One of the most misleading films I have ever watched was L’Avventura. I originally thought that the movie had a searching-for-a-missing-person kind of plot because it began with Anna’s disappearance on the island the main characters went to for a vacation. However, I noticed how Anna being gone just paved the way for more drama to ensue. It seemed to me like it was merely used as a catalyst to drive the story forward.
Poor Anna – stuck as an afterthought 20 minutes into the film. They never even found her!
After looking for Anna for a solid 5 minutes, the rest of the crew seemed to focus on their own lives already. It suddenly became a story about “forbidden love” between Sandro and Claudia. It was a classic spin on the best-friend-and-boyfriend trope in romance movies. But was the “love” between them real? Was it sincere? Or was it just for fun? (How millennial could they have gotten?)
Sandro and Claudia establish some kind of sexual tension while figuring out where Anna (Sandro’s ACTUAL girlfriend) went. Normal, decent people would not have acted on this “tension” because 1) it was inappropriate — Sandro had a girlfriend and Claudia was the said girlfriend’s best friend and 2) they should have been focusing on looking for the girlfriend! I guess we can infer that they were, in fact, neither normal nor decent. Well, at least, Claudia had a little decency to reject Sandro for a few minutes, but I still think she made a mistake. At least she got what she deserved with Sandro cheating on her. Perhaps some people may believe that Claudia did not really deserve what she got, but I believe that she did. If my best friend gave up on looking for me when I go missing just because she wanted to be with my significant other, a part of me would not really want him/her to have the happiest of endings. Speaking of the significant other: Sandro, on the other hand, could not seem to keep it in his pants. He did not act like a taken man should act — it was as if his girlfriend did not exist! He was probably the worst character on the film — not that any of them were better in comparison, they were just less… unbearable than Sandro.
All of these thoughts bring me back to the question: where is Anna? More importantly: who even is Anna? Her character was not fleshed out in the film, making it difficult for me to empathize with her disappearance. In the first (and only) scenes where Anna was present, she was portrayed as a carefree, selfish, tantrum-throwing adult woman. What made me feel bad for her was how the other characters acted after she disappeared, not because I cared about her character specifically.
All I have to say is: if I suddenly go missing, I hope my friends care about me enough to look for me for more than a few minutes. I also hope none of my friends would ever betray me the way Sandro and Claudia did while I was gone.