[3 August 2011]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
As with many Italian filmmakers of his era, Michelangelo Antonioni got his start in journalism. After a childhood of privilege and precocious talents (it is said he was a marvelous violinist by age nine), he fell in love with cinema. Indulged by his overprotective parents, he has free reign to explore all aspects of his impending muse. It was during his time at the University of Bologna when he first developed an affinity for the “lower” classes. He found them more alive and vibrant than the staid and stiff members of the pre-War bourgeoisie. After graduation he struggled as a film journalist, went back to school to study the artform, and eventually found a job with the official fascist publication of the subject (run by dictator Benito Mussolini’s son, Vittorio). After a stint in the army (where he helped other future filmmakers with their efforts), he fell back in to his favorite form, using his time in the military to create documentary style neo-realistic takes on everyday Italian life.