La Notte (1961)

La Notte
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Written by Michelangelo Antonioni, Ennio Flaiano, and Tonino Guerra
1961/Italy/France
Nepi Film/Sofitedip/Silver Films
Repeat viewing/FilmStruck
One of 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die

Giovanni: I no longer have inspirations, only recollections.

There is some gold within this sad film about ennui.

The story follows a day in the life of Giovanni (Marcello Mastroiani) and Lidia (Jeanne Moreau), a restless married couple.  Each is restless in his own way.   As the film begins, the couple visits a friend who is in the hospital in great pain.  The prospect of death has brought him some clarity and the three engage in some honest conversation.  But Lidia can’t take the strain and goes off wandering aimlessly.  Eventually, the two reunite.

Lidia doesn’t feel like another evening at home.  Neither does she want to go to a lavish party at the home of the Gherardinis.  So they go out to a nightclub and watch a mildly pornographic striptease act.  This wears down Lidia to the point that she is ready for the party.  At the party, the couple soon separate.  Temptation awaits each of them. Giovanni’s takes the form of Monica Vitti.

As in the other Antonioni films I have seen, the characters all seem to be searching for some meaning.  For all we know there is none to be found.  One has to be in the right mood to watch this stuff.  Yesterday, I enjoyed the poetry of the visuals but really wasn’t ready for the very bleak story.  My favorite part of this is actually the brief section where Monica Vitti plays the game with her makeup compact.

Trailer