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Twenty-three years after L'Avventura (1960), Michelangelo Antonioni returns to Lisca Bianca Island. The rarefied atmosphere of Lea's disappearance is recalled by some audio excerpts from the original movie.
After living seven years with the mechanic Aldo, having a daughter with him, the simple woman Irma is informed that her absent husband had just died in Sydney. She becomes upset when Aldo proposes to marry her and she tells him that she is going to leave him. Unable to explain how much he loves her, Aldo takes their daughter Rosina and travels with her, meeting different women in different places, trying to establish a new relationship and fill the emptiness of his sentimental life. He visits his former lover Elvia; he meets and lives with the widow Virginia, who owns a gas station; he lives with the prostitute Andreina. But these relationships never complete the needy Aldo. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Known as "The Outcry" in the U.S. A wonderful if disturbing film about alienation and modern society. Not for those who like bouncy, happy films.
The great though relatively forgotten American actor Steve Cochran is near perfect as the worker who finds he cannot communicate, with those he loves, and so begins a downward spiral towards a state of mental disintegration. What is interesting are the Marxist and Freudian overtones that Antonioni puts on the character. The protagonist as the result of his economic position in a capitalist society ( he only has his labour to sell) is uprooted from his community and therefore alienated from his environment, and so becomes alienated from those he loves. The harder he tries the more he withdraws until he perceives he can suffer no more.
Cochran always was very good at playing "heavies" or "playboys", and here he manages to bring both to his underdog character who is strong, brutish and handsome. At the same time he manages to convey the loneliness and vulnerability the character lives through showing that those attributes are not enough to survive.
Antonioni directs with a sure hand a picture of a successful, postwar, industrial Italy where everything is not as easy as it seems. Needless to say the film is in black and white and photographed in grainy neo realist style. The landscapes, in true Antonioni fashion, are bleak, and the loneliness and isolation from others is reflected in the distance between buildings. The leisured pacing, adds to the feeling that life drags on without change.
Antonioni's characters normally, as his films L'eclisse and Red Desert, as with fellow Italian directors Fellini and De Sica during the same period, usually have uncertain futures, as if there is a hidden side to Italy's postwar economic miracle. Here, it's as if the protagonist has a manifest destiny from which there is no redemption.
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