Strange, discomforting, and disturbing: perhaps, three words that would encapsulate feeling of watching L’Avventura (1960) by Michelangelo Antonioni. European cinema has already made its impression on me, and I started learning to appreciate the gentle, strange charm that the genre has. Often times, it disturbs you to a level of confusion, fascination, and intrigue; a good one, that is. The same goes for my viewing experience with L’Avventura, directly translated to The Adventure. And oh, what an adventure it truly was. The three main characters, Anna, Sandro, and Claudia created a story line that was utterly frustrating, to say the least. A friendship in rocks, perhaps. The scenes of betrayal, cheating, and going behind each others’ backs were confusing to me, but I knew that it was part of the feeling that the film wanted to stir in the emotions of its audiences and viewers. It was honestly funny how it took Sandro and Claudia a long time to realize that Anna had gone missing–tragic, yet absolutely and darkly funny. Anna had gone and left, and Sandro and Claudia took this and interpreted it as an opportunity to fall treacherously in love, until Sandro goes off and runs to Gloria.
Honestly, it felt difficult for me to build a personal connection or attachment to the characters of the film, as their intentions and the foundation of their characters were hard to wrap my head around. Although there were a lot of visually stunning scenes, and interesting dialogues in some portions of the film, it kind of felt too dragging and it was hard to invest in the story line of the film. There was no climax that peaked my interest, per say. And it did not really help that it was in black and white (although, despite my complicated relationship with black and white, uncolored films, there were a few that I have seen before that were very interesting and engaging). Perhaps, that is what the filmmaker behind the movie tried to chase, it was the dullness that made it charming, but it was something that film viewers and audiences might have to prepare themselves for. An acquired taste, perhaps. For some reason, the film also felt very lonely and sad to me. It radiated that kind of vibe and energy, and it felt miserable, almost. Another point of confusion for me was the fact the Anna, the missing fiancee, was never found ever again. It was as if the film never gave any closure, never giving any clarity as to what happened or where she had gone. It was an unsettling feeling, and it was just another one of the many mysteries of the film that I still, to this day, cannot seem to comprehend or uncover.
“Tell me you love me,”
“I love you!”
“Tell me you don’t love me,”
“I don’t love you.”
Maybe, it was a good way to put the romance between our main characters Sandro and Claudia in a nutshell. They showed and presented a story of fidelity battling with eroticism and lust for another, and it was frustrating watching them go back and forth with these struggles. Oh, how complicated love was.