© 2014 by James Clark
Some years back, I wrote an essay on L’Avventura (1960) as usefully clarified by Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000). There the thematic wonderment centered upon a tidal wave of social exigencies shattering intimations of integrity which would cut across the grain of mountainously firm and venerable laws of survival.
In the wake of a consideration of the wiggle-room of similarly-beleaguered A, the protagonist of Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad (1961), there seems to be more to say about the trials and tribulations of Claudia, protagonist of L’Avventura, ensconced, like A, in an A-list milieu. A would eventually consign herself to the ways of salt-of-the-earth, X. But her trajectory would also be mindful of the allure of solitude as an offshoot of both advanced material well-being and advanced flexibility in coping with the world at large.
Even before bringing us L’Avventura, Antonioni was well known as an avatar of arrestingly stylish cinematography, an auteur extraordinarily focused upon the perceptual updrafts accruing to the pulse of a scenario by reason of striking deployment of natural light as absorbed by the grey-scale of black and white filming, in conjunction with the physical presence of performers, their apparel, their industrial and architectural design milieu and the compositional cadences of their moving about. With L’Avventura, he had on his hands an unprecedented objective to bring these factors into stunning and subtle force. (Hence the first image of the credits reports that the film has been cited, by the Cannes Film Festival, for its “new movie language and the beauty of its images.”) (more…)