Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Chronicle of an Auteur: More Antonioni Goodness!

Frame grab from Cronaca di un amore / Story of a Love Affair (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1950)

Film Studies For Free presents the second of its celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni. Below are embedded the video recordings of a number of unmissable talks at Antonioni and the Arts, an event held at Royal Holloway, University of London, in October to mark the anniversary. 

Thanks to Royal Holloway's School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures for hosting the talks, as well as taking the trouble to record them and make them freely available online.

This latest entry coincides with Cronaca di un autor: Convegno dedicato a Michelangelo Antonioni nel centenario della nascita, a marvellous conference, with an amazing array of speakers, taking place between December 11-13, 2012, merely the latest in a series of brilliant, celebratory events in Ferrara, Antonioni's birthplace.

Who knows? Maybe there'll be some more videos to embed here at FSFF! Hope so! In any case, You can see the first FSFF Antonioni anniversary celebration here: Sculpting the Real: Michelangelo Antonioni Studies in the Centenary Year of his Birth.

Dr. Laura Rascaroli's lecture and discussion. In conversation with Dr. Giuliana Pieri.

A study day devoted to the late Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) took place on Friday, 26 October, in Egham, co-sponsored by HARC, SMLLC, Media Arts, and the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni.

The centenary of the birth of this master of European modernist cinema was a chance to bring together a number of scholars and curators who have a particular interest in the interdisciplinary aspects of Antonioni’s oeuvre. Dr Laura Rascaroli (U. of Cork) and Dr John David Rhodes (U. of Sussex), who edited the 2011 volume, Antonioni: Centenary Essays, offered a novel perspective on the work of the Italian film-maker by focusing on the influence of art and architecture respectively. The two talks were preceded by a screening of two rare Antonioni documentaries: Gente del Po (1943-7) and Lo Sguardo di Michelangelo (2004). Documentaries are a very important but often less studied aspect of Antonioni’s production. They also ideally frame his career since Antonioni began as a documentary film maker and ended his cinematic career with his tribute to the master of the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo Buonarroti, in a short film of extreme beauty which helped the audience to reflect upon art and tradition. The general discussion that followed covered a number of fascinating topics relating to Antonioni’s practice, including his consistently ‘open’, physical engagement with the human figure, as compared, for example, with that of Jean-Luc Godard.
Dr. John David Rhodes's lecture, discussion and round table with Dr. Laura Rascaroli, Dr. Giuliana Pieri and Prof. James Williams.

Prof. Dominique Païni's presentation of the retrospective 'Antonioni And The Arts. The Gaze of Michelangelo' and lecture. Introduction by Prof. Williams James.

The second part of the study day was a lecture by film scholar and curator, Professor Dominique Païni (École du Louvre, Paris), who presented with slides his plans for the forthcoming centenary exhibition on Antonioni in his home-town of Ferrara. Prof. Païni revealed that the physical challenge of the exhibition space, the Renaissance Palazzo dei Diamanti, created the opportunity to present Antonioni’s work as a series of contrasts arising from the idea that cinema is, after all, narrative sculpture in movement, and that shapes are born out of the most basic contrast, that of light and dark. Both the lecture and ensuing discussion brought into focus a series of important characteristics of the work of Antonioni: the identification of women and the nation, ideal masculinity and Italian art and tradition, the critique of humanism and the classical heritage, and the ambiguous relationship between Antonioni and Italy’s post-war tradition of social and political engagement (impegno) which characterised the work of many of his contemporaries working in film and literature.
A few reflections with Professor Dominique Païni. Translation in English by Alix Agret.

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