Joseph Luzzi: "Freedom and Constraint in Antonioni: Blow-Up between Text and Image"
Part of the ROSTRUM series, hosted by The Language and Thinking Program at Bard College languageandthinking.bard.edu/
Joseph Luzzi is Associate Professor of Italian and Director of the Italian Studies Program at Bard College. He spoke in Weis Cinema of Bertelsman Campus Center on the Bard campus on August 22, 2014.
My talk will focus on how Michelangelo Antonioni explores our dialectic between "freedom and constraint" in his film Blow-Up, especially in its creative tension between the social and sexual revolution of the 1960s and the desire for "truth" and "evidence" in a world increasingly beholden to illusion and escapism. Considering both Antonioni's film and the short story that inspired it, Julio Cortázar's "The Devil's Spittle," we will discuss how Antonioni meditates on art's capacity to reveal truth about lived experience in a way that more empirical modes of investigation fail to do, especially in the film's portrayal of the transition from photographic still to cinematic narrative. Overall, our conversation will consider what I take to be an often overlooked aspect of Antonioni's films: their sense of humanism and sharp sociopolitical analysis, hidden as it were in the incredible beauty of his rarefied aesthetic forms.