Saturday, July 05, 2008

[Michelangelo Antonioni Retrospective] Antonioni Visto Da Antonioni (Antonioni Seen by Antonioni) (1978)

Finally the documentaries I was waiting to watch, in order to have a glimpse and chance to listen to what Antonioni had to say about his own films, and to shed some insight into the manner of his work. Given that he has recently passed away, the only way we're gonna glean information straight from the horse's mouth, would be from his recorded interviews and featurettes made about his life.

Antonioni Seen By Antonioni is a rare interview done by film critic Lino Micciche in 1978 after a retrospective of Antonioni's movies were played on television. Hearing from the maestro himself, he touched on the changes in his movies from neo-realism to the 50s and 60s, and about the techniques he employed.

A major talking point was censorship, where he shared with us that the Italian episode in The Vanquished was his first great battle with the censors which they eventually won. The segment was supposed to be about neo-fascism, with a man who committed suicide but made to look like it was a murder by his political rivals. That had to be changed to what we now see, as he had to make do with a young man smuggling cigarettes instead.

There was also talk about his films being unfeeling, sophisticated and intelligent, but I guess, confirming my suspicion that his movies are quite women-centric, his opinion was that women are a more subtle filter of reality. Interesting thought.

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