Antonnioni is the master. His Red Desert covers all the themes of alienation, abandonment, violence (to the human soul)and holds up little hope (the hope is at the end when the woman and child walk away w/the industrial wasteland in the background and one senses that this woman, who is obviously mad, is the one who has hope because she is looking at the wasteland for what it is--her madness(nervous breakdown) brought on by a trauma that reveals the fragility of life and thereby the deep fear of death. But her nervous breakdown is a nervous breakthrough, an awakening, if she can through grace chart a way out of the madness, something we never find out, but in her there is hope. Everyone else in the film is like all the characters in Requiem, giving themselves over to endless distraction, and the upper-crust have more money for more distractions and thereby can more easily pass through life without ever having to look at their living deaths. In Eclipse the stock market it the grand distraction, as the television show is for the mother in Requiem.
It is easier to reach the soul through quiet and minimilism, imagery and sound. But Aronofsky's blazing autopsy on the lie we live must be commended.
The human person in Antonnioni's world is lost (La Aventura & Blow Up being very direct in this theme). We cannot find each other--we are all lost in assigned identities, or identities we adopt to simply have company to stave off the alienation, but this is a more terrible aloneness. During Blow up, the photographer's roomate, an artist, points to a piece of paint in an abstract drawing and says that that is the center of the picture. At the end Antonionni frames a similar canvas, and the spot is the human person, the center. Antonnioni obviously loves life/humanity.
Yes, Antonnioni is the master. Aronofsky is a New Yorker (so am I) who is in your face. But when our neighbors are walking around traumatized by this terrible abandonment, sometimes we can't help oursleves--we scream! (Aronofsky)
Of all the young directors, Egoyan is a true master artist, and it is no coincidense that Antonnioni asked him to take over directing his latest film if he is not able to finish it. I'm certain A is tipping his hat to Egoyan.
But there are important artists, and then there are the masters, like Antonnioni, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Godard and Teshigahara. But I appreciate every effort at diving into the truth from where the artist stands, regardless how great their gift.