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Where did all the people go | TIME ONLINE



live from people and show their lives. But it is a fundamental misunderstanding that the absence of people in the film always means an apocalypse. It comes from the beginnings of cinema. The classics of the big city film
Weimar Republic developed precisely, precisely because they were silent films
and keen to experiment in the everyday life of democratic mass society
the traditional middle class began to dissolve. Filmmakers like Walter Ruttmann, Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer and Billy Wilder showed cities as swarming places
Sociability where people from different milieus work and get together
amuse. They constantly meet and gather, driven by hectic pace, boredom or curiosity,
they separate and reconnect again and again. These films staged
the liveliness of public spaces because they express the new political and individual freedom so vividly.

Given such images of a free public, it was logical that filmmakers
Surveillance and emergency states fantasized as a sequence of deserted scenes. In the
dystopian thrillers, by George A. Romeros Crazies (1973) to Danny Boyle's Zombie Apocalypse 28 days later (2002), the pictures are similar: Das
public life stands still, people are only outside as dead or in
Form of hygienists with respiratory protection, disinfect the streets and bodies
to dispose. Only the repetition of this visual language favored this
Misunderstanding that emptiness always expresses inhumanity.

Attention: picture trap!

that believes, falls into a picture trap that has an eye for diversity
deserted movie scenes obscured. That becomes clear Michelangelo
Antonioni, one of the most important directors
deserted pictures. By the
Having trained neorealism, he initially dealt with precise registration
human actions, especially work. His films since
the late 1940s were panoramas of different work gestures, in
which reflected social milieus. The farmers living along the Po and
Antonioni showed small towns as well as the urban street sweepers
emerging entrepreneurship in post-war northern Italy (Chronicle of one
, 1950) and the urban factory proletariat (The Scream, 1957).

at the latest with The night (1961) started Antonioni, the people from his
Literally clearing away films. The images of the urban and rural,
prosperous and poor life that neorealism with sociographic
Accuracy differed, suddenly became eerily similar. In L’Eclisse (German: love) from 1962 Monica Vitti and Alain Delon move through
deserted Rome. The isolated passers-by seem like the remains of a dismantled one

But different
as in dystopian films, there are no traces of annihilation and destruction
Death. On the contrary, the Italian capital is as if cleaned, everything
is still there, but nothing seems to be used anymore. Streets, cafes, gardens
and landscapes offer a life in their beauty and abandonment
that no longer lives. Obviously, just as little as the people. This
know as little to do with each other in their rooms as with their books,
Clothes and furniture – relics of bourgeois prosperity that can only be looked at
but is no longer enjoyed.

Full interiors, empty exteriors

Of the
Contrast between full indoor spaces, empty outdoor spaces and for decoration
at Antonioni comes across frozen apartments again and again. The red desert
(1964) shows the industrial area around Ravenna as a relic of a dead one
Production method in which workers operate machines that no one knows about
what they produce. Big city streets, canals, landscapes seem deserted,
just a party on a houseboat to which the protagonists happen to
coming together increases to intoxication. Also Blow up (1966), Antonionis
most famous film
, shows an empty London in which only the clubs are full
and through the empty parks a photographer chases a couple of lovers,
being the victim of an (apparent) murder in front of the lens
who never gets enlightened and maybe never happened.

. (tagsToTranslate) culture (t) films (t) curfew (t) quarantine (t) apocalypse (t) coronavirus (t) film history (t) film (t) Michelangelo Antonioni (t) Eric Rohmer


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