Michelangelo Red Antonioni Blue

Michelangelo Red Antonioni Blue: Eight Reflections on Cinema

Murray Pomerance
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnpgf
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  • Book Info
    Michelangelo Red Antonioni Blue
    Book Description:

    Michelangelo Antonioni, who died in 2007, was one of cinema's greatest modernist filmmakers. The films in his black and white trilogy of the early 1960s-L'avventura, La Notte, L'eclisse-are justly celebrated for their influential, gorgeously austere style. But in this book, Murray Pomerance demonstrates why the color films that followed are, in fact, Antonioni's greatest works. Writing in an accessible style that evokes Antonioni's expansive use of space, Pomerance discussesThe Red Desert, Blow-Up, Professione: Reporter (The Passenger), Zabriskie Point, Identification of a Woman, The Mystery of Oberwald, Beyond the Clouds, andThe Dangerous Thread of Thingsto analyze the director's subtle and complex use of color. Infusing his open-ended inquiry with both scholarly and personal reflection, Pomerance evokes the full range of sensation, nuance, and equivocation that became Antonioni's signature.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94830-3
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Plates
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. On the Images in This Book
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-3)

    In one of Antonioni’s films that I discuss in these pages, two characters meet by chance outside a theater after watching the same film. They talk about one another, about the chance of their encounter, but of the film they have not a word to say. A film can enter us and reside there, turning and changing through our biography and our fortune. To evoke a film, speak of it, try to write its long and ghostly presence: and especially an Antonioni film, one of the eight major works in color that he produced starting in 1964, after it became...

  7. Beyond the Clouds
    (pp. 4-34)

    The origins of modernity are obscure, notwithstanding scholarly attempts to fix as key dates the Industrial Revolution, around 1750; the institution of railroad time and invention of the daguerreotype around 1839; the demonstration of vitreous construction and the new visible interior at the Crystal Palace in 1850; or the demonstration at the Eiffel Tower in 1895 of the efficacy of iron replacing wood in construction—a “non-renewable resource [replacing] a renewable one” (Billington 29). Looking backward through history, it is less taxing to determine certain harbingers that prefigured the conditions we now call “modern,” such as the trial, in 1560,...

  8. Identification of a Woman
    (pp. 35-69)

    I wonder what kind of love story can possibly have meaning in our corrupt society today.

    —Mario, Niccolò’s collaborator and friend

    In Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963), the celebrated filmmaker Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), having had an enormous screen success, has entered a kind of creative crisis as he searches for the subject of his new film, a crisis in which his producer, his writer, the stars he has worked with, his wife, and the remembered salient figures from his childhood who now seem to have returned to populate his consciousness all swirl around him, suddenly sweep forward, and then ebb...

  9. The Red Desert
    (pp. 70-110)

    Upon images of a strange and wonderful “oasis” floating at some incalculable distance in a leaden red haze, the opening credits ofThe Red Desertare superimposed: an oasis that is a city but also a geological residuum, with a horizon backed by a cloudless sky, a sky cut with forms, fumes, connectors, spaces, positions, industrial artifacts, pure-hewn geometrical shapes, pillars, trees, sheds. In this quasi-terrestrial geography, the roaming camera discovers no living creatures. We hear, first, electronic, vaguely mechanical or vaguely extraterrestrial statics and tattoos by Vittorio Gelmetti and then a haunting sub-Saharan ululation written by Giovanni Fusco and...

  10. The Dangerous Thread of Things
    (pp. 111-130)

    There is, for example, no such thing as the memory; there are only specific facts and ideas which have become available for recall because we have found use for them.

    —Richard J. Hofstadter

    Given the enchanting swirl of pointers and places that stretches as far as we can imagine, all at once in every direction, the placards, the plastic luminous baubles, the pages of books foxed and torn, the tedious tortillas, the splintering sounds of harmonies and cacophonies, the formulae for calculating arterial pressure and rocket thrust, the mathematics of nonfinite numbers, the worn fabric upon the beloved furniture, the...

  11. The Mystery of Oberwald
    (pp. 131-156)

    At around six o’clock in the morning of Friday, July 9, 1982, Elizabeth Windsor, the present Queen of England, awoke to find Mr. Michael Fagan sitting comfortably at the end of her bed. This unemployed and wounded intruder, a visitor, as it happens, from Ireland, who had intended to kill himself with the Queen at his side but who came to the conclusion when actually confronted with her that “it wasn’t a nice thing to do,” conversed calmly with Her Majesty about family life, noting that each of them had four children, until—rather belatedly, and more than twelve minutes...

  12. Zabriskie Point
    (pp. 157-198)

    In the desert, the horse drinks first.

    The Barbarian(Sam Wood, 1933)

    The Mojave. A two-lane blacktop, midday. Tanned, optimistic, and tolerant, a young woman who has been freelancing as a secretarial assistant to the chief executive of the mammoth Sunny Dunes real estate development company in Los Angeles has “borrowed” a vintage slate-gray Chevrolet (belonging to some spacey young man who has crashed in her apartment), and is driving off to meet her mogul (her mogul/lover) at his hilltop residence in the desert near Phoenix. Head there directly she does not, but takes an extended detour, searching for the...

  13. The Passenger
    (pp. 199-233)

    On the evening of Wednesday, July 27, 1949, Aldous Huxley, author ofBrave New World, Antic Hay, Point Counter Point,andCrome Yellow,and his wife, Maria, arrived at the home of Igor Stravinsky, composer ofLe Sacre du printemps, Petrouchka, L’Oiseau de feu,andHistoire du soldat,and his wife, Vera, to dine. The composer’s friend and assistant Robert Craft was in attendance, and reports the author to have been “even taller than anyone had warned,” with “silver-point features, especially the slightly hooked, slightly haughty nose” (10). The trouble for Huxley—he was virtually blind—was that his host...

  14. Blow-Up
    (pp. 234-274)

    All my life, as far as I can remember, I have been more interested in what things look like than in what they are. So much we cannot afford to see, since every sighting is a hiatus, a loss of progression, and since the eye cannot appreciate the fullness of the visual field. The eye sees—can only see—what it chooses to see, what it desires (this in the light of what ever shines to illuminate), and can only see now, at this moment in history, while down the street aclochardis folding a newspaper. And on and...

  15. Works Cited and Consulted
    (pp. 275-288)
  16. Index
    (pp. 289-300)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 301-302)