Michelangelo Antonioni Cavaliere di Gran Croce was an Italian film director, screenwriter, editor, and painter who died on July 30, 2007. He is most known for his “trilogy on modernity and its discontents,” L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L’Eclisse (1962), as well as the English-language films Blowup (1966), The Passenger (1967), and Zabriskie Point (1970). His films have been described as “mysterious and complicated mood pieces” with enigmatic narratives, outstanding visual composition, and an obsession with contemporary landscapes. His work had a significant impact on later art cinema.
Antonioni received numerous awards and nominations throughout his career, including the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize (1960, 1962), Palme d’Or (1966), and 35th Anniversary Prize (1982); the Venice Film Festival Silver Lion (1955), Golden Lion (1964), FIPRESCI Prize (1964, 1995), and Pietro Bianchi Award (1998); the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon eight times; and an honorary Academy Award in 1995. He is one of three filmmakers to have won the Palme d’Or, Golden Lion, and Golden Bear, and the only one to have won all three as well as the Golden Leopard.
Between Zabriskie Point and The Passenger, Antonioni was asked to visit China by the Mao administration of the People’s Republic of China in 1972. He created the documentary Chung Kuo, Cina, but the Chinese government condemned it as “anti-Chinese” and “anti-communist.”