Sur les tournages d’Antonioni (On Set With Antonioni)
From the early 1950s to his death in 2004, Sergio Strizzi documented the greatest films of some of the most legendary filmmakers of all time, the Italian registi. Directors and actors of all generations, from Toto and Vittorio de Sica to Ettore Scola and Liliana Cavani, loved to be photographed by him. One brief intense collaboration from the early 1960s really stands out, however: when Strizzi worked alongside Michelangelo Antonioni as he filmed La Notte, L’Éclipse and Red Desert. Photographing Antonioni’s sets did not mean casually recording moments of cheerful improvisation, however. Antonioni was thorough and meticulous, thinking about each shot as a unique work, and could only see eye to eye with a photographer who was as exacting as he was.
Strizzi succeeded in constructing each of his photographs like a painting faithful to the atmosphere and the spirit of Antonioni’s films. His approach to colour was similar to that of the master, moving to and fro between the sober elegance of black and white and the ever-present temptation to use colour. He recorded the somewhat unreal-looking and often unsettling sets—the big city without humans and devoid of joy—but more than this he managed to make palpable the feeling of solitude that inhabits Antonioni’s characters, even in love (perhaps above all in love). His lens captured the desperation in Mastroianni’s dandyism, the sublime in the face of the young Delon. But it was women that most caught his attention (not to mention his interest). Who better than him could have done justice to the majestic bearing of Jeanne Moreau or the vague gaze of Monica Vitti? The haughty master of ellipsis in cinema found in Sergio Strizzi not so much a colleague as a partner whose talent matched his own.
By Guillaume de Sardes