director Michelangelo Antonioni
My continued march through major films that I have never seen includes films of major directors with whose work I am not familiar enough. A while back (apparently much further back that I remembered) I watched Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960), which I really liked. And for some reason it’s taken me several years to return to his well. But here I am.
L’eclisse is the third film of what has come to be considered a trilogy of sorts for Antonioni, of which L’Avventura is the first. I don’t know that chronology is as important with a trilogy of this sort, but even if it was, L’Avventura turns out to have been long enough ago that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
It’s referred to as his “trilogy on modernity and its discontents” and that’s fair enough to apprise L’eclisse. To speak to L’Avventura or La Notte (1961), which I haven’t seen, or to draw any of my own conclusions, well, I’m not equipped for that.
It’s Modernist cinema, though, breaking from narrative of clarity and yet quite formalist in its own ways. The film stars Monica Vitti and Alain Delon, and is set in Rome and Verona. Vitti is a young woman falling sort of between things, between an old lover and a new lover, a world in which she doesn’t connect. It’s set in parts at the Rome Stock Exchange, with perhaps a commentary of finance or capitalism or I don’t know.
I guess the biggest upshot of my watching the film was that I didn’t have any clear conclusions. I listened a bit to the historian on the DVD track speaking about the film and its contexts and found it interesting but realized that I hadn’t gotten to any of those things myself. It’s one of those films that begs for close reading or analysis.
I didn’t enjoy it as much as L’Avventura, but that may have to do with the tone and intention as much as the intentional diversion of what the viewer is looking for in the film. It interests me still, but I came away with very little from my viewing. Yet I can see it’s a complex and interesting film.
That’s all I’ve got right now. It’ll have to do.