Sunday, November 07, 2010

L'Avventuro Interminablo

My TWDB is a prolific renter of films, to the extent that he's worked his way through the entire collection of what he might vaguely like at the local film rental shop. I am not a prolific renter so there's a ton of stuff I haven't seen, and am not likely to either now. My local rental shop has ceased trading. It's still there, but permanently closed for some reason.

Anyway, last night we wanted to watch a film so my TWDB went to his local mediateque (library for books, audio, video) to see what they had. He came back with L'Avventuro, an Italian film made in 1960 and directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

It won the Prix du Jury at the Cannes film festival although it was initially booed off the screen during the first showing. Obviously the audience didn't 'get' the film first time around. I'm not sure I did either because it was interminable. I kept waiting for something to happen and it just continued not happening.

Having boned up on Wikipedia I now know that this was intentional because it "systematically subverted the filmic codes, practices and structures in currency at its time." I wasn't born in 1960 and am not a great expert in film studies so I can't tell you what filmic codes it subverted, but maybe 'action', 'plot', 'dialogue' were three of them...

The initial story of a rich girl who disappears on the volcanic island of "Lisca Bianca" transforms itself into a story about her fiancé getting the hots for her best friend in less than 12 hours of her disappearance and his efforts to seduce her thereafter. He's a cad, needless to say, and the last scene shows him weeping over the fact that he had some naughty nooky with a call-girl in a pricey hotel resort while his worn out lover, Monica Vitti, was sleeping upstairs. She came down early in the morning looking for him only to discover him on a sofa having his wicked way with the call-girl. Naturally she was a tad upset and went running off to a scenic balcony overlooking the sea where he followed her to wallow in his 'hopeless weakness and emptiness'. Instead of shrieking at him with fine display of Italian verve and fruity vocabulary, she just stood behind him and stroked his hair. They deserved each other!

At the end of the film I asked my TWDB whether he'd worked out the point of the film. Not being aware of subversive reputation he said he hadn't. It had just gone on and on and on. Nice scenery though, and some great shots, but I did rather give up the will to watch halfway through. Luckily we were sustained with home-made pizza to keep our strength up.

He's very keen on going back to the mediateque. You can borrow films and audio books for free, so it doesn't matter too much if they are duds and at least we'll have enlarged our knowledge of films which impress as long as we check up on Wikipedia what you're supposed to know about them!

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