Italians pay respects to Michelangelo Antonioni during ceremony at Rome's City Hall

Cinema lovers and fans joined family members and friends at Rome's City Hall on Wednesday to pay their respects to the late Italian movie director Michelangelo Antonioni.

Antonioni, a darling of avant-garde cinema and a celebrated filmmaker across the world, died Monday evening at age 94. During a career that spanned six decades, he produced such classics as "L'Avventura," "Blow-Up" and "Zabriskie Point" and was recognized with an Oscar for lifetime achievement.

"His look was very special, truly unique," Antonioni's widow, Enrica Fico, told reporters at the ceremony.

"He stole everything from anyone, in the sense that he would observe and had this professional curiosity."

Antonioni's body laid in state at City Hall, and among those paying their respects was Italian director Mario Monicelli.

Antonioni's trademark style of sparse dialogue, long takes and a slow-moving camera made him a leading figure in art-house cinema in the 1960s. Along with Federico Fellini, he helped turn postwar Italian film away from the Neorealism movement and toward a personal cinema of imagination.

A funeral is scheduled Thursday in the northern city of Ferrara, where Antonioni was born on Sept. 29, 1912.

His death shortly after that of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman leaves European cinema without two of its most significant personalities.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova