Tuesday, 1 June 2010

"Mikaël"...Antonioni: Michael (1924) & The Red Desert (1964)

A bank holiday weekend gave just enough time to indulge in a couple of cinematic classics focusing both on character and...colour.

"Michael" (1924), the first real flowering of Carl Theodor Dreyer's great talent tells the, almost, out there story of a master artist (played with stern stoicism by Benjamin (Häxan) Christensen) and his, erm, model played by Walter Slezak (later to star as a villain in 60's Batman!), who drifts away... lured by his love of Princess Lucia Zamikoff (Nora Gregor also a star of the great Renior film, La Regle du Jeu)...

Close ups abound in a subtle tale of love lost and regained. It's also a brutal tale of betrayal and the final moments are really quite chilling.

Not content with that...I watched The Red Desert ( Il Deserto Rosso ) (1964), Antonioni's first colour film and what a great use of colour, focus (or lack of it!) and close ups he made.

You can't take your eyes off Monica Vitti as she loses her grip on reality in this crisis of vision (literally...).

Richard Harris also stars but it's all about Monica in what must be one of the great cinematographic triumphs of any period.

Clever, deep and good looking...what else do you want?