Saturday, March 23, 2013

Michelangelo Antonioni: The Passenger (Take II)

Antonioni's The Passenger (1975) is an odd sort of road movie that takes its main character (played by Jack Nicholson) on a journey dicated largely by a dead man's day planner. Why does he do it? Having assumed another's identitity, why does he insist on walking in the other man's shoes? Therein lies one mystery.

The ambience that permeates The Passenger feels like fate, like myth, like an inevitable time and place and outcome. What we see are detailed (and often beautiful) shots of people and buildings, vehicles, landscapes and skies set in, around and above North Africa, London, Germany and Spain.

The Passenger sticks with me like the memory of some strong dream; somewhere down the line it eventually conjured up in my comparative memory what could be seen as a companion film: Wim Wenders' Der Amerikanische Freund / The American Friend (1977), starring Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz. Both delve into identity and coincidence, fate and the big picture, and there be Germans.

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.        


Sidney said...

I've seen "The Passenger," but it's been a while. I need to take a fresh look.

Charles Gramlich said...

A quirky jumping off place for a movie for sure.