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Sunday, June 18, 2017

L'Eclisse (1962)

After breaking up with her boyfriend (Francisco Rabal) following an all night session, a young woman (Monica Vitti) soon takes up with a materialistic stockbroker (Alain Delon). The third entry in Michelangelo Antonioni's trilogy of angst and ennui in contemporary society following L'AVVENTURA (1960) and LA NOTTE (1961). Although greatly admired (and I count myself among the admirers), Antonioni had pretty much exhausted himself on the subject at this point. Yet visually, it may be his most interesting of the three films. L'ECLISSE unfolds as a series of images that say more than what the characters are saying until the film's audacious final 6 minutes which is a series of stunning B&W compositions (Gianni Di Venanzo is the cinematographer) with no dialog and minimal sound. Although top billed, Delon is barely in the film's first hour which leaves Vitti to carry the film and she's such a great camera subject that she easily holds the screen. The movie's structure is not story driven. It's an "intellectual" film and it shows what a sad state cinema is in when this is seen by its detractors as a liability and in today's impatient rat-a-tat-tat storytelling and editing, this kind of film making (save Terrence Malick) seems to have gone out of fashion. With Rosanna Rory and Lilla Brignone.

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