Michelangelo Antonioni

T. ing.: The Passenger; Sog.: Mark Peploe; Scen.: Michelangelo Antonioni, Mark Peploe, Peter Wollen; F.: Luciano Tovoli; Mo.: Michelangelo Antonioni, Franco Arcalli; Scgf.: Piero Poletto; Cost.: Louise Stjensward; Mu.: Ivan Vandor; Int.: Jack Nicholson (David Locke), Maria Schneider (la ragazza), Jenny Runacre (Rachel Locke), Ian Hendry (Martin Knight), Steven Berkoff (Stephen), Ambroise Bea (Achebe); Prod.: Carlo Ponti per Compagnia Cinematografica Champion / Les Films de la Concorde / CIPI Cinematografica 35mm. D.: 126’. Col.


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

(…) from the outset, the camera seems to wander on its own, in an objective, not a subjective manner. In an interview in 1975, Antonioni said, “I no longer want to employ the subjective camera, in other words, the camera that represents the viewpoint of the character.”

At the plot level, the effect is not distraction but spatial disorientation, both for the character and for the audience. In the desert, for example, a shot will typically start with a broad pan from left to right. The camera seems to be looking for something. The effect is strangely tense, as if the camera itself did not know what to expect. (…) It remains aloof, alert to independent inquiry, even to the possibilities of a completely different story. What is the story, it asks, of the enigmatic dromedary and rider at the beginning of the film, or of the driver-training car at the end? What is the story of the passengers in the cars racing back and forth on the highway, which it momentarily follows instead of staying with Locke and the Girl in the hotel restaurant?

(…) One might speculate that, by exchanging identities with Robertson, the fictional Locke satisfies the real Antonioni’s desire to “see what the next story is like,” a satisfaction that the camera cannot permit itself. It is as if the story had more courage than the discourse. Antonioni does not allow himself to go all the way, as Buñuel did in The Phantom of Liberty, literally dumping the first story for an intruding second one, the second one for a third, and so forth. But perhaps the amazing penultimate shot of The Passenger bears, in addition to its other meanings, the suggestion that the camera is liberating itself – of this story, Locke’s story – to go off in search of others.

Seymour Chatman, Antonioni, or The Surface of the World (University of California Press, 1985)


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