Archive for December 15th, 2021


by James Clark

The four first films driven by poet-film-writer, Tonino Guerra, were creatures of Italy. Each of the protagonists knew well that mankind and its normality is a shaky proposition.

The fifth film by our navigator here was about Britain, the land of make-do, the land of Charles Dickens, and also, the land of Alice in Wonderland (another make-do). No doubt the nominal driver (Antonioni) would be ready for a place like Britain, a place to prate in peace about alienation. Here the basis in spades of his patrician upbringing—clever, well-educated, sophisticated, to a point, a master of many languages, a go-getter—he was well connected to be a man of the world. Unfortunately, that was all he could do by his own skills. To reach farther, the go-getter attained an ally, an ally almost the complete opposite of a patrician. Though either of these men would have preferred never to meet the other, each could understand that the remarkable assets of the other must be tolerated. For Antonioni, there was freedom from his lack of mature sensibility, even if it were only the forces of someone else, happy (as a go-getter) to enjoy fame and fortune. For Guerra, there was the opportunity to deliver astounding world-wide heights of sensibility, even though few could understand. And then, beyond that, his long tour of other cinemas, other poetry.

Who knows the long and turning invitation to come, were Antonioni not restive, on the basis of weak distemper, weak sentimental melodrama, back where he began. At any rate, the trip to London becomes a somewhat heavier action, a portent that those thrilling days are under pressure. (Guerra, of course, had a career of poetry and film writing, before the advent of Antonioni; and would shine for many decades. But the work of this flow was remarkable, even unique, for its visual timbre and its great wit.) (more…)

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