best film:   Michelangelo Antonioni is currently listed as the #11 film director of all-time and Monica Vitta is front and center in four of his best six films. All four of these films fall in the top 267 of all-time (with three in the top 120 and two in the top 100). Red Desert leads the way as the #40 film of all-time beating out L’Avventura. Being the solo lead in one of the best fifty films of all-time is a major resume-builder, as is being a big part of three of the best 120 films of all-time.


Vitti’s hair- fitting the detailed dedication to red in Antonioni’s first foray in color


best performance:   There is a strong case to be made for all four films at the top for Vitti. She has a true Mount Rushmore of top performances. La Notte ends up fourth here but there is a argument that this may actually be per best work on a per-minute basis.  Ultimately though, L’Eclisse and Red Desert were the two left standing and one could really flip a coin here. She is simply on screen more in Red Desert and L’Eclisse than La Notte or L’Avventura. Though she splits time with Delon in L’Eclisse, in true Antonioni fashion, Delon is absent for pretty much the first fifty minutes. Vitti gets the long silent opening with Francisco Rabal as Riccardo in his apartment.


Vitti here in L’Eclisse– landing as one of the best actors of the year in 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1964 – a masterful career condensed into a five year span


stylistic innovations/traits:    Vitti’s weakness is the lack of depth- no two ways around it. But there is a compelling argument for Vitti’s collaborations with Antonioni against and perhaps over even those of Masina/Fellini, Ullmann/Bergman, Dietrich/von Sternberg or Karina/Godard. Vitti, Antonioi’s muse, is the perfect vessel to portray Antonioni’s tormented protagonists.


from La Notte– Monica Vitti shows up 70 minutes in and takes over. She is absolutely hypnotic.


directors worked with:  Antonioni (4) and these are her four big films of course- along with one with Bunuel.


Vitti in L’Avventura. This film was Antonioni’s massive international breakthrough- and it is his first collaboration with Vitti- this is her first archiveable film.


top five performances:

  1. Red Desert
  2. L’Eclisse
  3. L’Avventura
  4. La Notte
  5. The Pizza Triangle



archiveable films

1960- L’Avventura
1961- La Notte
1962- L’Eclisse
1964- Red Desert
1970- The Pizza Triangle
1974- The Phantom of Liberty