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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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.
As in The Passenger, the key relationships are exercises in solipsism from which the leads make brave but hopeless attempts to escape, whether into authentic independence or into a great, "true" love in which the connection runs deeper than mutual mirroring and inertia. The storied closing montage perfectly encapsulates the all-too-immediate anxieties of the time, and presages the explosive finale of Zabriskie Point.
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.
Aren't we all just lovers kissing through glass? The film plods along with minimal dynamics for an hour and 50 minutes as we watch Vittoria drift through her environment and contemplate her situation which is directionless and unmotivated. Then those final 10 minutes kick in which are so striking in comparison that they force you to reconsider everything you have just seen, making this a most insightful film.
Antonioni pushes his dead aesthetic to the extreme here and in the process of doing that opens a deep hole for us to fall in. A fall into an isolated and constantly self-destructible void of existing in a world that denies you you primal longings. A fall that you will not forget.