Friday, March 22, 2013

Michelangelo Antonioni: The Passenger (Take I)

Another absorbing (and strange) film by Antonioni is The Passenger (1975), starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider. In English and in color. Locations are as wide-ranging as in a Bond film, starting with Francophone Chad, the African nation just south of Libya. It's largely about identity, or social contructs if you prefer. And, preconceived notions of what makes people tick. The setup if this: Locke (Nicholson) is a BBC reporter covering Africa; he's made friends out in the field (at a desert inn, to be specific) with Roberston, a man with a heart condition, secret arms dealer by trade. When Locke finds Roberston dead of "natural causes," his immediate instinct is to switch identities. And then off he goes back into the world, leaving his wife in London a "widow." Much happens as a result of this decision.

Usually in movies, such identity swaps are played for laughs, but a similar dramatic switch forms the backdrop for Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in the AMC series Mad Men. 

Today's Rune: Possessions.  


Charles Gramlich said...

I generally catch most Jack Nickelson movies but haven't seen this one.

the walking man said...

I'll swap identities with you Erik.