Michelangelo Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce

Michelangelo
Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce
1912
2007

Italian Modernist Film Director, Screenwriter, Editor and Short Story Writer

Author Quotes

I am not a theoretician of the cinema. If you ask me what directing is, the first answer that comes into my head is: I don't know.

Modern life is very difficult for people who are unprepared. But this new environment will eventually facilitate more realistic relationships between people.

When we say a character in my films doesn't function, we mean he doesn't function as a person, but he does function as a character ? that is, until you take him as a symbol. At that point it is you who are not functioning. Why not simply accept him as a character, without judging him? Accept him for what he is. Accept him as a character in a story, without claiming that he derives or acquires meaning from that story. There may be meanings, but they are different for all of us.

I began taking liberties a long time ago; now it is standard practice for most directors to ignore the rules.

My characters are ambiguous. Call them that. I don't mind. I am ambiguous myself. Who isn't?

You know what I would like to do: make a film with actors standing in empty space so that the spectator would have to imagine the background of the characters.

I don't want what I am saying to sound like a prophecy or anything like an analysis of modern society... these are only feelings I have, and I am the least speculative man on earth.

Normally, however, I try to avoid repetitions of any shot.

You must be painter who takes a canvas and does what he likes with it. We are more like painters in past centuries who were ordered to paint frescoes to specific measurements. Among the people in the fresco may be a bishop, the prince's wife, etc. The fresco isn't bad simply because the painter used for models people from the court of the prince who ordered and paid for it.

I find that it is very useful to look over the location and to feel out the atmosphere while waiting for the actors. It may happen that the images before my eyes coincide with those I had in my mind, but this is not frequently the case. It more often happens that there is something insincere or artificial about the image one has thought of. Here again is another way of improvising.

One doesn't enter groups of people simply because one wants or needs to. One has an infinite number of opportunities that occur for no particular reason. Sometimes you feel a sudden unexpected pleasure at being where you find yourself.

You mustn't ask me to explain everything I do. I can't. That's that. How can I say why at a certain moment I needed this. How can I explain why I needed a confusion of colors?

I have always imposed my wishes on the cameraman. Moreover, I have always picked them at the outset of their careers and, to a certain extent, have formed them myself.

Scientific man is already on the moon, and yet we are still living with the moral concepts of Homer.

I mean simply to say that I want my characters to suggest the background in themselves, even when it is not visible. I want them to be so powerfully realized that we cannot imagine them apart from their physical and social context even when we see them in empty space.

She isn't my wife, really. We just have some kids. No. No kids. Sometimes, though, it feels as if we had kids. She isn't beautiful, she's just easy to live with. No, she isn't. That's why I don't live with her.

I meant exactly what I said: that we are saddled with a culture that hasn't advanced as far as science.

Sometimes I pick up a magazine and read a piece of film criticism ? to the end only if I like it. I don't like those which are too free with praise because their reasons seem wrong and that annoys me. Critics who attack me do so for such contradictory reasons that they confuse me, and I am afraid that if I am influenced by one, I will sin according to the standards of the other.

I rarely feel the desire to reread a scene the day before the shooting. Sometimes I arrive at the place where the work is to be done and I do not even know what I am going to shoot. This is the system I prefer: to arrive at the moment when shooting is about to begin, absolutely unprepared, virgin. I often ask to be left alone on the spot for fifteen minutes or half an hour and I let me thoughts wander freely.

The greatest danger for those working in the cinema is the extraordinary possibility it offers for lying.

I try to avoid repetitions of any shot. It isn't easy to find one in my films. You might, I suppose, see something twice, but it would be rare. And then, you know, every line requires its own kind of shot. The American method of shooting one actor continuously, then moving to the other, then intercutting both ? this method is wrong. A scene has to have a rhythm of its own, a structure of its own.

The photographer in Blow-Up, who is not a philosopher, wants to see things closer up. But it so happens that, by enlarging too far, the object itself decomposes and disappears. Hence there's a moment in which we grasp reality, but then the moment passes. This was in part the meaning of Blow-Up.

A director is a man, therefore he has ideas; he is also an artist, therefore he has imagination. Whether they are good or bad, it seems to me that I have an abundance of stories to tell. And the things I see, the things that happen to me, continually renew the supply.

I want my characters to suggest the background in themselves, even when it is not visible. I want them to be so powerfully realized that we cannot imagine them apart from their physical and social context even when we see them in empty space.

Till now I have never shot a scene without taking account of what stands behind the actors because the relationship between people and their surroundings is of prime importance.

Author Picture
First Name
Michelangelo
Last Name
Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce
Birth Date
1912
Death Date
2007
Bio

Italian Modernist Film Director, Screenwriter, Editor and Short Story Writer