Saturday, June 21, 2008

[Michelangelo Antonioni Retrospective] Fare un film per me è vivere (To Make a Film is to be Alive ) (1996)

I was actually looking forward to the documentaries this week to shed some insight into the man whose films are showcased in the Retrospective, but after today's session, I'm inclined to believe I've to wait until the last week's set of documentaries to savour what I had expected. One wonders about the significance of the title, and as explained by Lorenzo Cordelli, Enrica actually had gotten some flak for getting Michelangelo Antonioni out to do film work, despite his partial paralysis from a stroke. But as the title suggests, because of high medical expenses and funds running low, he has to, unfortunately, pay the bills too, and hence his involvement in the movie Beyond the Clouds.

Co-directed by Wim Wenders, we see glimpses of how Antonioni got to direct with limited mobility, though much of it had Wim Wenders in the central role of explaining Antonioni's vision and direction to cast and crew alike. From interview pieces with Wenders, we get to understand a little bit more on this collaboration process, and it explains quite clearly the dynamics between the two filmmakers on the set. What was sorely missed however, was more of Antonioni, as there wasn't any time set aside to hear what he has to share, and we can only try to understand from the little bits and pieces from his limited screen time.

It's very Beyond the Clouds specific, so much so that it could be deemed as a making-of documentary of the movie, rather than a general one on Antonioni. With cast interviews from Jean Reno to Sophie Marceau, given the large number of actors and actresses featured in what essentially is a collection of short films, we get to learn more about the cast's thoughts and feeling towards Antonioni's style and direction, and to hear about their thrill of being casted in an Antonioni movie. We get to experience certain events on set, but that's about it.

At most it whet my appetite for the movie, as it'll be screened only week after in this Retrospect, and to hang in there for more documentaries that will hopefully shed additional light on the big man himself.

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