Magnificent finale to Antonioni’s “incommunicability trilogy” with L’Avventura and La Notte. I’m sorry but it’s much stronger than Linklater’s “Before” trilogy and Antonioni did them in consecutive years
Antonioni’s last film in B/W
Haneke named it one of his 10 favorite films—I can see the influence- Antonioni is chilly
The film is exceptional in it’s entirely, a masterpiece, but the finale with the rain barrel is a formal wonder-stroke and a brazen- and avant-garde decision—instead of seeing the Vitti and Delon end up together, breaking up, or (more to Antonioni) ambiguously still there, he simply leaves them entirely– and watches the empty events of the street corner where they first met (including the rain barrel, the eclipse)
Antonioni is obsessed with the distance between characters and objects in the frame- sounds simple but is not—a standout here is she’s standing right in front of his head like 2001 formal shot – an eclipse
Long silent opening between the couple (Vitti and Francisco Rabal as Riccardo)- brilliantly framed in his apartment. Like all of Antonioni films- this has a protagonist that disappears- Riccardo drops off
Great shot of Vitti’s legs next to the leg of the chairs which is just great framing – another of the fan and vase in front of the frame
It’s an excruciating breakup- En media’s res breakup– 18 mins and Ricardo is gone there’s modern art in his apartment and in one shot he’s literally posing in front of the painting as she leaves and it works! Frescos. Its gorgeous -13 mins in. Beautiful. Then he follows her on walk of shame
Odd sci-fi structure in the town- like a skyscraper and water tower combined- Ozu’s A Hen in the Wind– such an underrated work. Architecture as character and mise-en-scene
Modern spaceship like structure blocking the sun- film’s namesake
The Kenya apartment- everything so meticulously picked out- Delon’s apartment, too later on—cold—superficial
The stock exchange set piece—Antonioni is saying how this is all so ridiculous—the awful moment of silence. Antonioni hates these people. I think Antonioni wrongly falls in love with this set piece a little too much and these sequences extend—I don’t get the flying sequence either like the one in Zabriskie Point– weakens the work
Delon is barely in the first 50 mins- again typical of Antonioni
Antonioni’s men are no longer artists who struggle with art vs. commerce—Delon is cold and has sold out long ago – there’s no question
There are constantly lines between Delon and Vitti- the telephone pole (amazing shot)- a great shot of them separated by a column at the stock exchange might be the best in this film which could be a series of still-frame art photographs
Another candidate would be at his apartment when he opens windows framing the window across the way outside—achingly beautiful
Two perfect-looking people
She’s framed behind bars with fences
Incredibly crisp photography
The architecture or rain barrel montage at the very end—it’s a ghost town, horror film score—gets very avant-garde and metaphorical, empty street corner and building under construction and eclipse—alienation and decay, rubble
The stunning high-rise with the square cut out is a wow
Starts strong– Bogged down in the middle with stocks. And ends with a bang first 40 and last 40 are impeccable
Shot of it being dark out with framed window and light coming up- highlighting only the picture which is perfectly cut out- wild
After watching again it’s not entirely clear why Vitti starts up with Delon—I think it’s entirely possible that a ready of it is she’s being pragmatic because he’s rich, she just broke up with Riccardo (also looks rich) and her mom (who she lives with) goes broke- this would fit with Antonioni though he would never indicate a definite answer
Delon is a jerk
The rain basin is where they first met
The moment they make love and appear the closest—after she lives he sits in silence and then the phone eerily starts ringing and multiple phones (he has like 7) start ringing again like a sci-fi film. He knows what he’s going to pick in his life- money- this is doomed already.
