Architecture and urban landscape in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film La Notte

la-notte-michelangelo-antonioni

No filmmaker has used architecture to greater effect than michelangelo Antonioni. In his tetralogy, L’aventura (1960) – La Notte (1961) – L’eclipse (1962 – Il Deserto Rosso (1964), the director explored architecture and the urbanized landscape as the physical soul of modern humanity. Unconcerned with plot, character development and dialog, Antonioni shifts the viewer’s attention to the wide-open confinements of the modern mise-en-scène. Architecture both contributes to the events taking place among actors and acts independently with other objects in motion and in space.la-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonioni

Throughout the tetralogy, Antonioni use architecture to emphasize his themes of alienation and isolation. Walls, in particular, illustrate the ability (or inability) of his characters to relate to each other. For Antonioni, blank walls often symbolize mute feelings, an inability to express oneself or connect with others, metaphors for a distanced soul.la-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonionila-notte-michelangelo-antonioni

The environment, instead of being meaningful background, became more and more character on its own. It is almost as if the landscape had feelings. The images are composed carefully, just as most architectural photographers work. You can see Antonioni’s interest in the abstraction of space. Within a frame, the object can be as importent as the characters.michelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-notte

Many of his films, La Notte included, end at dawn or dusk, that time of luminary transition when the sharp glare and clear lines of the marketplace world are diffused and the anxiety of human emotions softened.michelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-nottemichelangelo-antonioni-la-notte

Screenshots: Raoul Suermondt

Text source: The book Architecture and Film

Slideshow on Vimeo