Italy’s great film director remains elusive as ever
Antonioni: Centenary Essays
edited by Laura Rascaroli and John David Rhodes
Palgrave Macmillan/British Film Institute, $44 pb, 337 pp, 9781844573844
Five years after Michelangelo Antonioni’s death, the ground-breaking Italian director’s films occupy an increasingly important but odd position. Exemplifying serious ‘art cinema’ at the peak of its European expression, his most famous work continues to compel yet also cause problems for critical reception. How to write about such demanding and endlessly rewarding films without falling back on what we are often told are the old clichés of ‘alienation’ and chilly formalism? A welcome addition to the slowly percolating appreciations of the film-maker in English, Antonioni: Centenary Essays quite visibly, if not perhaps intentionally, struggles with and exemplifies this challenge.