Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
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The setting is Vienna. A young American woman is brought to a hospital after overdosing on pills, apparently in a suicide attempt. A police detective suspects foul play on the part of her ... See full summary »
Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends ... See full summary »
A group of rich Italians head out on a yachting trip to a deserted volcanic island in the Mediterranean. When they are about to leave the island, they find Anna, the main character up to this point, has gone missing. Sandro, Anna's boyfriend, and Claudia, Anna's friend, try without success to find her. While looking for the missing friend, Claudia and Sandro develop an attraction for each other. When they get back to land, they continue the search with no success. Sandro and Claudia proceed to become lovers, and all but forget about the missing Anna. Written by
Despite its critical mauling at its first showing at the Cannes Film Festival, two years later "L'Avventura" was declared by Sight and Sound as the second best film of all time, right behind "Citizen Kane" (1941). See more »
During the sequence in which Sandro and the newspaper reporter cross a street, the shadows of the camera and the crew are clearly and prolongedly visible on the actors and on the street surface. See more »
Why should we be here talking, arguing? Believe me Anna, words are becoming less and less necessary; they create misunderstandings.
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Antonioni's "L'Avventura" is a most curious creation... It may be because this is the first film of the director's that I have seen, but I found it wilfully alienating and profuse in its indulgence.
This is first and foremost a cinematographer's film; absolutely astounding work here at times... there is an artist's eye to these canvases, such scope and depth to the pictures; it's quite beguiling. This is all said to be representative of Antonioni's vision of dislocated, isolated figures within a barren, icily arid Sicilian landscape.
The vision is soundly, perhaps too laboriously executed. Everything moves at a stubbornly staid, slow pace; surely meant to be symbolic of the odd, inert existences of the main characters. Inertia is excellently evoked; as is the emptiness of Ferzetti's character's emotions. Monica Vitti has an incredible screen presence, yet too much of her character is just built around playing at being enigmatic. Antonioni's camera revels in capturing this classical beauty in her languorous glory.
Yet it is the film's studied languor that really does alienate. The first 45-60 minutes, with the central enigma posed, leave one expecting something more special in the remainder. A hope that is not fulfilled, as the affair between Ferzetti and Vitti is padded out to its extremes. It's just not so interesting and involving a film once the action shifts away from the island. Everything is lingered on for perhaps inordinate lengths of time. Of course, the photography bewitches, but the actual dramatic matter of the film begins to grate a little after a while.
There is an excellent usage of subtle, background sounds to create a naturalistic, slightly unnerving effect, particularly in the island scenes, which form the most compelling part of the film. Also, the use of extras and bystanders, particularly late on, in the party scenes, is fantastic. Very subtle glances and body language from these extras help give a sense of odd scale about things. Adds a little more ambiguity as well.
There is little dialogue actually in this 145 minute film, and really the lines that do occur are not always that important; it is a film that rests on its photogenic lead performers and the intimidating tableaux of the photography. I did not really enjoy this film as an experience overall; it disappoints, perhaps because of its comparatively narrow focus, and the way things are stretched out needlessly. So, a film to be admired, and credited with a valid "vision", but not one to be loved.
Rating:- *** 1/2/*****
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