33. L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
Let me start by saying that Monica Vitti is ballin’.
You know that fable of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race? That’s crap. Fast and reckless wins the race every time. Just ask Dale Earnhardt. Too soon?
My point is that I generally think speed is an asset. I like things to move fast rather than slow, I like movies to be short rather than long, ditto books, music, etc. I do like baseball though, so my desire for speed and brevity isn’t 100% universal.
Antonioni’s films move slower than Molasses. Lots of silence, lots of introspection, most of the plot development is of the personal kind rather than action based, oh yeah and most of his movies are in Italian, so you have to read too(unless you understand Italian). Plus they are always about bored, rich, white people.
That being said, I am starting to come around on him. I watched a documentary by Martin Scorsese on Italian film and he critiqued this film and the rest of the so-called “alienation trilogy”(L’Eclisse and La Notte). Scorsese points out that Antonioni uses slowness and quiet as tools to tell the story. They are used to heighten the themes of the film, and increase the sense of alienation among the characters. The audience is forced to identify with the characters because there is no alternative. The story moves slowly, and is secondary to the emotions and feelings of the characters. The audience feels the isolation and loneliness and emptiness along with the characters.
L’Avventura is famous for seemingly forgetting what it’s about. Basically a bunch of rich, bored, white people go on a yachting trip, and the protagonist’s fiance disappears. The first half of the movie involves him and his fiance’s best friend searching for her, but slowly they start to develop a relationship, and the fiance is forgotten. The major plot point is completely forgotten about and never resolved. But that’s the whole point. The story doesn’t matter it’s simply a contrivance to get people together so they can express their dissatisfaction with their lives. It’s all very self-indulgent, but somehow it works.
Antonioni’s films tend to stick with you for a while, partly due to their existentialist tendencies, and partly because you have no idea what you have just seen. No one really makes films like him.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film a 7/10, it could end up higher, as a rewatching would probably help me understand the film more.