Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura was easy to watch compared to the first two films we saw in class. I say ‘easy’ simply because I was able to follow and understand the storyline and because the plot kept me intrigued. I was hooked to watch until the very end hoping to get answers and confirmations to the questions and theories that were piling up in my head, only to finish the film feeling disappointed over the fact that the reason why I kept watching – to figure out where Anna went and how things between her, Claudia, and Sandro would play out once she returns – was never resolved.
The title of the film was “The Adventure”, and the film starts with a group of rich friends going on a fancy yacht cruise, so I was expecting a movie that would involve thrilling escapades on a beautiful and mysterious remote island in Italy. Halfway through the film, however, I realized that it wasn’t anything like the adventure I was expecting. The island went off to was nothing but big rocks. Aside from the pretty view of the sea, there was nothing captivating and exciting about it. The succeeding events after Anna’s disappearance also didn’t feel much like an adventure, but rather a broken love story of two lonely people seeking for an escape or a distraction from their real problems. What I initially thought was the mystery of the film that had to be solved or ‘the adventure’ that the characters were going to embark on – Anna’s sudden disappearance after arguing with her boyfriend and declaring that she wanted to be alone – suddenly only became a catalyst to the main events in the film and merely fades into the story of Sandro and Claudia.
Something I found weird in the film was how sexually driven the characters were to the point that cheating was being normalized and even romanticized. Sandro was quick to move on from her supposedly fiancé Anna in a span of 24 hours and went after her best friend Claudia. Although Claudia initially tried to resist, she gave in to her lust and attraction eventually. Their friend Guilia also had a sexual affair with a teenage boy who had a crush on her while she was also in a relationship. Something equally disturbing was how men during that time looked at women; it was as if women were mere objects displayed for them to look at and admire in a sexual way, particularly in selected scenes where men would flock around a beautiful woman and ogle her body as if it was their first time seeing someone from the opposite sex.
In a nutshell, L’Avventura to me is a film that depicts the lavish, shallow, and possibly even toxic lifestyles of these rich characters who attempt to make their lives more meaningful but end up only covering up their loneliness with more problems. It shows how people find comfort in avoiding conflicts rather than solving them, and in quickly jumping into their selfish desires rather than thinking about other people involved. It’s a story about the struggle to find and experience true happiness, which I guess is life’s real adventure after all.