June 5, 2012
As you undoubtedly know, Antonioni died last July, and in some sort of spooky death-of-cinema-giants coincidence, on the same day as Ingmar Bergman. Bergman was incredibly important to me since he really inspired me to become a film maker. I remember my father took me to see Wild Strawberries when I was 14. I was totally baffled and undeniably altered by the film. I had never seen anything like it. Antonioni remains sort of an abstract fascination. His films seem almost boring until one glowing cinematic moment transpires which you can never forget and yet somehow can’t explain.
Here is what Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese had to say about them:
“When Bergman emerged in the New York art houses as a great filmmaker, I was a young comedy writer and nightclub comic. Can one’s work be influenced by Groucho Marx and Ingmar Bergman? But I did manage to absorb one thing from him, a thing not dependent on genius or even talent but something that can actually be learned and developed. I am talking about what is often very loosely called a work ethic but is really plain discipline. I learned from his example to try to turn out the best work I’m capable of at that given moment, never giving in to the foolish world of hits and flops or succumbing to playing the glitzy role of the film director, but making a movie and moving on to the next one.” – Woody Allen
“I was mesmerized by L’Aventura and by Antonioni’s subsequent films, and it was the fact that they were unresolved in any conventional sense that kept drawing me back. They posed mysteries — or rather the mystery, of who we are, what we are, to each other, to ourselves, to time. You could say that Antonioni was looking directly at the mysteries of the soul. That’s why I kept going back. I wanted to keep experiencing these pictures, wandering through them. I still do.
It was his images that I knew, much better than the man himself. Images that continue to haunt me, inspire me. To expand my sense of what it is to be alive in the world.” – Martin Scorsese