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The film world suffers another loss

It's eerie how celebrity deaths tend to come in threes. Yesterday it was Ingmar Bergman and Tom Snyder. Now there's word that the great Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni has passed away at age 94.

Antonioni Best known by American audiences for the 1966 arthouse hit Blowup (the most enduring of all cinematic artifacts of the swinging 60s), Antonioni specialized in cerebral, difficult films that relied on visuals and open-ended narratives to contemplate existential alienation.

His three most revered movies - L'Avventura, La Notte and L'Eclisse - were all meditations on a similar theme: Profound loneliness and estrangement in the presence of other people.

With the exception of Blowup, Antonioni's movies were far too slow and esoteric for mainstream audiences. But their influence can be seen in the work of contemporary filmmakers as disparate as Steven Soderbergh, Richard Linklater and Wong Kar-Wai. Much like Bergman, Antonioni's impact on movies far transcends box office receipts and audience popularity.

Viewing log (catch-up edition)

Monday July 30

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Sunday July 29

Hot Fuzz (2007)

* Shaun of the Dead (2005)

Army of Shadows (1969)

Saturday July 28

If... (1968)

* Streets of Fire (1984)

Thursday July 26

Oldboy* Oldboy (2003): Fourth viewing; still gets better every time I watch it.

.

Tuesday July 24

The Simpsons Movie (2007) Review here.

Monday July 23

Rescue Dawn (2007)

Wednesday July 18

Sunshine (2007): Review here.

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erwin

How's it going Rene. I can imagine how busy you must be working for a tireless newspaper, but I really hope you start using this blog more to express your thoughts about movies. Your articles on Bergman and Antonioni were excellent and I'm now compelled to watch their films based on your analysis of them. The quality of those articles makes it all the more unfortunate, then, that you have not gotten around to writing about Robert Altman. I would love to know more about the films and directors that have shaped your view of film.

Juan B.

L'Avventura was Antonioni's only fully great movie. Everything else was hit and miss. And I agree about Oldboy: it's wonderful.

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