The Adventure (L’Avventura)


Who needs beautiful things, nowadays? How long will they last?

My second Michelangelo Antonioni film, L’Avventura is the story of how one woman’s mysterious disappearance on an island trip ignites a secret passion between the woman’s lover and best friend. Knowing Antonioni, at least what I gathered from Blowup, I expected this to be very stoic, almost contemplative with how static the film will be at times, with a flair for the visual and a talent for the meditative. In this case, I was correct in my assumptions.

First off, the picture quality could’ve been better, and I have a good suspicion that it isn’t merely the print I viewed; there are a lot of hiccups that are in the film itself that extend beyond the projection of it. The framing and composition of the shots, at least, was something to greatly admire, and I got much enjoyment out of noticing the way Antonioni sets up each shot. The film has a lot of plot to get through, and it takes a long while for it to get through with it, which may be irksome to some, but I was in a good mindset to get through it okay. Those overly concerned with the plot details shouldn’t really be so; the disappeared woman, for example, never gets found, and that is not the point of the film anyway.

This film became so influential that in the 1960s Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films ever made, L’Avventura came in second. It changed the way people constructed visual images in film, and indeed it is a feast for the visual eye. Does this make it a great film? For me, it places it on an obscure ladder of singularly great, but not wholly; almost like an extremely decorative cake with lots of sweetness, but still leaves you feeling unsatisfied after having eaten it. I’m not sure if this is because the film is mostly empty of substantial plot, but I suspect it to be the case, as looking over it once more I wasn’t able to find much fault in anything else.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10


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