What Antonioni’s Movies Mean Today

Stephen Dalton at BFI:

Antonioni films typically featured jaded lovers in middle-class urban settings, their lives blighted by quiet desperation, joyless sex and existential ennui. His open-ended plots were elliptical, elusive and experimental, providing rich material for both his most ardent admirers and harshest critics. Inevitably, after an almost unblemished run of classic films spanning the 1960s and 70s, shifting fashion and ill health forced him into semi-retirement. It makes perfect sense that he spent his twilight years painting big, bold, colourful abstract art.

Revisiting Antonioni’s classic films from a 21st-century viewpoint, their erotic frankness and modernist urban geometry no longer have the shock of the new. But as timeless cinematic explorations of the human condition, they stand up surprisingly well. In an era of sense-pummelling blockbusters and multi-media overload, these slow-paced ruminations on desire, despair and alienation feel strangely, jarringly fresh.

more here.