L’avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.

Monica Vitti, Gabriele Ferzetti, Lea Massari

I hadn’t seen this for fifty years. Now I am trying to justify spending two hours of what’s left of my life watching it. A gushing American, writing for a retailer, suggests this:

Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura … divided film history into that which came before and that which was possible after its epochal appearance. It expanded our knowledge of what a film could be and do. It is more than a classic, it’s an historical milestone. [and this] … Claudia’s spiritual journey toward self-knowledge. She alone seems open, searching, questioning, seeking. What matters is not the result of her journey—signified at the end by a single tentative gesture—but the journey itself, the search, and the way she lives it out.

I see the gesture this tosser refers to, and, coming where it does (in the last shot) and framed the way it is (including an anonymous building and a distant mountain) it is clearly intended to Mean Something. But it is a tiny scrap of ambiguity which in no way is capable of bearing the load of significance the writer heaps upon it.

A rich man’s girlfriend disappears. She was over him anyway, and he doesn’t much care, and immediately starts bonking her best friend—until she catches him doing it with a prostitute. The End.

Rich Romans enact a morality play, an allegory in the moment of existentialism. Which is over, if that's what it was.

reviews | Garry Gillard | New: 27 February, 2017 | Now: 27 March, 2017