Michelangelo Antonioni

Born Sept. 29, 1912, in Ferrera, Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni became interested in filmmaking while in college. Moving to Rome in 1940, he continued his film studies; however, the intervention of World War II and difficulties getting financing meant it would be 20 years before he achieved his first major success with L'Avventura.

Although that film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, it frustrated viewers with its snail's pace, long shots and lack of narrative resolution -- all characteristics that would resurface in his later work. With his following two films -- La Notte (1961) and L'Eclisse (1962) -- Antonioni completed his trilogy on alienation.

Antonioni's English-language debut would also represent his commercial and artistic peak: Blowup -- which stars Vanessa Redgrave and is set in mod London -- earned Antonioni Oscar nominations for writing and directing.