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The Antonioni Manifesta
by Davell Swan
Jeanne Moreau takes a bath in Antonioni's 'La Notte' (1961). photo: courtesy M. Antonioni
WE'RE A FACTION OF CINEFANATICS
believing that the mature-era films of Michelangelo Antonioni beginning with the Great Tetralogy—"L'Avventura" (The Adventure, 1960), "La Notte" (The Night, 1961), "L'Eclisse" (The Eclipse, 1962), and "Il Deserto Rosso" (The Red Desert, 1964)—express the maximum cine data via the most minimal means, in the most starkly modern manner possible.
This is our Antonionista manifesta:
A. In cinema, as in architecture, interior and industrial design, less is more.
B. Isolated locations like deserts, industrial terrains and ocean utilize less ornament but produce more location.
C. Dialogue is to be used to impart info and mood, not conversational progression or plot exposition which causes unnecessary clutter, in order to preserve a pristine vision of stark essence.
D. Similarly with the love object, essentialized by Monica Vitti, Michelangelo's partner in filmmaking and romance; her less obviousness, less verbal expression and less useless womanliness, equaling more androgyny, made her the Perfect Female and Antonionian protagonist.
E. Virtually all other filmmakers utilize more filmic language than, and are thereby less than, Antonioni.
Monica Vitti, long Antonioni's principal female, takes a bath in Michael Ritchie's 'Almost Perfect Affair' (1979). photo: courtesy M. Ritchie
Davell Swan is a media maven, cultural anthropologist, spoken-word artist and writer living in San Francisco and can be reached
Posted on May 07, 2013 - 04:13 AM