The Architecture of Vision: Writings and Interviews on Cinema

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“A filmmaker is a man like any other; and yet his life is not the same. . . . This is, I think, a special way of being in contact with reality.” Or so says Michelangelo Antonioni, the legendary filmmaker behind the stark landscapes and social alienation of Blow-Up and L’Avventura, who here reveals his idiosyncratic relationship with reality in The Architecture of Vision.

Through autobiographical sketches, theoretical essays, interviews, and conversations with such luminaries as Jean-Luc Godard and Alberto Moravia, this compelling volume explores the director’s unique brand of narrative-defying cinema as well as the motivations and anxieties of the man behind the camera.

The Architecture of Vision provides a filmmaker’s absorbing reflections and insights on his career. . . . Antonioni’s comments . . . deepen and humanize a sometimes cerebral book.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Antonioni’s] erudition is astonishing . . . few of his peers can match his verbal articulateness.”—Film Quarterly
“This valuable resource offers entrée to material difficult to gain access to under other circumstances.”—Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times

“Antonioni is a sometimes charming, if somewhat reluctant, even contrary subject; he is also endlessly quotable.”—Robin Lippincott, New York Times

— Robin Lippincott

Film Quarterly
“[Antonioni’s] erudition is astonishing . . . few of his peers can match his verbal articulateness.”
New York Times - Robin Lippincott
“Antonioni is a sometimes charming, if somewhat reluctant, even contrary subject; he is also endlessly quotable.”
Film Quarterly

“[Antonioni’s] erudition is astonishing . . . few of his peers can match his verbal articulateness.”—Film Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Editors di Carlo and Tinazzi collect 51 essays and interviews by Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni (b. 1912), the recipient of an honorary Oscar at the 1995 Academy Awards. Somewhat comparable in scope to Franois Truffaut's classic Hitchcock (1983) and, more recently, Peter Bogdanovich's This Is Orson Welles (1992), The Architecture of Vision provides a filmmaker's absorbing reflections and insights on his career. Both the essays and the much longer section of interviews (most translated into English for the first time) succeed best at taking generalizations about Antonioni, his introspective realism, his early fondness for long takes, his later innovations with color, his exploration of modernist "spiritual aridity" and "moral coldness"and refining them rather than explaining their background and origin. Hence, the book will appeal most to readers already familiar with Antonioni's films (L'avventura, Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point, The Passenger) and with Italian cinema. The director sees the social neorealism of films like De Sica's Bicycle Thief as necessary for their postwar era but crafts for his own works a more psychological approach: "to see what remained inside the individual" after all the war and the upheavals that followed. Though some repetition inevitably appears, Antonioni's comments about his partly improvisational methods of shooting, his failure to ride the financial success of Blow-Up to even greater fame and his literary influences (Conrad chief among them) deepen and humanize a sometimes cerebral book. (June)
Library Journal
This partial translation of a six-volume French work on director Antonioni, who won a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1995, collects articles by and about Antonioni in Italian and French journals, the overwhelming majority of which have never been available in English. The pieces are divided into four sections, the first two offering Antonioni's own writings and the last two offering texts of interviews by important critics and journalists. The essays are arranged chronologically in each section, helping the reader to trace the development of Antonioni's unique cinematic vision. There is some repetition, as interviewers tend to ask the same questions. But for any English-speaking scholar interested in the creator of such international masterpieces as L'avventura, Blow Up, and Red Desert, this valuable resource offers entree to material difficult to gain access to under other circumstances. Highly recommended for film collections.Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of interviews and essays, many of them never before available in English, from one of the most important postwar Italian filmmakers.

Antonioni's cinema is "a world of images, not of words," but this volume, published in Italy two years ago, is chockablock with the filmmaker's words. Ironically, Antonioni had seldom written on films before he started making them. As a result, virtually all of the material in this book is about his own films and filmmaking experience. He has said, "Writing for me is a deepening of the gaze," but he's generally been one of those filmmakers who is reluctant to talk or write about his work. Given the intensely visual nature of his film poetry and the cryptic, elliptical dialogue that accompanies it, it is surprising how concise and analytical he is in the many interviews included in this volume. The book is divided into four sections: "My Cinema," a series of general discussions of Antonioni's aesthetic ideas; "My Films," short pieces on individual films, including all of his best-known work (Blow Up, L'Avventura, Red Desert, Zabriskie Point, among others); "Interviews" and "Interviews on My Films," which cover his career and specific works, respectively. Unfortunately, the pieces and interviews on individual films often call for a readership with an intimate knowledge of the movie in question, and for the nonspecialist may be a hard slog.

Antonioni is ruthlessly candid, a brilliant talker, and an interesting writer. Although it is the fans of his cinema that will profit most from this collection, any serious student of film should give it a look.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226021140
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 430
  • Sales rank: 760,496
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelangelo Antonioni is an Italian filmmaker who received an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1995. He has directed more than thirty films, including L’Avventura, The Passenger, and Blow-Up.


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Table of Contents

Preface to the American edition by Marga Cottino-Jones
Preface to the first edition by Carlo di Carlo

The Gaze and the Story by Giorgio Tinazzi
My Cinema
My Experience
Making a Film is My Way of Life
Actors and Paradoxes
A Talk with Antonioni on His Work
Reflections on the Film Actor
The Event and the Image
Reality and Cinema Verite
Preface to Six Films
My Films
Attempted Suicides: Suicides in the City
The Girlfriends: Loyalty to Pavese 
L’avventura: The Adventures of L’avventura
Red Desert: My Desert
The White Forest 
Blow Up: It was born in London, but it is not an English film
Zabriskie Point: What This Land Says to me
A Conversation about Zabriskie Point 
Chung Kuo. Cina: Is it still possible to film a documentary?
China and the Chinese
The Passenger: The “Passenger” that you didn’t see
Antonioni on the Seven-Minute Shot
The Mystery of Oberwald: Almost a confession

A Conversation with Michelangelo Antonioni
An Interview with Michelangelo Antonioni
Apropos of Eroticism
I Am Tired of Today’s Cinema
The World Is outside the Window
Myself and Cinema, Myself and Women
The History of Cinema is Made on Films
Profession Against
Ten Questions
Identification of a Filmmaker
Interviews on Films
Story of a Love Affair
The Vanquished
La notte
The Eclipse
Red Desert 
The Night, the Eclipse, the Dawn
The American Desert
Zabriskie Point
The American Experience
A Constant Renewal
Talking of Michelangelo
Antonioni Discusses The Passenger
An in-Depth Search
The Director and Technology
A Film based on Conflict
Identification of a Woman
My Method

About the Author
Selected Bibliography

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