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16-Jul-2016 09:30

If it is regrettable to see the public wearing out new fashions in art as fast as automobiles, it is detestable to see criticism going along with this, if not actually leading the charge.The Antonioni case is like Beckett’s, but intensified.And therefore I was taken aback to hear enthusiastic admirers of with triumphantly vindictive malice.And 1 was astonished at what this malice allowed intelligent people to say.

Perhaps it never has been, not even in the golden age.There has been the same puzzled annoyance with an artist who keeps on thinking and feeling about themes that everybody can see are worn out—themes like “lack of communication” or “commitment.” There has been the same eagerness to master a difficult style and then the same relapse into boredom when that style turns out to be something the artist really takes seriously because that’s the way he really sees things. But the movies wider audience and the correspondingly louder publicity has turned fortune’s wheel much faster for Antonioni; and his self-presentation as a great artist—in the perhaps untrustworthy interviews, in his own writings and in the notable “masterpiece” style of his movies—has raised praise and blame to such a pitch that it is hard to approach any of his movies calmly._____________ The trilogy that brought his work to attention is uneven, certainly, and I go along with the majority who think clearly the best.