Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Post 500: Another Important Death

So, apparently this week, all of my favorite people have decided to die. The innovator of the West Coast Offense in Bill Walsh. The Swedish filmmaking genius Ingmar Bergman. Now, I have another personally tragic death to report. Michelangelo Antonioni, one of the filmmakers of the 1960's along with Federico Fellini who made Italian film relevant again on the international stage, has passed on. He was 94 years old.

I think along with Bergman, Antonioni is one of my favorite directors of all-time. His movies were always deep, penetrating studies on the culture around us and how we exist within it and within ourselves. His pace was always slow, but that was the beauty of it. The slowness gives the viewer time to think about decisions the characters would make and work themselves into their positions. If anything, the pace made for better films. The picture above is from the last film in his early 60's trilogy L'Eclisse (The Eclipse). This trilogy also includes one of my all-time favorite films in L'Avventura, a study about how one finds love and what love can do to the heart.

While Antonioni was not one of the strongest writers in film history, he was without question one of the best, if not the best, aesthetes in the industry. His crisp frames, tracking techniques, and perfectly lethargic style with the camera have influenced many filmmakers since him. He was amongst the best to draw out emotions from pure aesthetics. The traces of his influence can be seen, most obviously, in the work of Sofia Coppola and Mike Mills. And traces of his aesthetics can be seen in many other films as well. While he has not made a film in a while, his films are already considered classics and will continue to be such for years and years to come. And, with that, I say Ciao! to Signor Antonioni.