Michelangelo Antonioni: An Introduction

Michelangelo Antonioni: An Introduction

Michelangelo Antonioni: An Introduction

Michelangelo Antonioni: An Introduction

Excerpt

The photography in these short films--particularly in Gente del Po and Netteza Urbana --has the special characteristics that are to be found in his feature films. Also, the musical scores mark the beginning of Antonioni's collaboration with Giovanni Fusco (see page 165). In Netteza Urbana , Antonioni wanted to have a saxophone arrangement of a Bach prelude to complement the jazz arrangements written by Fusco, but a musicographer from Lux Films (the producer) cried sacrilege and it was played on the piano.

Antonioni's documentaries are too often neglected by critics. They contain the seeds of his major works, and are sometimes freer experiments than the full-length films that followed. In Gente del Po , the tragic depiction of the people's misery was as revolutionary a force in the documentary field as Ossessione in the narrative; as unusual a work in contrast with Emmer 's and Gras 's art films as was Ossessione in contrast with Tosca and Scipio Africanus .

2. The First Features: Cronaca di un Amore, I Vinti, La Signora senza Camelie

Antonioni returned to Rome from Cortina d'Ampezzo to try to get backing for a full-length film of his own. "In 1950 I found a man from Turin who was willing to finance a film for me. I proposed the theme of Cronaca di un Amore , but he did not like it. I insisted, and he finally said, 'Come see me. If you can convince me, we'll make the film.'

"I went to see him. He lived in a hotel. In that hotel room, I talked steadily for four or five hours; anyone who knows me will understand how difficult this was for me. I had an unknown face opposite me. I did not know how to talk, since I had always preferred to remain silent. My words brought expressions to his face which were incomprehensible to me. At last he told me that he still didn't like the subject, but he understood that I liked it very much, and that was enough for him."

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