A WAY OF SEEING

            If you’ve missed Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960; photographed by Aldo Scavarda), shame on you!  It’s one of the essentials…put it at the top of your list!  If you haven’t seen it in awhile, see it again soon.  A wealth of background information is available on the web, so I won’t waste time with the basics.  But check it out!  For cinematographers, pay special attention to the bold compositional choices on display.

            I don’t mean bold as in short-siding someone’s close up.  Instead, L’Avventura’s graphics are used as thematic phrases that underscore and enhance the narrative, much as a jazz musician might riff on a theme established at the start of a piece.  The stills I’ve included don’t do the work justice.  You have to see them in motion, how the elements fall into place within the frame and the ways in which those frames play off each other.  You’ll marvel at how characters arrange themselves in ways no sentient humans would ever imagine, yet the effect is natural, powerful and deeply meaningful.

            This film is so different from what we see today that it may as well have been made on another planet.  The world of 1960 pretty much qualifies as such, so hop aboard the time machine and let your mind get blown!

10.25.2022

5 thoughts on “A WAY OF SEEING”

  1. Wonderful examples of the film even as stills. BUT, I believe credit must also be given to Antonioni for positioning the actors in a way that Aldo Scavarda could photograph the “tableau” — Antonioni’s Red Desert and Blowup made lasting impressions on me, to the point that I emulated some compositions from Red Desert in one of the first films I directed and photographed in 1967-68. That experience taught me that I was a better cinematographer than a director!

  2. I love this film Richard. I watched it again recently to restore my faith. It is so well crafted that it’s a master class in the elegance of simplicity. It does indeed deserve repeat viewing. Maybe I’ll watch it again tonight.

  3. Great post, Richard! I just rewatched this last year after 40 years — it was much better than I remembered it, I don’t my college-age brain could appreciate the complex relationships in the story. Great compositions in the movie!

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