Master filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, the Italian director responsible for Blow-Up, L'Avventura and The Passenger, died yesterday. He was 94.
While not having the lustrous filmogaphy of Ingmar Bergman, who also died yesterday, Antonioni nonetheless contributed influential work to the cinematic zeitgeist. He rose to prominence in the 1960s by capturing Swinging London in Blow-Up, a paranoid thriller about a fashion photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he captured a murder with his camera. The film led to numerous remakes and knock-offs. DePalma's Blow-Out and Coppola's The Conversation are the most notable. Mike Meyers' Austin Powers character wouldn't have existed without Blow-Up.
Antonioni's other films rode the international wave of cinema crashing onto the shores of the United States in the '60s and '70s, only increasing his renown. His output slowed considerably as the '70s became the '80s, and he didn't direct a feature-length narrative work after 1995. Still, like Bergman, Antonioni will remain an important force in high-minded filmmaking, writing and academia and his legacy will remain as one of the most important filmmakers of his generation.