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A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
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
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 »
I first saw this film about three years ago. It had come up in my reading, and it sounded interesting. So I rented it. I found it good, if a little boring. However, later I discovered that it was one of those films that may not be entirely entertaining when it is watched initially, but that comes back full force in the memory at a later time. This is true both for this film, and the only other Antonioni film I have seen, Blowup. Still, tonight was the first time in three years that I have actually sat down to watch L'Avventura (and I actually plan to re-rent Blowup in the next couple of days and any other Antonioni films I might be able to find).
As I have said, L'Avventura has been built up by my mind ever since I saw it. Was it as good as I made myself think for the past three years? Yes. I have confirmed my suspicion: L'Aventurra is one of the best films ever made.
In subject, this film is a lot like La Dolce Vita. Its main theme is the decadent lifestyle of the wealthy. The decadent wealthy in L'Avventura are a lot worse off, though, than those in La Dolce Vita. At least those who were living Fellini's version of the sweet life were having fun. Sure, it was soulless fun, but, while watching the film, this thought, no matter how much I wanted to suppress it, was pounding in my mind: "Jeeze, I wish I could party with these people." Their lifestyle seems just plain fun. They may have to pay for their hedonism in some way, but at least they're having fun in the meantime! L'Avventura's sweet life is the definition of "l'ennui." Life to them is an unfortunate event.
The script to this film, as well as anything else about it, is absolutely ingenious. To simplify things, let us say that the first plot point in the film is Anna's disappearance. This is the initial problem that the characters have to deal with. In a film made under the classical guidelines, this would have been the goal that would have to be solved by the end of the film. But as L'Avventura advances, the script allows us, or maybe even makes us, forget about Anna. This process is very gradual (and she never completely disappears from our minds, especially since Claudia mentions her so explicitly near the end), but it begins very quickly after she disappears, with the infamous kiss between Sandro and Claudia. There are miles of interpretation and discussion left to go, but it is unneccessary to continue here. This is just a beginning.
The title to this film is, of course, ironic. There is no literal adventure. One could make the argument that the adventure is one of the mind, but I do not believe this. The adventure, I believe, is an adventure in reinventing the cinema.
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