49. Michelangelo Antonioni
BLOW-UP, L’AVVENTURA, THE PASSENGER
His inclusion on this list would be all but guaranteed were his career limited merely to that section which is most represented – the early 1960s. He did, after all, change film language forever, making moves at the time that were truly daring and bold, and which have now become surprisingly commonplace. Yet those films (L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse, Red Desert) retain their mystery and incomparable pleasure, which is best summed up by what he termed “traces of feeling” – hints at overwhelming sadness and brief flashes of something that could become joy. But, luckily for us, his career is even more expansive. To watch one of his 1950s melodramas, such as Le Amiche, is to be blown away by the power of a lost genre. To watch his later, radical films of the 70s and 80s is to still be astonished at how bold, brash, and reckless the seemingly reserved filmmaker could be. He filmed on location, but seemingly at the edge of the abyss, the last civilization at the end of the world. His characters would respond in kind – in reconciliation or disorientation or, ultimately, surrender.
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