As I would expect from most European films, L’Avventura is also not one of your typical love stories. Despite the film being dragging, that aspect of the film was able to add to the underlying meaning it was trying to convey.
The film begins with showing Anna, along with her best friend, Claudia, on her way to her boyfriend, Sandro. The two ladies met up with Sandro for a planned cruise trip together with other seemingly wealthy couples. In the beginning of the film, all would most likely perceive Anna to be the main female protagonist, but, surprisingly, things would quickly change later on. Before and during their cruise trip, Anna showed multiple signs of her disappointment in her relationship with Sandro and hey had another argument during one of their island stops. Then out of the blue, Anna disappears. Anna’s cruise companions, and even marshals from the main island, searched for her a number of times, all of which ended up in failures. They tried all possibly ways to find her, but they were never able to even until the end of the film.
Given the disappearance of Anna, L’Avventura was expected to be film about searching for Anna and being able to find her in the end. Notably, the director, Michelangelo Antonioni, decided to steer away from this assumed plot. Anna’s disappearance created a long-lasting suspense for the film that helped keep the audience captivated. This is the first time I have seen a film wherein the anticipated lead of a film suddenly just vanishes, showing zero signs of her presence as the film progressed. Shortly after Anna’s disappearance, there was a new development occurring between some of her companions. Sandro showed signs of feeling something for Claudia even when they were searching for his very own missing girlfriend. At first, Claudia resisted Sandro’s signals, but that did not last for long. The two were portrayed to have a lot more intimate scenes during the latter parts of the film while still searching for only reason they met each other in the first place. One thing led to another and the two started falling deeply in love with each other. Eventually, the two completely forgot about Anna to the point that they were having conversations about getting married.
Claudia and Sandro ended up being the main characters of this story, throwing Anna overboard. Initially just being in the sidelines, Claudia bumped Anna out of Sandro’s thoughts. In the film, Claudia mentioned something about change happening so easily and simply being accepted. I believe that is the main theme the film is trying to portray and it was able to do it pleasantly. Aside from Anna’s literal disappearance, it was noticeable how she also disappeared from the minds of everyone else moving forward. Scenes where shown wherein people would already just joke about her disappearance. Of course, this “second disappearance” of Anna was also seen with how Claudia and Sandra developed.
In the end, despite not having a theme which most would not abide to in today’s time, I was able to see how Antionio was amusingly able to execute it for the audience’s delight. Although change is needed, the L’Avventura is not a typical story due to it showing that change is easily accepted without having to look back at what was there before.