Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni 1912-2007

This year in the space of 2 months (July-Aug) world cinema lost three of its greatest directors. This tribute comes after our two earlier ones to Edward Yang and Ingmar Bergman.

Michelangelo Antonioni was an Italian modernist film director whose films are widely considered as some of the most influential in film aesthetics. More than any other director, he encouraged filmmakers to explore elliptical and open-ended narrative.
This program features his most important works.

The Schedule

Sat 20 Oct
2.00pm - Il Grido (106 min)
4.00pm - L’Avventura (145 min)
6.30pm - L'Eclisse (125min)
Sun 21 Oct
2.00pm - La Notte (121 min)
4.15pm - Red Desert (116 min)
6.30pm - Blow-Up (111 min)
Mon 22 Oct
8.00pm - The Passenger (119min)

HELP Univ College Theatrette, Pusat Bandar Damansara, KL
Admission by membership, available at the door: RM60 1 year (students RM30); RM40 6 mths; RM30 4 mths
Free admission for Alliance Francaise members & HELP students
Enquiries: 012-2255136


Il Grido (The Cry; 1957, 106 min)

Aldo, a factory worker, fails to persuade his long-time lover Irma to marry him, and leaves town with their daughter to wander all over the Po Valley. Unable to forget Irma, he returns home, only to find her now living in a new home with a baby. Deeply depressed, he mounts the high tower in his former workplace…Il Grido marks a return for Antonioni to working class stories, but it continues his exploration of social alienation. Not as widely praised as his next film L’Avventura, but some consider it a better film. Winner of the Golden Leopard, Locarno International Film Festival, and the association of Italian film critics’ Silver Ribbon for Best Cinematography (Gianni di Venanzo).
L’Avventura (The Adventure; 1960, 145 min)
A girl vanishes from a group of bored and wealthy socialites on holiday, and her friends half-heartedly go in search of her. L'Avventura was Antonioni's international breakthrough, a classic study of an alienated Italian middle-class that made a star of the young Monica Vitti. Jeered by a startled audience at the 1960 Cannes film festival, it was later voted the second best movie ever made (after Citizen Kane).

La Notte (1961, 121 min)

The middle section of Antonioni’s trilogy on bourgeois alienation, La Notte covers 24 hours in the breakdown of a typical middle class marriage. Marcello Mastroianni is a novelist with a block, out of touch with his own instincts, while the wife (Jean Moreau) is a bored socialite who understands her own predicament but doesn’t know how to get past it.

L’Eclisse (The Eclipse; 1962, 125 min)

With L’Avventura and La Notte, this film completes Antonioni’s trilogy on doomed relationships in a fractured world. Lead actress Monica Vitti has a traumatic bust-up with a bookish man, and apathetically lets herself get involved with a brash young stockbroker (Alain Delon). A more formally innovative work than its predecessors.

The Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso; 1964, 116 min)

Red Desert sends Monica Vitti on a confused, blasted odyssey through a modern industrial wilderness. It is arguably Antonioni's most bold and ambitious film; a peerless study of existential dread, pulsating with lurid colours. “…an aesthetic feast…perhaps the most extraordinary and riveting film of Antonioni’s entire career.” (Time Out)

Blow-Up (1966, 111 min)

Blow-Up, Antonioni's English-language debut, remains the archetypal Swinging 60s London thriller. David Hemmings is the modish photographer embroiled (possibly) in a murder plot, and yet nothing is quite as it seems in a film that taunts and teases the viewer. Significantly, Blow-Up climaxes with a mimed tennis match in which Hemming is lured into chasing after a lost "ball".

The Passenger (1975, 119 min)

The Passenger casts Jack Nicholson as a TV reporter who exchanges identity with a dead man and goes on the run, only to find himself hunted by his wife and some menacing strangers. Elegant and enigmatic, the film’s opening, charting the burnt-out journalist’s progress through an endless desert, and the final twenty minutes – including a virtuoso seven-minute single take – are stunning.

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