Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, April 18, 2008


L'ECLISSE (1962/Eclipse). Director: Michelangelo Antonioni.

L'eclisse is a perfect example of a movie that's interesting and boring at one and the same time. Basically the film details a couple of days in the life of Vittoria (Monica Vitti), who breaks up with her fiance, Riccardo (Francisco Rabal), spends time with a racist girlfriend who spent time in Kenya, watches her mother (Lilla Brignone) lose at the stock market, and dallies with a handsome, callow young stockbroker named Piero (French actor Alain Delon, who appears to be dubbed). The film is cinematic, well-directed by Antonioni (who also co-scripted), and boasts crisp black and white cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo, but despite the introduction of some ideas (which aren't well-developed) and several characters (also not especially well developed), it lacks a strong story and hasn't real depth. The best sequence has to do with a crowd gathering as Piero's stolen car is dredged up from the river -- along with the corpse of the drunk driver who took it. The crowd, including children, mill about as if it's a carnival, and Piero complains about the dents in the car. "Your thinking about the dents ... " says Vittoria. The film is full of striking images of the city, and there is an arresting ride in a small plane as well. Still, despite its good points, one wishes the film was more dramatic and entertaining.

Verdict: Strictly for Antonioni admirers. **.

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