Antonioni in Olanda

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Next week, the retrospective on Michelangelo Antonioni starts over here. The reason for this is the theatrical performance of his trilogy during the Holland Festival. The Haags Filmhuis is chief organizer and hosts the opening on June 3th, plus an exhibition on the famous Italian director. In Amsterdam we can see the films at the Ketelhuis, the former gas factory (reminds me of Red Desert/Deserto Rosso). I remember how, in spite of the ambiguous attitude of the Italians towards Antonioni (more loved abroad than at home), the Italian newspapers published page after page on Antonioni in 2007, when he died while I lived in Rome. The news of Ingmar Bergman’s death (he died on the same day) was postponed to the newspapers of the next day. At the Capitoline Museum, a large room between the museum and the City Hall was installed as ‘camera ardente’, where everybody who had liked Antonioni could pay respects. Other visitors might have ignored Antonioni or his films, but thought he had been important enough to show up; as some politicians did, surrounded by the paparazzi. Who wanted to pay respects had to walk across the giant hall, where the surrounding press was in doubt whether this or that person was important enough to capture. Quite a ‘society of spectacle’ to observe, not only with the eye but, in true Antonioni style, also with the ear. Antonioni might have peeked in from a distance, and smiled.

~ by Ivo Blom on May 30, 2009.

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