And again the montage ending—empty—vacant—cold—a doppelgänger of Vitti from behind. Strangers. What could be a 75 year-old Delon
You can tell the film was an influence on Leone, especially with the slow intro where not a whole lot happens, but is mesmerizingly shot and directed, with an ambient, unchanging, repetitive noise in the background. Saw this in both the Once Upon a Time MPs and I’m pretty sure the same thing was done in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; haven’t seen the first two Dollars films so can’t comment there. Similarly, right before Vitti and her friend go into the Pied-Noir’s (bit of a misnomer here from me but whatever) apartment Vitti holds a black see-through blanket over her face, a shot Leone would later use with Cardinale in Once Upon a Time in the West.
I love this film. I definitely think it’s stronger than La Notte, which was extremely front- and rear-loaded (one thing I especially loved about it that you didn’t mention in your review was the use of shadows with Mastroianni as he walked through his and Moreau’s apartment; stunning) and sort of lost itself in the middle, like the scene with the black dancers, which was a bit cool but not very interesting cinematically. I feel it was an attempt to channel the Anita Ekberg scene from La Dolce Vita, something you could also say about the whole film (I mean Mastroianni is there), but it just didn’t really work, I guess (talking about the dancers). Still think it’s a low-level masterpiece regardless (La Notte), but if it was better in the middle I think it’d be a much bigger one, the beginning with Tommaso is just excellent and I very much like the film after Vitti enters; completely different from her L’Avventura and L’Eclisse self as shown right when we meet her with her different hair. I think the film is very ambitious and I could see myself ranking it much higher on a rewatch; I just wish the backside of the film was as incredible as the pre-party segment.
You also felt this film (talking about L’Eclisse now) sort of dragged in the middle which I didn’t really experience. I was pretty engaged in everything throughout. Admittedly, it was however the very beginning and ending scenes that were the greatest. I already talked about the beginning but the ending is incredible too and probably even better. The editing is unbelievable and you get this unbearable sense of excruciating tension waiting to see what happens. Eagerly awaiting Red Desert since as much as I’ve liked these past two films I don’t think they’ve quite been on the astronomical level of L’Avventura which pretty much immediately became one of my favorite films of all time – God, it’s so good – and Red Desert is Antonioni’s only film you think is superior.
I also caught Purple Noon and, while watching, was shocked you rated a film that was that good at around 435, when I’d put it pretty squarely in low-level masterpiece territory. Delon is also definitely stronger here than he is in L’Eclisse, where he’s pretty good but he’s just not on the same level he is in this film. Anyway, I got to the ending which was a bit of a dud and made me understand the lower ranking. Still a very good film regardless and with a better ending I think it’d be a masterpiece.
So i’m the president of the Antonioni fan club haha so i can comment.
Very good observations about Leone, i had not thought of that.
I have two small problems with this movie, the scene where Vitti paints his face and the scene that goes on for a few more minutes on the ¿stock exchange?
I would say that it is as good as l’avventura, but it’s because it has a subtext, i don’t know if you’ve noticed the similarities. I don’t think In the mood for love and Cold war would exist without this movie (they owe a lot to this movie)
This is certainly seen on a second visualization.
As for Red desert it has a slow pace, but you should not have problems if you saw these 3 “boring” movies haha
I guess you saw Purple Noon for its inclusion in 1960? If so, me too, hoping to do so these days.
Yeah I understand the idea behind the blackface scene, but it just seems like a huge misfire, at least in execution. I couldn’t take it seriously at all. Which might even be what he was going for, idk. And I agree on the stock exchange which does kinda drag for a little longer than it probably needs to, and doesn’t really drive the story forward, I guess.
I’ll probably rewatch the trilogy in the future, whether a few weeks or a few months, I’m not sure. But I would like to give them all a second look. But I’m still absolutely awaiting Red Desert, that has not changed in the slightest.
Can’t wait to hear what you say about Purple Noon. I love it. Delon is just incredible and he’s at the center of a highly engaging, almost Hitchcockian noir-like narrative. And best of all, on top of all that it is masterfully shot and directed, like Ripley himself you get this sense of paranoia throughout the film. Drake has a few shots from the film on Rene Clement’s director page that I think are really nice. You should definitely check it out.
[…] L’Eclisse – Antonioni […]