Biography of Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007)

Director, screenwriter, producer and actor of Italian cinema born in Ferrara (Italy) on September 29, 1912, and died in Rome, on July 30, 2007.

Born in a middle class family, he/she studied philosophy and letters, economics and trade at the Technical Institute of Bologna. He/She was immediately devoted to journalism as a film critic in the pages of the newspaper Il Corriere Padano. He/She went to Rome at the end of the 1930s, and continued his film work in the Cinema magazine.

Gave his first steps in the cinema as Assistant Director in 1942, in films such as I due foscari, Enrico Fulchignoni, and Le visiteur du soir, by Marcel Carné; and as a scriptwriter in a pilota ritorna, by Roberto Rossellini. The war interrupted his career until he/she returned to the same tasks with Caccia tragica (1947), Giuseppe de Santis, and again as a collaborator in Film Rivista and Film d'oggi cinema magazines, as well as in Italy free newspaper.

The film allowed him to develop his first personal works (turned out very important people of Po - 1947 - by the realism of life around the river) until it gave leap into the film with Cronaca di an amore (1950), starting point for a differentiating look on social life that took root with unusual force in his work: the impossible love, the strength of women... Not surprised because you see how those characters who feel ignored tend to seek notoriety (Il vinti, 1952) while others failed to overcome its conventionality (La signora senza camelie, 1953); not strange the fact that Antonioni was able to assume pessimism - suicide - the works of Cesare Pavese (girlfriends, 1955) and give the approach which justifies action as search, as need for perfection.

From l'avventura (1960), he/she initiated and strengthened a journey through the universe of the incommunicado detention of the man in the society which aims to survive. For this reason, beyond unnecessary explanations - in many of his works are in air issues unresolved-, continues with the camera, as an extension of his gaze, the wandering of the characters in their fragility, their inevitable failures that are nothing more than a projection of the vacuum that envelops them. It embodied a defining visual element in their purposes: emanating sensuality was his muse for years, Monica Vitti. Thus built the night (1961), eclipse (1962) and the Red Desert (1964), in years of great creative intensity that led him to treat the same subject from complementary perspectives: indifference prevents see the happiness of being loved, and life confirms that proximity does not prevent the ignorance. Life means 'failure' for Antonioni.

The work of Antonioni was immersed in the critical flow which analyzed everything what was understood as a channeler of revivalist ideology or left in general. Each of the films of Italian director was, therefore, bounded by a few patterns that are understood beyond the purpose of the author. Antonioni always proposed a reflection on its surroundings, about the society that suffocated him, which isolated him from other characters - near or far - moving at the same time. So he/she tried to convey at every level, in every situation, those concerns that kept him alive intellectually. His films are disappointments, are filled with pessimism, acrimony, and each character conveys the indifference and rebels in incomprehension.

Antonioni visual references are built on silence, eyes empty and never found, insecurity in the proximity of his characters, the inner tragedy looking for irreversible solutions. It is the existential vein of a director who believed necessary to take the film to convey the emptiness of the soul, walking men and women aimlessly, unable to overcome her anguish, disappointment by the lives they lead, although the woman which reaffirm over the man. All of this based on the use of the plane as a place of encuentro-desencuentro, where the tempo of the story expands to an unspeakable and immerses the viewer in a State that the director took over as "boredom", and that criticism intended to enhance more than just the own Antonioni.

At the Festival de Cannes - framework in which six years earlier had been booed - he/she won the Palme d'Or for blow-up. Desire for a morning of summer (1966), a story in which opted for surprise the viewer with two models of structure: the action that takes place in the street and which arises in the laboratory, in which the essence of the story emerges with strength.

From this moment on, the career of Antonioni lost personal strength that both had been highlighted in critical areas. The majority public has always shown a separation (due largely to ignorance) with regard to its work which failed to surpass the goals already proposed later. Zabriskie Point (1970) and the reporter (1975) resumed some elements of his film, but not progressed in them, while the mystery of Oberwald (1980) did not cease to be for many a television experiment, and identification of a woman (1982), a history without force. The attempt of Wim Wenders to get back it to the address in beyond the clouds (1995), co-directed by both, was not enough so that a new generation of spectators showed their interest by the director of Ferrara.

In January 2000, he/she published the book Comincio a capire, which sums up 50 years of his artistic life.


[Antonioni has been scriptwriter of all his films]

Short films:

1947: People of the Po. 1948: Supestizione; Oltre l'oblio; Roma-Montevideo; Urban Netteza. 1949: L' loving menzogna; Sette canne, a dress; Ragazze in bienco; Bomarzo. 1950: La villa dei mostri; The funivia of the faloria; In più uomini. 1989: Rome ' 90; Kumba Mela. 1993: noto, Mandorli, Vulcano, Stromboli, Carnevale. 2000: Destinazione Verna.

Feature films:

1950: Cronaca di an amore. 1952: I vinti. 1953: "Amore in Città" (episode of Tentato suicide); The signora senza camelie. 1955: Friends. 1957: The cry. 1960: The adventure. 1961: The night. 1962: The eclipse. 1964: The red desert. 1965: "Il came" (episode of three female profiles). 1966: Blow up. Desire of a summer morning. 1970: Zabriskie Point. 1972: China (documentary). 1974: Reporter (editor). 1980: the mystery of Oberwald (and editor). 1982: identification of a woman (and editor). 1995: beyond the clouds (and editor).

Other works:

1942: I due foscari (ay. address); Les visiteurs du soir (ay. address); A pilota ritorna (scriptwriter). 1947: Caccia tragica (scriptwriter). 1952: the white Sheik (scriptwriter). 1957: Questo nostro mondo (supervisor). 1958: Queen of the desert (some scenes director).


VV. AA.: Michelangelo Antonioni. Identificazione di an autore, Parma: Pratiche, 1983.

ANTONIONI, M.: The red desert. Barcelona: Aymá, 1965.

-: The night. The eclipse. The Red Desert, Madrid: Alianza, 1970.

ARISTARCHUS, g.: Its Antonioni. Materiali per an analisi critica, Rome: La Zattera di Babele, 1988.

ARROWSMITH, w.: Antonioni. The Poet of the Image, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

CHATMAN, S.: Antonioni or the Surface of the World, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

MANZINI, M. (ed.): Michelangelo Antonioni: architecture of vision, Madrid: Spanish film library, 1986.

TINAZZI, g.: Michelangelo Antonioni, Florence: the Nuova Italy, 1976.