gone but certainly not forgotten

Of the three films we’ve watched in class, L’Avventura has been my favorite so far. It was a movie that captured the beautiful Italy, with all it’s cobblestone roads, open balconies, and far away towns. The women in the cast looked stylish with their rich Italian dresses, matching perfectly with each character’s personality and background. Unlike Bergman’s Persona, L’Avventura was a film that I think was meant to be filmed in color, showing off the scenes attached with all its emotions. Other than its impressive aesthetics and cinematography, the plot kept me intrigued. When the film started off with the mysterious disappearance of a woman, I was hopeful that it would be as great as the renowned Gone Girl (2014) movie, with the audience trying to unravel the case of whether she had died or simply walked away. It was about halfway through the movie when I realized that it wasn’t about the search for Anna—not entirely. For the most part, L’Avventura was about the egocentric affair of two people and the lavish, yet seemingly predictable, lives of their friends.

After Anna had disappeared on the island, everyone spent all of 3 days searching for her. It wasn’t long until Sandro became enamored by Claudia and kissed her on the boat. But it wasn’t just these two who didn’t seem to care much for Anna’s whereabouts, but their entire group of friends. Each couple too preoccupied with their own problems to even mourn for Anna, instead moving on almost instantly with parties and sex. Claudia was the most concerned, but only until she decided to choose her affair with Sandro over Anna’s life. Halfway through the film, when Sandro and Claudia finally decide to be together, was the start of the decline of the memory of Anna. The film wasn’t about finding Anna anymore. Anna was forgotten. She started to fade into the background, but was still present enough to haunt the two lovers, especially Claudia.

Arguably, Claudia was a romantic at heart, she just wanted to fit in like all her friends, but she was still riddled with guilt. I think Claudia was even jealous of Anna, with the way she waited for Anna and Sandro after they had sex at the start of the movie and when she was trying on the brunette wig. When she finally had Sandro, we can tell how much had changed: “Only a few days ago, only at the thought that Anna might be dead, I felt that I could have died too. Now I won’t even cry. I am afraid she might be alive!” On the other hand, Sandro didn’t even seem to be really bothered by Anna’s disappearance, he was easily distracted and veered away from his mission to find Anna as soon as Claudia arrived. Their moral compasses were unsound, operating mostly on what they thought was love. It’s easy for me to say that both the characters were selfish. Despite this, it was also their characters that made me love the film. Frustration with them shows just how affected I was with the movie, how much I clung to its story, immersed in the experience.

While I’m a sucker for romantic movies where the girl and the guy fall in love with each other against all odds, I knew that this movie was not it. While Anna and Sandro didn’t have a great relationship, I can’t say that Claudia and Sandro did either. They could clearly only be together when they were alone in their bubble, a relationship hinged on physicality—joint together by sex. It was a desperate attempt to be in love and avoid loneliness. L’Avventura was barely a love story, but rather a story of two people too scared to be alone, too scared to face the reality of possibly having lost a friend, and instead they reach out to one another.

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