Restored version of Antonioni’s brilliant hybrid of Hollywood thriller and existential mystery. The hippest film of 1975 was inexplicably withheld from circulation until now by its owner and star Jack Nicholson.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Mysteriously withheld from circulation by its owner and star Jack Nicholson after its release in 1975, Michelangelo Antonioni’s brilliant hybrid of Hollywood thriller and existential mystery has nonetheless continued to grow in reputation. This long-awaited restoration, which includes seven minutes cut by MGM in 1975, vindicates the legend. Nicholson plays a world-weary reporter who swaps passports in a Sahara hotel with a dead adventurer, meets a mysterious woman (Last Tango’s Maria Schneider) and is plunged out of his depth into a violent world of political intrigue. “Moving from the sprawl of the North African desert to the delirious glitter of Gaudi’s Barcelona, this autumnal masterpiece shows the director at his most searching and profound, not least in the breathtaking climactic shot that’s one of the high points in cinema history.” — New York Film Festival
“With its dangling flashbacks, long takes, deep spaces, and hovering sense of violence, The Passenger is one of the strongest films in Antonioni’s enduring study of identity and apartness.” — Don DeLillo