Existentialism in the cinema of Michelangelo Antonioni.
This thesis discusses the scope for philosophy in and about film.
It applies philosophical analysis to both the form and the content
of Antonioni's films, and is thus both a philosophical approach to
Antonioni's cinema as well as an exploration of his philosophical
The first part of the thesis reviews worthwhile discussions that are
relevant to the complex relationship between film and philosophy.
It also assesses the way in which the trend of philosophical
thought known as existentialism fits into this relationship.
General notions about existentialism are thus reviewed, as well as
those that bear more particularly on art and cinema, and especially
on the world as it is represented by Antonioni.
Parallel to this, the thesis explores the role of time and space in
film, and the philosophical implications of the way they are used
The second part of the thesis is devoted to the analysis of
specific themes in Antonioni's films that relate them to an
existentialist interpretation of reality.
Chapter six is devoted to the early Antonioni, from his documentary
shorts up to I1 grido, a period in which the phenomenological
quality of his exploration of reality is already clearly
Chapter seven deals with Antonioni's peculiar narrative style and
the way in which this style reflects his philosophical stances.
The final chapters of the thesis are devoted to Antonioni's second
important core of films and discuss the shift in Antonioni's
central concerns. In films such as Deserto rosso, Blow Up, The
Passenger, or Zabriskie Point, the connection with existentialism
is related both to specific themes, such as anxiety and alienation,
as well as to the more abstract philosophical stances that are
implied by an existentialist worldview. In these films Antonioni
questions reality itself, and discusses the limits of both our
perception and representation of it.