Director and Writer
Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni is one of the most individualistic and innovative film directors of our time. Throughout his years of writing and directing he has redefined the concept of narrative cinema. Driven by his instability, his films reflected and challenged the accepted notions at the heart of storytelling, realism, drama, and the world at large.

Born September 29, 1912 in Ferrara, Italy, Antonioni grew up building architectural models and exploring his love for painting. Upon graduation from high school, he attended the University of Bologna where he focused his studies on the classics. It was during these years that Antonioni’s interest in theater and the arts blossomed. He began writing short fiction pieces and film reviews for the local newspaper, Il Corriere Padano, which often attacked the mainstream Italian comedies produced in the 1930’s. His first attempt at directing was a documentary about a nearby insane asylum. Antonio had to abort the project early due to that fact that every time he turned on the camera lights the inmates would lapse into panic.

Antonioni relocated to Rome in 1939 where he actively pursued a career in filmmaking. He soon accepted a position with Cinema magazine but was quickly let go due to a political disagreement and enrolled at the Centre Sperimentale to study film technique. By age 30, Antonioni was working professionally in the film industry. He helped co-write Roberto Rossellini’s “Un Pilota Ritorna” (The Pilot Returns), worked as assistant director to Enrico Fulchignoni on “I Due Foscari” and traveled to France to work with Marcel Carne on “Les Visiteurs du Soir.”  Upon his return, Antonioni joined the Italian military and managed to secure funding from the Luce Institute for Gente del Po to produce a documentary of the lives of poor fisherman along the Po River.

The Allied invasion of Italy brought film production to a sudden halt, forcing Antonioni to earn a living as a book translator. He was finally able to return behind the camera in 1948 and over the course of two years directed six documentary shorts including, “Nettezza Urbana” and “Superstizone”(Superstition). The films revealed his unique vision, forgoing strong contrasts on screen in order to focus on the middle range of gray tones. Over the next decade Antonioni wrote and directed an array of films, spending much of the time in seclusion, he further rejected the notions of traditional narrative and literary value and further developed his increasingly unique visual aesthetic.

In 1960, Antonioni premiered his masterpiece, “L’Avventura”(The Adventure) at the Cannes Film Festival. A controversial film that focused on alienation, it was simply a string of long, beautiful shots telling virtually no story at all. “L’Avventura” won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize, becoming a phenomenal success worldwide and launched Antonioni into the spotlight as a major figure in international cinema. His greatest commercial success came in 1966, with the release of “Blow-Up”. The popularity of the film brought Antonioni to America where in 1970 he made his U.S. feature, “Zabriskie Point”. “Chung Kuo Cina,” a four-hour television documentary filmed in China followed in 1972 and then “The Passenger,” a thriller shot in North Africa starring Jack Nicholson appeared three years later. He released f“Identificazione di Una Donna”(The Identification of a Woman) in 1982, and it wasn’t until a decade later that he would return to direct “Par-Dela Les Nuages”(Beyond The Clouds)  with Wim Winders.

In 2004, at the age of 91, Antonioni became involved with two new film projects: “Michelangelo, Eye to Eye,” a 35-minute documentary and “Eros,” a film featuring multiple segments directed by such filmmakers as Antonioni, Steven Soderbergh, and Wong Kar Wai. Antonioni’s life and films have been highly acclaimed, vehemently attacked, widely debated and eagerly anticipated as cinematic events. In 1995, Antonioni was awarded an honorary Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.

André Gide once wrote a sentence which might be applied with great accuracy to Antonioni’s work: “He carries within himself what is needed to disorient and to surprise, that is to say, what is needed to endure.”