It is a testament to the enduring power of Michelangelo Antonioni’s films that they have stood the test of time and remained as relevant today as they were when he first began his career.

Best Michelangelo Antonioni Films

His films are often considered to be among the most innovative and influential in history.

1. Blow-Up (1966)

The first half of Blow-Up is slow, but it’s also full of clues. And when you put them together, all hell breaks loose. The clues, which are scattered across London in various places,

include a note left by a man who committed suicide by jumping off a building; a woman in sunglasses who takes a photo of her lover as he sleeps; and an odd photograph of a man with his mouth open and his eyes closed.

You’ll be able to figure out most of the story from these pieces of information, but there are several scenes that reveal more than they should at first glance. In one scene, David Hemmings’ photographer David Johns is talking to Luciano Baldini (Claudio Cassinelli),

who wants him to take pictures of a woman named Sylvia Likens, who has been missing for two weeks and was last seen with John Hinkins (David Hemmings). But after Johns leaves Baldini’s office, he comes back with three photos—all taken by the same camera—and asks whether they were taken before or after Likens disappeared.

Blowup
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, David Hemmings (Actors)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) - Michelangelo Antonioni (Writer) - Carlo Ponti (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

2. The Passenger (1975)

In this film, Michelangelo Antonioni explores the nature of time by exploring the relationship between a woman and her son. The story begins with the mother and son sitting on a train.

The boy is fascinated by the woman’s watch, which has a moving second hand. He wants to see how it works and asks his mother to show him. She refuses, telling him it is too complicated for him to understand. As they pass through the countryside, they stop at a farmhouse to take a rest.

While there, the boy objects when his father tells him that people have been killed during their journey because they have tried to steal food from them.

After this scene, we learn that the woman is an artist who has traveled all over Europe looking for inspiration for her paintings. She takes her son with her on this trip so he can enjoy being around art galleries and museums while she works on her projects in solitude away from other people.

One day after visiting a museum in Florence, Italy, she discovers one of her paintings hanging on display there and becomes excited about it because she has never seen one of her own works displayed before anywhere else in

The Passenger (1975)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider, Jenny Runacre (Actors)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) - Michelangelo Antonioni (Writer) - Carlo Ponti (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. Red Desert (1964)      

 Red Desert (1964) is probably the first film Antonioni made in Italy, and it’s also his only film to be set in a real place that he had visited. The film is based on a novel by Italo Calvino, and its plot revolves around a wealthy industrialist who comes across an old man who claims to have been born with a deformed face.

The industrialist takes pity on him and hires him to work as his servant; this leads to an encounter between the two men that forces them to make some difficult choices about how they want their lives to turn out.

Red Desert was shot on location in Sicily and features many famous actors of the day, including Orson Welles and Marcello Mastroianni (who would later star in Antonioni’s famous Last Year at Marienbad).

However, despite its setting and cast, Red Desert does not seem like any kind of Italian movie at all; somehow it manages to feel very foreign despite being set in Italy. If anything,

it looks more like an American film made by Europeans with no particular interest in making an Italian movie at all (although obviously there is plenty of Italian influence

The Red Desert (1964) ( Il Deserto rosso ) ( Le Désert rouge ) (Blu-Ray & DVD Combo) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import - United Kingdom ]
  • The Red Desert (1964) ( Il Deserto rosso ) ( Le Désert rouge ) (Blu-Ray & DVD Combo)
  • The Red Desert (1964)
  • Il Deserto rosso
  • Le Désert rouge
  • Richard Harris, Monica Vitti, Carlo Chionetti (Actors)

4. L’Avventura (1960)    

 L’Avventura (1960) is one of the best films of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni and his first to receive international recognition. It was written by Tonino Guerra, an expatriate Italian writer who had been living in Paris since World War II, but returned to Italy after the war’s end.

The story is set on a small island off the coast of Sicily. Elena (Monica Vitti) has recently arrived on the island with her husband Michelangelo (Gabriele Ferzetti). She has a boyfriend, Pietro (Silvio Orlando). Michelangelo meets Elena’s cousin Claudia (Alida Valli), who is also staying on the island with her husband Sandro (Franco Fabrizi).

