24 November 2007

L'Eclisse (The Eclipse); The ANTONIONI 'Alienation' Trilogy

More Antonioni films are getting the deserved DVD treatment and The Eclipse starring Monica Vitta and Alain Deilon forms the final part of Antonioni's loose 1960s trilogy of films that deal with modern day relationships contrasted against a changing Italian architectural landscape of concrete, glass and steel. Like most Antonioni films, it is very difficult to try and pin down a coherent summary of the storyline. The narrative structure appears extremely disjointed and fragmented, and the film seems more concerned with positioning characters against appropriate architectural backdrops. The Eclipse is a cinema that interrogates relationships and the lonely void that has appeared in the life of the female character played by Monica Vitta is a theme that would come to dominate many of Antonioni's later work. Even today, the film's crisp and bold black and white cinematography is aesthetically superior and symbolically layered. Unfortunately, The Eclipse is a film that did not leave a lasting impression. It seemed quite innate in places and though Antonioni is a much loved world cinema auteur, this film seems somewhat overrated by critics. But the final montage is what really makes this film worthy of standing amongst the masterpieces of 60s world cinema.


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