The title translates as "The Adventure" and this is an adventure, if you're willing to take it. A group of wealthy Italians goes yachting to a rocky island near Sicily. After arriving, they notice that Anna (Massari) is missing, and everyone searches for her amidst the endless crevices and
wave-battered cliffs. Her best friend, Claudia (Vitti), teams with Anna's lover, Sandro (Ferzetti), in the search, which is eventually abandoned in the hope that Anna simply left the island. Inquiries are made in town as to her whereabouts, and several people claim to have seen her. In the
process, Sandro becomes increasingly involved with Claudia, who becomes his lover and substitute for Anna.
L'AVVENTURA is one of Antonioni's finest films, and a landmark in the devlopment of cinematic narrative. The seemingly pressing question raised by the film's opening--"What happened to Anna?"--becomes increasingly irrelevant as we learn that there is no "adventure" of this type, just a shifting,
unsettling meditation on contemporary alienation and the opacity of all human relationships. The acting is appropriately minimalist and the blank-faced, passive Vitti is marvelouly Garboesque in the role that deservedly made her an international star. One character will be in deep focus at the
"back" of the image, seemingly ready to call out to the person in the foreground, but communication is all but impossible. Even sex is a feeble attempt to escape the oddly charged ennui of this milieu. As with all Antonioni, the cinematography and composition are unsurpassed. He scatters his
existential characters over the landscape, brilliantly emphasizing empty space over the trappings of plot. Photographed largely outdoors, shooting took months to complete and sent the original production company, Imeria, into debt. Cino Del Duca came to Antonioni's aid and filming continued,
though many of the summer shots actually took place in the winter. Some four months later, the Cannes Film Festival audience greeted the picture with an unparalleled assault of hisses and boos. Several months later, though, L'AVVENTURA set box-office records in Paris; by the time it hit America,
it had received a "condemned" rating from the National League of Decency--always a good sign.
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- Review: The title translates as "The Adventure" and this is an adventure, if you're willing to take it. A group of wealthy Italians goes yachting to a rocky island near Sicily. After arriving, they notice that Anna (Massari) is missing, and everyone searches for h… (more)