Close Up

1 - 30 June 2018: Close-Up on Michelangelo Antonioni


Tickets: £10 / £8 / £6 Close-Up members
Box Office: 02037847970

“Together with Fellini, Bergman and Kurosawa, Michelangelo Antonioni is credited with defining the modern art film. And yet Antonioni’s cinema is also recognized today for defying any easy categorization, with his films ultimately seeming to belong to their own distinctive genre. Indeed, the difficulty of precisely describing their category is itself the very quintessence of Antonioni’s films. Among the most-cited contributions of Antonioni’s cinema are their striking descriptions of that unique strain of post-boom ennui everywhere apparent in the transformed life and leisure habits of the Italian middle and upper classes. Detecting profound technological, political and psychological shifts at work in post-WWII Italy, Antonioni set out to explore the ambiguities of a suddenly alienated and dislocated Italy, not simply through his oblique style of narrative and characters, nor through any overt political messaging, but instead by tearing asunder the traditional boundaries of cinematic narrative in order to explore an ever shifting internal landscape expressed through architecture, urban space and the sculptural, shaping presence of objects, shapes and emotions invented by camera movement and depth of focus.

Antonioni deftly manipulates the quieter, indirect edges of cinematic structure, often so discretely that his existential puzzles are felt before they can be intellectualized. The negative space is as prominent as the positive, silence as loud as noise, absence as palpable as presence, and passivity as driving a force as direct action. Transgressing unspoken cinematic laws, Antonioni frequently focuses on female protagonists while refusing to sentimentalize or morally judge his characters and placing them on equal footing with the other elements within his total dynamic system, like sounds or set pieces. And he violates spoken rules with unconventional cutting techniques, fractured spatial and temporal continuity, and a camera that insistently lingers in melancholy pauses, long after the actors depart, as if drifting just behind an equally distracted, dissipating narrative. Leaving questions unanswered and plot points irresolute, dispensing with exposition, suspense, sentimentality and other cinematic security blankets, Antonioni releases the viewer into a gorgeous, densely layered fog to contemplate and wrestle with his characters’ imprecise quandaries and endless possibilities. Culminating in tour de force endings that often reframe the narrative in a daring, parting act of deconstruction, Antonioni’s rigorously formal, yet open compositions allow his great, unwieldy questions to spill over into the world outside the cinema and outside of time.” – Brittany Gravely

Michelangelo Antonioni
1960 | 145 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork. An iconic piece of challenging 1960s cinema and a gripping narrative on its own terms, L’avventura concerns the enigmatic disappearance of a young woman during a yachting trip off the coast of Sicily, and the search taken up by her disaffected lover (Gabriele Ferzetti) and best friend (Monica Vitti). Antonioni’s controversial international sensation is a gorgeously shot tale of modern ennui and spiritual isolation. read more

La notte
Michelangelo Antonioni
1961 | 122 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

This psychologically acute, visually striking modernist work was Michelangelo Antonioni’s follow-up to the epochal L’avventura. Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau star as a novelist and his frustrated wife, who, over the course of one night, confront their alienation from each other and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles in which they travel. Antonioni’s muse Monica Vitti smoulders as an industrialist’s tempting daughter. Moodily sensual cinematography and subtly expressive performances make La notte an indelible illustration of romantic and social deterioration. read more

Michelangelo Antonioni
1962 | 126 min | B/W | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

The concluding chapter of Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on contemporary malaise, L’eclisse tells the story of a young woman (Monica Vitti) who leaves one lover (Francisco Rabal) and drifts into a relationship with another (Alain Delon). Using the architecture of Rome as a backdrop for the doomed affair, Antonioni achieves the apotheosis of his style in this return to the theme that preoccupied him the most: the difficulty of connection in an alienating modern world. read more

Red Desert
Michelangelo Antonioni
1964 | 117 min | Colour | Digital
Italian with English subtitles

This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age – about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s co-worker, played by Richard Harris – continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another – of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships – Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age. read more

Zabriskie Point
Michelangelo Antonioni
1970 | 110 min | Colour | Digital

Michelangelo Antonioni’s poetic chronicle of late ‘60’s American counter culture finds the hippy dream goes sour in this surreal desert odyssey about a man attempting to take leave from society. Accompanied by an iconic score by The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and Pink Floyd, Antonioni’s film perfectly captured a certain place and moment in history, and its central idea of not wanting a specially selected elite to be the mouthpiece of a nation remains brutally prescient even today. read more






L'eclisse Saturday 23.06.18 6:00 pm Book
Zabriskie Point Saturday 23.06.18 8:30 pm Book
L'eclisse Tuesday 26.06.18 7:30 pm Book
Zabriskie Point Friday 29.06.18 8:00 pm Book