Michaelangelo Antonioni dies
The director of 'Blowup', 'Zabriske Point' and 'The Passenger' has died at the age of 94
Born in Ferrara, Italy in September 1912, Antonioni flirted with business and journalism before eventually joining the Centro Sperimentale di Cineamatographia film school in 1940. He went on to write a screenplay for Roberto Rossellini and make a series of documentaries, the success of which helped him finance his first feature film, 1950’s 'Story of a Love Affair'.
But it wasn’t until 'L’avventura' in 1960 that he found international acclaim. The story of a woman’s disappearance on a boating trip, the film was booed when it first screened in Cannes, but eventually went on to win the Festival’s jury prize.
His next three films – 'The Night', 'The Eclipse' and 'The Red Desert' – all employed sparse dialogue and long takes to present Antonioni’s vision of man’s alienation in the modern world, a theme that would underpin his work throughout his career.
Antonioni then travelled to London to make his first English-language film, 'Blowup'. Starring David Hemmings as a fashion photographer who may or may not have captured a murder on film, it earned Antonioni Oscar nominations for best screenplay and best director.
He followed that with 'Zabriskie Point', a complex comment on American consumerism and materialism, and 'The Passenger', which starred Jack Nicholson as a journalist researching a documentary in the North African desert, the latter of which was recently re-released to great critical acclaim.
Jack Nicholson went on to present Antonioni with a special lifetime achievement award in 1995, though due to poor health, his output dramatically decreased over the last 20 years of his life, his last film being a segment of the 2004 triptych 'Eros'. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Erica.
Author: Chris Tilly
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