L’Avventura (Antonioni, 1960)

One of the great films on the complex nature of communication and body language, specifically the resulting contortions of feeling springing forth during moments of high tension, lust, and disappointment. Antonioni’s masterpiece sublimely maneuvers through these motifs by inspecting various relationships between men and women; the shared desires, the contrasting needs, and the dense emotional foliage hiding under the surface. The shear beauty of the visuals compliments the haunting rhythms of character action occurring on all three planes of the frame and the universality of the themes feel incredibly fresh even today. 

It’s hard to imagine modern cinema without Antonioni’s fluid long takes, crisp sound design, and epic spaces. The sequence on the island, where Antonioni’s characters search for their missing companion, slurps the life out of the crashing ocean waves and redirects the energy onto the characters’ building conflicts.


L’Avventura creates a perfect parallel between character and landscape, maybe the best I’ve seen. Antonioni seems to be speaking about humanity through the only language that comes close to making sense; the aesthetics of cinema which enable a subtelty and ambiguousness worthy of the small moments shared between lovers. The last shot of the film seen below is Antonioni’s shining example.


And to think, I made it through film school and Graduate school having never seen this. The first of many viewings, I’m sure.  

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