The Passenger
(Professione: reporter)

Screening on Film
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni .
Italy/Spain/France, 1975, 35mm, color, 122 min.
Print source: Sony Pictures Classics

Antonioni’s troubled characters often speak of escape to a foreign land or beginning their lives anew. In The Passenger Jack Nicholson’s David Locke, a television journalist traveling into the depths of Africa attempts to realize further liberation by trading his identity with that of a dead man. Gradually picking up clues as the audience does about his new self’s precarious livelihood, he discovers a more active, passionate, political participant of life. When an equally mysterious woman mirrors and diffuses his displaced self even more, they flee together from pursuers of both men. Interweaving actual and fictional documentary footage with fluid, dissolve-less movements back and forth in time, Antonioni delivers a subtly and profoundly rich existential treatise. All cinematic elements and spaces flow seamlessly to the deceptively leisurely choreography of the camera, concluding with the brilliant tracking shot at the end of an inscrutably drawn double-ellipsis. 

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The Mysteries of Michelangelo Antonioni

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