The concluding chapter of Antonioni’s informal trilogy on contemporary malaise tells the story of a young woman who leaves one lover and drifts into a relationship with another with the architecture of Rome as a backdrop for the doomed affair.
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Fans. Still objects. New constructs. Phallic modern “art.” Fluttering leaves. Coliseum. Numbers. Silence. Suits and ties in uproar. Phone rings. Interior furnish. Exterior décor. Photographs. Africa. Dogs. Airplanes. Flowers. A totalled car. Sprinkler. Lounge chairs. Coca-cola. Nukes. Wood on water. Street lights. Two vacuous souls. Verdict: no human life detected. The greatest science-fiction film of all time.
Nobody wants misery, we want happiness. And yet it is precisely by chasing it, and not letting it come naturally, that we disappoint ourselves. And even if we do obtain it, we will only desire more. In this madness, we are rendered vulnerable for our inevitable downfall, as the memories of past struggles are eclipsed by the present sense of nirvana. We fall, we rise, we fall. That is a masterpiece. That is L'Eclisse.
Vitti's character is fascinating; existential heroines are rare. Initially one feels that her condition is temporary; the plane journey and the scene where she gets lost in the imagery of the African wilderness hint at the life of spontaneity she desires. Instead, she escapes into an empty relationship, and the film becomes increasingly hopeless. The incredible finale suggests a world of intrinsic meaninglessness.
I haver never seen an Antonioni movie before and I think I started out the right way. Watching this movie was like being deeply stabbed in the heart, rather than punched in the stomach. All shots are flawless and the words are so honest. This is pure art and a matter that dialects directly with who I am now. In the end I was hiding my commotion from the crowd and I walked home knowing something had changed.