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Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

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Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Old 01-04-13, 04:37 PM
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Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

My movie based New Year's resolution is to watch less junk and more artsy films. Why? I want to school myself, I want to be a pompous dick, I want to expand my horizons, go with which ever option you like.

In either case, I know nothing about Michelangelo Antonioni, and was wondering if anyone could suggest films of his that are notable, classics, and or bad?

Thanks for any help.
Old 01-04-13, 04:42 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

You must start with L'avventura. This is not up for debate. One of the greatest films ever made and the most representative Antonioni film.

Then go for La notte, L'eclisse, Red Desert, and The Passenger.
Old 01-04-13, 04:43 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Red Desert
L'Avventura
Eclipse
Identification of a Woman
La Notte
Old 01-04-13, 04:46 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Also Le Amiche is pretty decent, but not essential. Blow Up is, imo, quite dated. See Blow Out instead.
Old 01-04-13, 04:47 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Originally Posted by Terminal View Post
My movie based New Year's resolution is to watch less junk and more artsy films. Why? I want to school myself, I want to be a pompous dick, I want to expand my horizons, go with which ever option you like.

In either case, I know nothing about Michelangelo Antonioni, and was wondering if anyone could suggest films of his that are notable, classics, and or bad?

Thanks for any help.
See some Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti and Fellini first:
PAISAN
BICYCLE THIEVES
SENSO
LA STRADA
Old 01-04-13, 04:51 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Blow Up hasn't aged well. Blow Out though is a damn film movie and great BD too.
Old 01-04-13, 05:14 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I find Blow Up, which was hands down his most famous and revered film while he was in his prime, to be among his worst.

L'Aventura and The Passengar are his best in my opinion.

I also agree that to "get" Antonioni you need to see several neo-realist films and some early Fellini in order to see what was revolutionary about Antonioni's films...what he was reacting against. You should probably also see Resneis' Hiroshima Mon Amore to see another filmmaker working in the same realm.
Old 01-04-13, 05:18 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I still like Blow Up.
Old 01-04-13, 05:43 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

You guys are seriously great. Keep em coming. I'm sick of asking around and getting "Have you seen Lord of the Rings?" or "I hear that movie The Matrix is good."

Writing it all down. Thanks.
Old 01-04-13, 05:46 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post

I also agree that to "get" Antonioni you need to see several neo-realist films and some early Fellini in order to see what was revolutionary about Antonioni's films...what he was reacting against. You should probably also see Resneis' Hiroshima Mon Amore to see another filmmaker working in the same realm.
I don't know, while I think it would be instructional to see those other films first, I don't think it's necessary essential to get what Antonioni was doing with his films. No art exists in a vacuum, but good art also works even if you aren't fully aware of the context in which it was made. It may work better or give you a deeper understanding if you do know the full context, but I wouldn't say it's essential.
Old 01-04-13, 05:50 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Man, i love Blow Up. Never understood why "dated" is a bad thing. It's a fantastic Swinging London time capsule and one of my favourite 60s movies. I find it quite hypnotic and oddly moving. Surprised to see the hate for it here.

The Passenger is also great but VERY slow for those who care about such things.
Old 01-04-13, 05:53 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

By restructuring film narrative, Antonioni along with Godard is one of the most important & influential filmmakers of the last 50 years.
He has influenced Andrei Tarkovsky, Wong Kar-wai, Hsiao-hsien Hou, Bela Tarr, Ming-liang Tsai, Kelly Reichardt, Clair Denis, Wim Wenders,
Sofia Coppola, Michael Haneke, Gus Van Sant & a ton of others

Check these out:

L'avventura
La notte
L'eclisse
Red Desert
The Passenger
Blow Up ("dated" maybe, but still a masterpiece)
Le Amiche
Il Grido

If you want you can also check out Zabriskie Point but it is one of those love it or hate it films.

Last edited by inri222; 01-04-13 at 06:19 PM.
Old 01-04-13, 05:53 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Well, dated can be a good thing or a bad thing. I just watched Two-Lane Blacktop, which is very dated to its particular time, but it does a great job of evoking something in the characters. Blow Up seems like an excuse to show of swinging London and I never cared about the characters themselves. Blow Out, however, I think does a better job of telling the same kind of story.
Old 01-04-13, 07:42 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I find him to be a frightful bore. [/snooty accent]
Old 01-04-13, 07:57 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I've only seen Blow Up, but I remember it being an intriguing story with some great eye candy indicative of the period.

I do own The Passenger, should probably watch it sometime this year.
Old 01-04-13, 09:56 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

L'Avventura or Blow Up.
Old 01-04-13, 10:10 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I'll buck the trend and suggest starting with some of his early films - my two favorites being Il Grido and La signora senza camelie. They'll give you a sense of what he's all about - but they're also considerably more accessible and less alienating than a lot of his later films. After that, you should delve into stuff like Red Desert and the "Alienation Trilogy."

His 60s films are what he's best known for, but I'm afraid if you just dive right into them (particularly L'avventura) you might decide to swear off "artsy" movies forever. Not because they're bad by any means, but because they're very different from what most people have come to expect from movies.

