Archive for the ‘ 1964 / Red Desert ’ Category

The White Forest (1964)

It is very cold. I know it. I see it in the others. The ice would enter my bones if I let it pass through – that is, if I’d get distracted. But I have too much to do. Not that I have specific things to do. As a matter of fact, I am doing absolutely nothing – that is, whoever looks at me certainly thinks this. But it is not true. I am observing the forest, which, little by little, is becoming white. I also have other minor practical tasks, such as to ascertain that every job is done properly, to indicate the points of the underbrush and the still – green tops of the pines to the painters – they know that I do not want dark spots, but one always escapes notice. Painting a bush is simple; but the top of a forty-meter-tall pinion pine which looks, from the ground, like a small patch of green, becomes, for the painter who sees it from the ladder pushed far up in the tree, a tangle of branches that you cannot finish whitewashing. The man leans out as much as he can on the ladder, which twists frighteningly, and I hold my breath because that man is in danger for me, and even though it may appear so, I am not insensitive to these things.

But beyond these simple tasks there is another one that occupies me completely, and it is watching the forest change color. In the dark, or better, in the artificial light, I am trying to understand what these white – or rather dirty, gray-trees will be like tomorrow, against the gray sky (a layer of clouds has covered it for a week), near the cement of the factory, near its towers. Since for now, as it stands, this question can­ not have anything but an intuitive answer, I keep asking myself, more and more insistently. To be honest, I began to formulate it just a little while ago. The question was not there when I said that I wanted a white forest, the sentence came out of me spontaneously, suggested by an image that flashed in my mind. I had not even the shadow of a doubt. Not even when, as soon as I said that the forest had to be white, I noticed that they looked at me as though they had just heard this color named for the first time (if white is a color). And immediately they wanted to know why. As if changing the color would have been enough to make them agree with me. As if with red, or blue, or yellow – which are, perhaps for the time being, the three fundamental colors of the chromatic scale – that question would not have had any reason to exist. Continue reading

The Night, The Eclipse, The Dawn (November 1964)

Your three previous films, L’avventura, La notte, The Eclipse gave, the impression of developing out of one another and standing along the same line of inquiry. And now you seem to have reached a new destination with Red Desert. For the ‘woman in the film, perhaps, it is a desert but for you, it is something fuller; more complete: it’s a film about the whole world and not just about the world of today.

For the moment, it’s very hard for me to talk about Red Desert. It’s too recent a film. I’m still too close to the “intentions” that drove me to make it; I don’t have the clarity of thought and the detachment necessary to judge it correctly. Still, I think I can say that this time I haven’t made a film about feelings. The results that I had obtained from my previous films – good or bad as they may be – have by now become obsolete. The question is completely different. At one time, I was interested in the relationships of characters to one another. Now, instead, the main character must confront her social environment, and that’s why I treat the story in a completely different way.

It’s too simplistic to say – as many people have done – that I am condemning the inhuman industrial world which oppresses the individuals and leads them to neurosis. My intention – and I realize that one always knows where one starts off, but very rarely where one is going to – my intention was to translate the poetry of that world, in which even factories can be beautiful. The lines and curves of factories and their chimneys can be more beautiful than the outline of trees, which we are already too accustomed to seeing. It is a rich world, alive and serviceable. Continue reading

An Interview With Michelangelo Antonioni (November 1965)

In general, where does the original idea for your films come from? 

It seems to me that no one engaged in creative activity can answer that question in good faith. Lucidity is not one of my outstanding qualities. I look at everything, avidly, and I also think I listen a great deal. One thing is certain: ideas come to me unexpectedly. But I’m not really interested in getting to the bottom of such a question.

What does the writing of the scenario mean for you: clarifying the dramatic line, making the visual aspect of the film more specific, familiarizing yourself with the characters? 

To me, the visual aspect of a film is very closely related to its thematic aspect in the sense that an idea almost always comes to me through images. The problem lies elsewhere. It has to do with restricting the accumulation of these images, with digging into them, with recognizing the ones that coincide with what interests me at the time. It’s work done instinctively, almost automatically, but it involves a great deal of tension. One’s whole being is at stake: it is a precise moral choice. What people ordinarily call the “dramatic line” doesn’t interest me. One device is no better than another, apriori. And I don’t believe that the old laws of drama have validity any more. Today stories are what they are, with neither a beginning nor an end necessarily, without key scenes, without a dramatic are, without catharsis. They can be made up of tatters, of fragments, as unbalanced as the lives we lead. Familiarize myself with characters? But the characters are not strangers that I mayor may not be on intimate terms with; they emerge out of me, they are my intimate inner life.

What does the fact that you work in collaboration with others on your scenario mean to you? 

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