Feb 14, 2011

20th Feb 2011; Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura

A film by Michelangelo Antonioni
Country: Italy
Year: 1960
Italian with English subtitles
Runtime: 143 min
20th Feb 2011
Perks Mini Theater, Perks School

The plot of "L'Avventura'' became famous because, it was said, nothing happened in the movie. What we saw was a search without a conclusion, a disappearance without a solution.

A group of wealthy friends are cruising the sea near Sicily on a yacht. They anchor near an island, swim ashore and begin to explore. Anna (Lea Massari) has quarreled with her lover Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti), and has been overheard saying she wanted to be left alone. They both go ashore, along with her friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) and others. After a time Anna cannot be found. The others search the island for her; it is mostly rocks and scrubby trees, and there seem few places to hide, but she cannot be found.

The aesthetic marriage of image, performance, and sound (the score is spare, but subtly effective) creates a continuous mood that seems to capture something essential about the human condition. To a certain extent these visual effects go beyond verbal articulation, and Antonioni, himself, has suggested the same thing by shying away from explicit commentary on the film’s meaning. This is evidently what was meant by the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize’s wording, and also to those who respond to the film’s imagery, when it is said that L’Avventura created “a new movie language”.
Many films are called “classic,” but few qualify as turning points in the evolution of cinematic language, films that opened the way to a more mature art form. Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (The Adventure) is such a work. It divided film history into that which came before and that which was possible after its epochal appearance. It expanded our knowledge of what a film could be and do. It is more than a classic, it’s an historical milestone.

Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper.

In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema" studying directorship at the School of Cinema. As he was indebted to neorealism his films reflect his bourgeois roots like in his first movie Cronaca di un amore (1950) or La signora senza camelie (1953) or Le amiche (1955).

His biggest success was the trilogy L'avventura (1960), La notte (1961), and L'eclisse (1962), with which he won several prizes. This success allowed him to go abroad and to work on international scale in English: e.g. Blowup (1966) in London and Zabriskie Point (1970) in the USA as well as Professione: reporter (1975). A stroke in 1985 severely inhibited his productivity until his death in 2007.

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