Antonioni is my master. I remember watching L’Avventura for the first time with a mixture of utter euphoria and complete bafflement. He was the first artist to show me how one’s response to life could be approached in art. His elliptical and enigmatic films are riddles and still have a freshness about them that many films of that era lost long ago. His stories are no different. They are a sketchbook of outlines and aperçus but always they are about the inability of people to connect. As a child in Ferrara, Antonioni was fascinated by buildings. He would make models and place people inside them, making up stories as to why they were there. This interest in space, and the relationship between people and space, runs through all his work. The story I have chosen for this list is about Antonioni catching himself in a street, watching a man point at something. Antonioni looks but can’t locate what he is pointing at. A woman leaves a shop and the pointing man is reflected in its window suddenly pointing accusingly at Antonioni himself. A spine-tingling moment.
In That Bowling Alley on the Tiber, trans. William Arrowsmith, Oxford University Press, 1986)