Archive for October 21st, 2008

Given moral insensitivity of man ruining the form of government, whichever form it may take, why would anyone want to import it to others? Either he is a fool or he has a far more sinister motive in such a foolhardy enterprise.
A white man went to the sub-sahara regions around 1850s. He was an intrepid traveler though somewhat dull. He lived among the tribes and learnt to speak their dialects. He adopted many of their customs and only fault he could speak of was the toilet practice of the natives.
One morning he asked rather peeved, “why use pebbles when you can use toilet paper? I never stir abroad without a cartloads of them.” The wizened old man said, “pebbles are free; why you want us to pay for something that goes out freely?”

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An expert in finance on account of recent events needs to be redefined. We traditionally think he is a know- all watching over the economic trends; and now it seems he is more like a punter at the dog race.
“An expert is a fellow who is afraid to learn anything new because then he would not be an expert anymore.”(Harry S. Truman)

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The Cannes Film Festival, 1960. Over two hours into a new Italian film, a woman runs down the imposing corridor of a baroque hotel in extreme long shot. Spectators shout: “cut, cut!” amid frequent laughter and jeering’.The director and the star of the film runs from the screening room. The director was Michelangelo Antonioni.

L’Avventura is a film that a viewer may either intensely admire or hate; there can’t be anything in between. Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti), the male lead in this movie is as hollow as Marcello in Il Conformista( Bertolucci). He is an aging architect who has opted out for easy money and has grown up without acquiring any graces that maturity could instill in any. He has brought along his mistress Anna (Lea Massari) and her friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) on a yachting trip to Lisca Bianca, an almost unpopulated volcanic island off the coast of Sicily. Anna is unhappy and bored with Sandro. Her best friend is by her own admission a nouveau riche but she doesn’t fit with jetsetter’s shallow ethics. After napping on the rocks, they awaken to find Anna has gone without a trace. Claudia blames Sandro for her disappearance. But as they search all over the island for Anna they comes closer. Soon they are lovers. But love for one who is emotionally awkward must serve as prelude for many heartaches to come. The firstblow comes too soon as Claudia seeks out Sandro who is late in coming and she finds him in the arms of a prostitute. Sandro has a breakdown on the desolate beach and Claudia forgives silently. Antonioni in this film explores social-sexual relationships and the film is set on a windtossed and barren island. Environment mirroring the emotional states of Sandro and Claudia.
The audience at the Cannes expected to see mystery and drama and instead Antonioni gave them a study in existentialism of their own condition. Naturally the viewer was not amused.
Along with much of Antonioni’s other work, L’avventura is often cited as an early feminist film with strong and richly characterized female protagonists.

Did Antonioni forget to get back to Anna after she mysteriously disappeared on the island? Anna’s disappearance in a traditional film would have occupied the turning point around which rest of the events fall into place. ‘Antonioni is interested less in developing a logical story than in exploring states of feeling and breakdowns in human connection’(Robert Firsching-all movie). Sandro and his emotional barrenness is delineated through the prism of Anna’ disappearance; Here is a man who as Bertrolucci’s character, Marcello wanted to belong to those who are shallow and dissolute. The jetset have no ideology that we associate with Fascism or any other except having a good time. As Roger Ebert characterizes them they are “on the brink of disappearance”- Ebert -Chicago Sun Times, 19 January 1997) Anna’s disappearance must be unfortunate but their emotional depth being negligible they move on to other pursuits of the moment. Antonioni treats her case from Sandro’s own point of view that by association represents theirs as well.
“Without God, the universe may seem to have no ultimate order or rational unifying principle”, writes philosopher Peter K. McInerny of existentialism.
From an existentialist’s point of view man is adrift: before Anna disappears, Antonioni presents a joyless swimming party where the characters seem adrift and on the island, they perambulate and view one another as intrusive elements. With astonishing economy of style and mise-en scene isolation of the individuals as islands is further reinforced.
After Claudia has supplanted Anna in Sandro’s bed her guilt is projected in a scene that cannot fail us as hint of the film-makers intent: he is not telling a straightforward story. In Claudia’s guilt ridden mind the public squares acquires a menacing aspect, entirely composed of men.
Gabriele Ferzetti     Sandro
Monica Vitti     Claudia
Lea Massari     Anna
Dominique Blanchar     Giulia
Renzo Ricci     Anna’s Father
Dorothy de Poliolo     Gloria Perkins
Esmeralda Ruspoli     Patrizia
James Addams     Corrado
Lelio Luttazzi     Raimondo
Giovanni Petrucci     Young Prince
Jack O’Connell     Old man on the island
Angela Tommasi di Lampedusa     The Princess

Similar Movies
Picnic at Hanging Rock  (1975, Peter Weir)
Red Desert  (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Blow-Up  (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Le Grand Meaulnes  (1967, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco)
La Salamandre  (1971, Alain Tanner)
Under the Sand  (2000, François Ozon)
Climates  (2006, Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Danzon  (1991, Maria Novaro)
Quiet City  (2007, Aaron Katz)
Paris, Texas  (1983, Wim Wenders)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Blow-Up  (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni)
The Passenger  (1975, Michelangelo Antonioni)
L’eclisse  (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Red Desert  (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Zabriskie Point  (1970, Michelangelo Antonioni)
La Notte  (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Le Amiche  (1955, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Grazie, Zia  (1967, Salvatore Samperi)
Other Related Movies
is followed by:      La Notte  (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni)
is featured in:      My Voyage to Italy  (2001, Martin Scorsese)
influenced:      Climates  (2006, Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
First part of the unofficial “Incommunicability Trilogy” with Notte, La (1961) and Eclisse, L’ (1962). Michelangelo Antonioni didn’t make the three movies as a trilogy, but cinema historians have called it so since then.(imdb)

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Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)

Leopold Mozart, father of the composer called him ‘a scheming egotist,’ which perhaps was right. The kapellemister of Joseph II and the younger composer became quite friendly towards the end of Mozart’s life.

Salieri was highly regarded  as a teacher and his pupils include Hummel,Beethoven,Schubert and Liszt.

selected from Mozart,the man,the musician

by Arthur Hutchings


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