitti) whose husband has recently been killed. An assassin is on her tail as well, but when the two finally meet, she sees he has been injured, and owing in part to his resemblance to her late husband, the two fall in love, Romeo & Juliet style. Like I said, a soap opera.

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Michelangelo Antonioni

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Michelangelo Antonioni Movies

Zabriskie Point Trailer

Zabriskie Point Trailer

The late 1960s - Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California, United States. A boy...

The Passenger Movie Review

The Passenger Movie Review

The ads for Volkswagen declare that "on the road of life, there are passengers and...

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