The Master vs. The Student: Antonioni and Coppola Essay

The Master vs. The Student: Antonioni and CoppolaMichelangelo Antonioni initiated a shift in Italian film in the 1950s. He kept some aspects of Italian Neorealism but then moved away into the world of the art film. With Blow-up, which was made possible by a deal MGM for a series of films in English, he takes a meandering, odd storyline and places it in trendy, ?swinging? London (Thompson & Bordwell, 426-7). He further reinforces the distance between the diegetic world of the film and the audience through precisely spacious camera techniques. ?I want to re-create reality in an abstract form. I?m really questioning the nature of reality,? Antonioni has said honestly about the film (Arrowsmith, 112). He has taken the audience-active film to a new and interesting level.Blow-up has often times been compared to Francis Ford Coppola?s The Conversation. The two films not only share a similar plot (two men, both leaders in their fields, inadvertently stumble across a murder or murder plot and must reevaluate themselves while reevaluating their creations) but Coppola uses much of the same camera techniques as Antonioni, as well. The film is not a total emulation, though; Coppola adds his own twist by taking space and contorting it, whereas Antonioni might leave it in the abstract. In examining the two aspects of space and self-evaluation, one can see that Coppola?s The Conversation does not imitate Antonioni?s Blow-up as much as it learns from it.Antonioni?s most noticeable and intriguing tool of Blow-up is the use of space within each frame. Antonioni, on the cusp of Neorealism, often times places the camera far from Thomas (the main character played by David Hemmings), letting him move about freely within the frame. …

…as far back in the room the camera could get, it seems). All of these shots reinforce the loneliness, desperation, and isolation of these two stranded souls. All these shots lend to the two breaking down barriers within themselves to reach a better, actualized self. And, all of these shots could easily have been produced by Antonioni or Francis Coppola; perhaps there is hope for a new wave of the Antonioni-art-film style.

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Works Cited

Arrowsmith, William. (1995). Antonioni, The Poet of Images. New York: Oxford.Brunette, Peter. (1998). The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni. Cambridge, UnitedKingdom: Cambridge University.Leprohon, Pierre. (1963). Michelangelo Antonioni: an Introduction. New York:Simon and Schuster.Thompson, Kristen & Bordwell, David. (2003). Film History, an Introduction. Boston:McGraw Hill.


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