L’Avventura: A Commentary on Poignancy and Alienation within the Bourgeoisie

Monica Vitti and Gabriel Ferzetti

L’Avventura is one of my favorite films that were presented in class. I think it’s raw, honest, and sad in a beautiful and poetic way. I believe it’s a commentary on the feelings of isolation and lonesomeness that exist in the bourgeoisie class despite all the money, and is told by extremely careful and subtle narration. The movie didn’t have to use extreme dialogues, animated movements, and literal depictions of their sadness, the grave atmosphere of the movie was enough to understand the poignancy of the character’s lives.

I am personally a fan of old films yet I wonder why I haven’t heard of L’Avventura before. I think it might have been because it’s in another language, but I wish I had discovered it sooner. It sort of reminds me of Gone with the Wind despite there having so many differences between the two. Gone with Wind was loud, energetic, with bright technicolor, the complete opposite of L’Avventura’s somber and miserable mood, but I find them alike in many ways. First of all, the length and the promise of an adventure at the very start were factors the two movies share. A grand scale of stories in beautiful different places were also presented by the two that you think they’re both celebrations of life. It turns out, the more they progress, the more they break your heart. Tragedies about characters who are rich and obviously to be blamed for their troubles in many ways, but still you understand them and their decisions, and their transparency just sort of speak of their humanity that you end up rooting for them. However, going back to the movie at hand, the subtlety of the narration in L’Avventura was much more impressive to me. Every shot was well-thought out. Shots of the character’s faces even without the characters speaking at all tell so much anguish and pain. Even shots of boats and waves and legs and buildings carry emotion that I don’t know how Antonioni did it.

If European cinema in the 60s were made to be responses to the conventional ways of storytelling of Hollywood, L’Avventura certainly made its mark. There’s cinematic power in how Antonioni watches, and waits, and observes the decisions of the people in front of his camera. A review of the film even mentioned that, “The characters’ motivations were left opaque and unexplained, and the story never quite resolves itself — rather like life.” In many aspects, the film was distant with the characters just like how we can never truly hear other people’s minds, there is distance among every one. The movie also like life, showed that the adventure isn’t about a grand journey with magnificent views, but in a person, a character’s journey within himself and understanding his own motivations, within his inhibitions.  The adventure of the film was the discerning, troubled, alienated characters that bounce off the screen and speak volumes. The brilliance within the characters wasn’t even just revolving around the main protagonists. Even a supporting character like Giulia, had such a heartbreaking storyline that you feel her misery even when she smiles. And Anna, who we thought was the main character but disappeared so early in the film (in a Hitchcock’s Psycho kind of way), had been long gone from the movie, but I still remembered every shot of her unhappy face whenever her best friend Claudia and her lover Sandro frolic and kiss away. The film was an emotional adventure that can only be best experienced by witnessing it and going in-depth with its rich miserable individuals.

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