Wed, Aug 01, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Italian director Antonioni dead at 94

AGENCIES , ROME

Italian movie director Michelangelo Antonioni poses with his wife Enrica Fico in Venice on Sept. 5, 2002, at the 59th Venice Film Festival to receive the San Marco prize for his career. Antonioni died on Monday at the age of 94.

PHOTO: AP

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, best known for his movies Blow-Up and L'Avventura, has died, officials and news reports said yesterday. He was 94.

The ANSA news agency said that Antonioni died at his home on Monday evening.

Antonioni depicted alienation in the modern world through sparse dialogue and long takes. Along with Federico Fellini, he helped turn post-war Italian film away from the Neorealism movement and toward a personal cinema of imagination.

"With Antonioni dies not only one of the greatest directors but also a master of modernity," Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said in a statement.

ANSA said that a funeral would be held tomorrow in Antonioni's home town of Ferrara in northern Italy.

Antonioni's deliberately slow-moving and oblique movies were not always crowd pleasers, but films such as L'Avventura turned him into an icon for directors like Martin Scorsese, who has described him as a poet with a camera.

Antonioni irected his first feature, Cronaca di un amore (Story of a Love Affair), in 1950 at the age of 38.

Over the next two decades Antonioni worked with some of the greatest names in post-war Italian cinema like Marcello Mastroianni, but it was not until the 1960s that he emerged on the international stage.

Despite winning favorable reviews at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival with Il Grido (The Outcry), he scored his first real international success in 1960 with L'Avventura, an exploration of the emotional sterility of modern society.

His second breakthrough movieturecame in 1966 with the English-language Blowup, set in "swinging 60s" London, which turned him into a cult figure for moviegoers and moviemakers.

Many audiences found his pictures, with their long lingering shots, plodding and pretentious. Others hailed him as one of the founding fathers of European avant-garde cinema.

He was awarded Venice's Golden Lion in 1983 and a US Academy Award in 1995 for his lifetime achievements.

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