I VINTI
1953, Minerva Pictures, 113 min, Italy/France, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

Antonioni’s second feature is a key precursor to such famous later works as BLOW UP, THE PASSENGER and ZABRISKE POINT. Comprising three self-contained shorts, I VINTI dramatizes and alters true stories of murder and rebellious youth in France, Italy and England. For years the film (particularly the Italian segment) was banned or heavily censored around the world due to its politics and depictions of violence, but today it is celebrated for its frank portrayal of juvenile delinquency and crime. If the interference of anxious producers and distributors can still be felt, Antonioni’s singular vision of the isolation of Western youth culture is largely intact, making the film an essential part of his oeuvre.


STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR
CRONACA DI UN AMORE
1950, Kino Lorber, 98 min, Italy, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

Antonioni achieved auteur status virtually overnight with this impressive feature debut, a passionate tale of forbidden love and betrayal. Ostensibly a film noir, inspired by James M. Cain's 1934 crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, it represented a bold departure from the still-prevalent Italian neorealist movement, and the director’s signature style is unmistakable. When a seedy industrialist (Ferdinando Sarmi) hires a private investigator to look into his wife’s past, events are set in motion that spark a lost romance between the young woman (Lucia Bose) and her former lover (Massimo Girotti). As with any Antonioni work, STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR transcends the specificity of its storyline and delivers a powerful meditation on tragedy and human experience.


JOURNEY TO ITALY
VIAGGIO IN ITALIA
1954, Janus Films, 86 min, Italy, Dir: Roberto Rossellini

Inspired by Colette’s novel Duo, this subtle domestic drama stars director Roberto Rossellini’s then-wife, Ingrid Bergman, and George Sanders as an English couple who travel to Naples to sell a property they recently inherited. The marriage is strained and the two decide to spend time apart, taking in beautiful tourist spots as they decide whether they still have a future together. Beneath this simple narrative lies an emotional intensity and spirituality that has won such fans as Martin Scorsese and Sight & Sound’s team of critics, who recently named it as one of the 50 greatest films ever made. English-language version.


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