(Of course, maybe I'm only saying all this because, as much as I like a lot of his work, I still have a hard time with L'avventura.)
Old 01-05-13, 10:13 AM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Originally Posted by FRwL View Post
I find him to be a frightful bore. [/snooty accent]
Maybe he's great, maybe he's terrible, I dunno. I'm not one who really gets Antonioni and if I'm completely honest I do find his films terribly boring.

My advice to the original poster is that if he's just starting out with world cinema, Antonioni might not be the best first choice. I'd go with someone more accessible like Kurosawa or a "populist" Bergman film like Smiles Of A Summer Night or Fanny & Alexander, or even The Seventh Seal. A lot of Fellini is great for "entertainment" value as well. These guys are considered world cinema 101 for a reason. Antonioni is more of a world cinema 102, after you've mastered the basics.
Old 01-05-13, 12:54 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Originally Posted by Strevlac View Post
My advice to the original poster is that if he's just starting out with world cinema, Antonioni might not be the best first choice. I'd go with someone more accessible like Kurosawa or a "populist" Bergman film like Smiles Of A Summer Night or Fanny & Alexander, or even The Seventh Seal. A lot of Fellini is great for "entertainment" value as well. These guys are considered world cinema 101 for a reason. Antonioni is more of a world cinema 102, after you've mastered the basics.
This is great advice. If you're new to arthouse cinema, it's better to start with a director like Kurosawa, Fellini, or Ingmar Bergman.
Old 01-05-13, 01:02 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Originally Posted by Strevlac View Post
Maybe he's great, maybe he's terrible, I dunno. I'm not one who really gets Antonioni and if I'm completely honest I do find his films terribly boring.

My advice to the original poster is that if he's just starting out with world cinema, Antonioni might not be the best first choice. I'd go with someone more accessible like Kurosawa or a "populist" Bergman film like Smiles Of A Summer Night or Fanny & Alexander, or even The Seventh Seal. A lot of Fellini is great for "entertainment" value as well. These guys are considered world cinema 101 for a reason. Antonioni is more of a world cinema 102, after you've mastered the basics.
I've seen a lot of Kurosawa, and some Fellini. I wouldn't call myself an Arthouse scholar, but I've dipped my feet in a lot of arthouse. From Fellini I saw La Dolce Vita, and from Kurosawa, I saw Seven Samurai, Hidden Fortress, and Rashomon. I definitely want to see much more Kurosawa, Fellini, and Bergman for sure. I have three Bergman movies on my DVR which I've been waiting for the right time to watch.

These movies are like fine wine. You definitely can't watch them while doing laundry or chores, heh.

Thanks for the advice! It's definitely appreciated.
Old 01-05-13, 01:40 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

L'eclisse is one of my favorites from him but as others have said, L'avventura, La notte, Red Desert, and The Passenger as must see movies at some point.
Old 01-14-13, 07:28 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

Thanks for the suggestions. Really, thanks everyone. You've been a huge help.
Old 01-14-13, 07:31 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I love watching L'Avventura. Great film, and the scenery is beautiful. I've been boating in that area of the Mediterranean before in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, and it is captured so well!
Old 01-14-13, 07:43 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

All of the suggestions in the thread are fantastic starting points. I suggest as others have, starting off with some neorealist classics from other directors to put the Antonioni revolution in context and from there I would launch right into the Isolation/Alienation trilogy followed by Red Dessert, The Passenger, and then Identification of a Woman.

I think that would present a full picture of the director's arc in terms of the style he is credited with and by Identification of a Woman, you will be able to appreciate exactly what is wrong with the film (it is Antonioni doing Antonioni). I would not have been nearly as bothered by Identification of a Woman had I not seen Antonioni's earlier films first, but I also would not have been able to enjoy it half as much (if that makes any sense).

Once you conclude that hefty lineup, I'd move into his less stereotypical fare starting with Blow Up followed by Zabriskie Point and then coming full circle to his earliest films as a segue back into the neorealist movement you started your journey.

If you want to continue on in Italy Art Film 101/102, I would move from those films into Fellini's filmography in strict chronological order as he progresses and advances his style consistently from one film to the next. Fellini's remains IMO the director with the most consistent and personal filmography among the masters. You can really see exactly where he is going as an artist and person from film to film without the genre detours that litter many other great directors' filmography's. Bergman is another consistent master in this regard.
Old 07-20-17, 10:30 PM
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Re: Michelangelo Antonioni films -- Any suggestions?

I watched Red Desert (1964) starring Monica Vitti and Richard Harris about a troubled woman's desperate isolation in modern, industrialist society. Vitti plays Giuliana, a young mother who finds herself neglected by her husband after a serious car accident leaves her feeling constantly anxious and disorientated. She gets involved with her husband's colleague(Harris) who is overcome by her beauty, but she's never sure if he truly loves her or if she's just a fleeting thrill to him.

This is a moody and atmospheric film with a lot of amazing shots of Vitti stumbling through an Italian winter in the throes of industrial sprawl. This is about a woman struggling to find meaning and purpose in a repetitive and ugly world, and the different ways of coping with near-constant loneliness. The shots of polluted rivers and behemoth factories are somehow beautiful, and the way fog from the harbor envelopes and absorbs characters is pure cinema. The deliberate pace is not for everybody, but for people interested in an artistic portrayal of alienation and depression, this is a must-watch.

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