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Michelangelo Antonioni

MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI, who died this past July at the age of ninety-four, will be remembered as one of the greatest visual artists of the cinema, in the company of Sergei Eisenstein, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Josef von Sternberg, and Max Ophüls. Here was a director who was not only a serious student of form, color, and mise-en-scène but perhaps the medium’s most visionary practitioner. Antonioni’s striking frames and at times astonishingly beautiful shots, however, do not distract from but rather intensify his principal preoccupation—the depiction of the human condition. His art is like Goya’s: often sad and unpleasant in content, yet gorgeous in appearance.

His stories—minimal though they may be—turn on the plight of individuals, especially men, caught up in personal dilemmas and bewildering feelings of alienation, of being out of place, of having lost incentive and direction.

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