Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni redefined the concept of narrative cinema, challenging the accepted notions at the heart of storytelling, realism, drama, and the world at large; his films -- a seminal body of enigmatic and intricate mood pieces -- rejected action in favor of contemplation, championing image and design over character and story. Haunted by a sense of instability and impermanence, his work defined a cinema of possibilities; in Antonioni's world, riddles were not answered, but simply evaporated into other riddles.
Antonioni was born on September 29, 1912, in Ferrara, Italy; as a child, his interests included painting and building architectural models. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Bologna. While he was at college, his interest in the theater blossomed, and he also began writing short fiction and film reviews for a local newspaper, Il Corriere Padano, often running afoul of the motion-picture community for his savage attacks on the mainstream Italian comedies of the 1930s. Antonioni's initial attempt at filmmaking was a documentary profiling a nearby insane asylum; the project was aborted because the inmates would lapse into fits of panic each time the lights of the camera were turned on.