fri 20/09/2019

DVD: L'Eclisse | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: L'Eclisse

DVD: L'Eclisse

Antonioni's 1962 classic of alienation loses none of its power

Monica Vitti and Alain Delon in 'L'Eclisse'

Antonioni’s celebrated trio of films, L’Aventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse, established the Italian director as a major and influential force in world cinema. All three of the works deal with the failure that resides at the heart of human relationship, offering a Mediterranean mirror to the Nordic angst associated with Bergman’s films of the same era.

The women in Antonioni’s films – often played by Monica Vitti, his wife and muse – invariably upstage the men.  Vittoria, in L’Eclisse, leaves her rather limp boyfriend Riccardo (Francesco Rabal) and drifts away from the wreckage of the bust-up, as if she were a leaf buffeted by the wind. Vitti’s acting skills and Antonioni’s sensitive directing, supported by pacing of a slowness that was considered revolutionary at the time, make for a remarkable evocation of subtle shifts in mood and a sense that human choices are random and that we are barely in command of our destinies.

Vittoria’s halting relationship with the young stockbroker Piero, played by the rising French star Alain Delon, provides the main thread of a story that contrasts the bleak anomie of modern Roman suburbs with the almost animal fury displayed by the members of the stock exchange.

In the film’s closing minutes, the conventional narrative gives way to shots of empty streets and the locations in which the low-key drama of the film has unfolded. There are also ominous references to the threat of nuclear war. It is perhaps in the light of the shadow of catastrophe that the tragic and almost absurd shadow-play between the characters is best understood. Antonioni was very much in tune with the doom-laden atmosphere of his times. And yet, the film’s crystalline modernity and stunning photography (Gianni di Venanzo) have in no way lost their disturbing emotional force.

The women in Antonioni’s films invariably upstage the men

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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