Short films by Michelangelo Antonioni | Chicago Reader

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Even after one factors in the 1985 stroke that left Michelangelo Antonioni mainly paralyzed, the ambiguous degree to which his wife Erica has been responsible for most of his subsequent work (some of which she cosigns), and the overall decline in the quality of most of his films since the 70s, the shorts in this program, all commissioned and showing in excellent prints or on video, are truly all over the map. They range from his beautiful documentaries of the late 1940s (about people working in the Po River valley, Roman street cleaners, the production of popular photographed comic strips called fumetti, superstitions, and the manufacture of rayon clothes) to his more uneven travel sketches of the 1990s (about Rome, Sicily, and the island of Stromboli). In between are so-so works about rock carvings in the Villa Orsini and a cable car (1950) and bathing in the Ganges (1989), plus a truly awful music video from 1984. 110 min.

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