Monday, 13 August 2007


Very few are aware of the fact or even imagine that Michelangelo Antonioni was a fine and original Non-Fiction filmmaker, in fact throughtout his long carreer he shot 17 documentaries. Chung kuo - Cina, his best known non-fiction film, is a work of incredible value, not only because just to be admitted with a film crew in 1972 China was already an exceptional achievement (rumors has it that the Italian Communist Party had to negotiate a political deal with the Peoples' Republic to allow Antonioni and his crew to enter the country), but especially because of its superbe quality in cinematic terms and the unique nature of the footage. An extraordinary film for which Antonioni leaves behind the metaphisical enchantments of his fiction works and adopts an intimate gaze, on a more human/e scale, to enter the daily life of a Nation known for its absolute closure towards the strangers' eyes and its political adversion for any outside world's intrusion. The same careful and intimate look marks all of Antonioni's documentaries, first of all L'amorosa menzogna (1949), an original film on the popular phenomenon of "picture stories", a theme that Federico Fellini will develop later on in his film Lo Sceicco Bianco (1952).

In a time when most media commemorates the italian Master for his "major" works, common heritage without shade of dubt, we like not to neglect his sublime Non-Fiction production, which is little represented and celebrated, but not less worthwhile and important.

Thus, we like to point out the screening of
Sette Canne e un Vestito (1949) on August 14 at the Lagunamovies in Grado (Italy); the film, of which Antonioni is also writer and editor, follows the renewal of the activities of Snia Viscosa, a factory in the North-East of Italy, after the WWII bombings of 1944 and 1945.

We further like to remind that Chung kuo - Cina has been recently released on DVD by Feltrinelli

And, least but not last, we like to publish the list of Antonioni's documentaries. We know they are very hard to find, but just in case someone might get the chance to see any of them we like to hear everything about it:

* Gente del Po, finished in 1947 (1943)
* N. U. - Nettezza urbana (1948)
* Oltre l'oblio (1948)
* Roma-Montevideo (1948)
* L'amorosa menzogna (1949)
* Sette canne e un vestito, restaured by Cineteca del Friuli in 1995 (1949)
* Bomarzo (1949)
* Ragazze in bianco (1949)
* Superstizione (1949)
* La villa dei mostri (1950)
* La funivia del Faloria (1950)
* Chung-Kuo, Cina (1972)
* Ritorno a Lisca Bianca (1983)
* Fotoromanza, music video for Gianna Nannini (1984)
* 12 registi per 12 città: Roma (promotional video for "Italia '90" World Cup) (1990)
* Noto, Mandorli, Vulcano, Stromboli, Carnevale (1992)
* Lo sguardo di Michelangelo (2004)

Here is the beginning of Chung Kuo - Cina by Michelangelo Antonioni

LINKS: Eco and Sontag comment on the Chung Kuo - Cina case

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