Michelangelo Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (29 September 1912 – 30 July 2007), was an Italian film director, screenwriter,editor, and short story writer. Best known for his “trilogy on modernity and its discontents”—L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L’Eclisse(1962)—Antonioni “redefined the concept of narrative cinema” and challenged traditional approaches to storytelling, realism, drama, and the world at large. He produced “enigmatic and intricate mood pieces” and rejected action in favor of contemplation, focusing on image and design over character and story. His films defined a “cinema of possibilities”.
Antonioni received numerous awards and nominations throughout his career, including the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize (1960, 1962), Palme d’Or (1966), and 35th Anniversary Prize (1982); the Venice Film Festival Silver Lion (1955), Golden Lion (1964), FIPRESCI Prize (1964, 1995), and Pietro Bianchi Award (1998); the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon eight times; and an honorary Academy Award in 1995.
Antonioni died aged 94 on 30 July 2007 in Rome, the same day that another renowned film director, Ingmar Bergman, also died. Antonioni lay in state at City Hall in Rome where a large screen showed black-and-white footage of him among his film sets and behind-the-scenes. He was buried in his home town of Ferrara on 2 August 2007. He was an atheist.