The Passenger (It-Ger-Spain, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975)

I’m a fan of arthouse but is it that Antonioni’s portentous (slow) and (would be/maybe is) style simply feels outdated or are my brain cells not what they used to be. The Passenger‘s interesting, and Nicholson’s always watchable, but does it really take 2 hours to tell this tale. As I say, maybe I’m getting impatient in my middle age (do I really have time to watch this when I’ve already seen it?) or maybe the 21st century isn’t friendly to this sort of arthouse. Is it me or is it the film?

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Shoeshine (Italy, 1946)

Preceded Bicycle Thieves and follows the same tragic pattern – well it had to didn’t it in post-war Italy given the fact this is a neo realist film. Brilliantly done, particularly in the performances and cinematography (much of it shot in a prison). Maybe a tad too melodramatic (well there’s a contradiction in terms) at the end but still wonderful. (DVD)

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The Night Porter (Italy, 1974)

I guess it was quite daring for the time: a concentration camp victim has an ‘affair’ with her guard 30-odd years after the war. It still is quite daring but I found the 1970s’ multi-national arthouse style (ie use of dubbing and telephoto lens) irritating. I saw it first as part of my Film/Lit degree at Warwick Uni in the early ’80s. No surprise I didn’t really understand it then; but I don’t really understand it now. (DVD, 3) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071910/

The Consequences of Love (Italy, 2004)

An arthouse genre film (ie it draws on the gangster movie but does so tangentially) that’s worth a watch. Focusing on an old(ish) guy who re-evaluates his life (the early shot of a horse driven hearse references Wild Strawberries) when he develops a relationship with a young woman. However, he is not exactly a painting in either looks nor personality and she, Olivia Magnani (Anna’s grand-daughter) has stunning looks and personality. A dramatic flaw I think. (Off air recording – OAR). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398883/