Elena and Michelangelo eventually get involved in a love triangle between themselves, and their respective partners. The film was shot in Sardinia, where Antonioni spent several months working on this project. He filmed L’Avventura in CinemaScope format, which resulted in an unusual aspect ratio of 1:37 that was wider than standard 35 mm film.

L'Avventura (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari (Actors)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) - Michelangelo Antonioni (Writer) - Amato Pennasilico (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

5. Il Grido (1957)

The film is based on the novel Il Grido by Giuseppe Berto, a story about the life of an Italian girl growing up during World War II. The plot centers on a young peasant girl named Giuliana who lives with her parents and older brother in the village of Rieti.

As the war progresses and Rome falls under German occupation, Giuliana uses her singing voice to help other people escape from the Germans’ grasp. She also becomes romantically involved with a young German soldier named Wilhelm and joins him in his escape from Rieti when he is sent to fight elsewhere.

Antonioni’s film is partially autobiographical: he was born in Rieti and lived there until his family moved to Rome when he was six years old.[1] He later returned to Rieti for several months during his childhood where he developed a close relationship with his cousin Enzo Ferrari.[2] In addition,

Antonioni had been interested in filmmaking as early as high school;[3] however, it was only after attending university that he began making films seriously.[4] His first film was L’Avventura (1960), which he made

Il Grido
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Steve Cochran, Dorian Gray, Allida Valli (Actors)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) - Michelangelo Antonioni (Writer) - Franco Cancellieri (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

6. La Notte (1961)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte is a study in contrasts. The film is set in a small village near Rome, where the residents are going about their daily business as usual, with no hint of what is to come.

It’s only when one of the villagers dies that things start to change. All of a sudden, life begins to take on an air of menace, and there are hints that something strange may be going on.

Antonioni manages to convey this sense of unease through some unusual camera angles and editing techniques, but he also relies heavily on symbolism. As night falls,

the townspeople stop doing things they normally do until it gets dark – they don’t want to leave their houses during the day when they might be attacked by bandits or something similar. And when their friend dies unexpectedly and inexplicably, they all begin to wonder if there could be more than meets the eye.

L'Avventura (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari (Actors)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) - Michelangelo Antonioni (Writer) - Amato Pennasilico (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. L’Eclisse (1962)            

 L’Eclisse is a 1962 Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. It was based on a novel by Ugo Carpi. The film is set in Rome, where two young men are involved in an argument that ends up with one killing the other.

The film is considered to be one of Antonioni’s best, and has been described as an “artistic masterpiece”. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1962, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.[1]

One of L’Eclisse’s most striking features is its setting: Rome, Italy. It is set almost entirely at night, with only some brief daylight scenes near the beginning and end. This allows Antonioni to create a mood of isolation and loneliness among his characters, which he does through their interactions with one another rather than through dialogue or narration.[2]

L'Eclisse (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Alain Delon, Monica Vitti, Francisco Rabal (Actors)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) - Michelangelo Antonioni (Writer) - Robert Hakim (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Characteristics of Michelangelo Antonioni Films

Michelangelo Antonioni’s films are characterised by a sense of alienation, a lack of closure and a sense of personal loss. In his first three films, “Le notti del conte” (1955), “I vitelloni” (1961) and “Il deserto rosso” (1964), there is an exploration of the unconscious and its relation to the world around us.

The characters in these films seem to be caught between two worlds, unable to reconcile themselves with reality or their own inner selves. Themes that recur throughout these films are those surrounding identity, sexuality and relationships between men and women.

In his later career as a director he was more concerned with showing how people were affected by their environment than by emotional trauma: “Il deserto rosso” (1966) has been described as being about the dehumanising effects of industrialisation on people; “Zabriskie Point” (1970) explores the nature of free love; while “L’avventura” (1960) deals with themes such as love, betrayal and death.

Best Michelangelo Antonioni Films – Wrapping Up

We’ve hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best Michelangelo Antonioni movies. What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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