Michelangelo Antonioni

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Michelangelo Antonioni
BirthplaceFerrara, Italy
Film director, screenwriter, editor and short story writer

Antonioni, Michelangelo

(mëkālän`jālō äntōnyô`nē), 1912–2007, Italian film director and scriptwriter, b. Ferrara, Italy. In the 1940s he made documentaries that contributed to the development of Italian neorealism. He continued to occasionally make documentaries throughout his life, e.g., the controversial Chung Kuo—Cina (1973), vignettes of early 1970s China. His later feature films, which turned away from neorealism to more personal statements, proved to be controversial among audiences and extremely influential with younger filmmakers. These slow-moving and often enigmatic works deal with the alienation, malaise, and loveless eroticism of modern life, with plot and dialogue often subordinate to visual and aural images. His works include Le Amiche (1955); a trilogy consisting of L'Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L'Eclisse (1962); The Red Desert (1964), his first color film; Blow-Up (1966), his best-known film; Zabriskie Point (1970), his first American film and a commercial flop; The Passenger (1975); Identification of a Woman (1982); and Beyond the Clouds (1995), based on a book of his short stories.


See C. di Carlo and G. Tinazzi, The Architecture of Vision: Writings and Interviews on Cinema/Michelangelo Antonioni (tr. 1996, repr. 2007); studies by I. Cameron and R. Wood (rev. ed. 1971), S. Chatman (1985), S. Rohdie (1990), W. Arrowsmith, ed. (1995), and P. Brunette (1998); T. Perry, Michelangelo Antonioni, A Guide for Reference and Resources (1986); E. Antonioni's Making a Film for Me Is Living (film, 1995).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Antonioni, Michelangelo


Born Sept. 29, 1912, in Ferrara. Italian director. He has been a film critic, a scriptwriter, and a producer of documentary films.

In 1950, Antonioni made his first feature film, Story of a Love Affair. The common theme which runs through his works is the isolation of man in contemporary bourgeois society. He has made the films Le Amiche (1955), The Cry (1957, in Soviet release Despair), L’Avventura (1959), La Notte (1960), Eclipse (1962), Red Desert (1964), Blow-Up (1967), and Zabriskie Point (1972). Not accepting the contemporary bourgeois reality, Antonioni, with the skill of a researcher and astute psychologist, shows the destruction of man’s internal ties with the surrounding world. The tragic lack of mutual understanding between people, the aimlessness of existence, the spiritual impoverishment of his heroes, who find it impossible to overcome their isolation, are depicted as the sole and inevitable form of life for all mankind. Antonioni’s films are pessimistic; they are strongly marked by irrational motifs. The pictures bear the mark of his great skill as a director—his subtle choice of means of expression and the subordination of all the components of the film (music, camera work, and actors’ performances) to the director’s scheme.


Turovskaia, M. M. “Antonioni . . .” Iskusstvo kino, 1962, no. 6.
Karaganov, A. “Vstrechi v Italii.” Iskusstvo kino, 1965, no. 3.
Capri, F. Michelangelo Antonioni. Parma, 1958.
Leprohon, P. Michelangelo Antonioni. [Paris, 1961.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.