LE AMICHE
THE GIRLFRIENDS
1955, Janus Films, 104 min, Italy, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

This major early achievement by Michelangelo Antonioni bears the first signs of the cinema-changing style for which he would soon be world-famous. This brilliantly observed, fragmentary depiction of modern bourgeois life is conveyed from the perspective of five Turinese women. As four of the friends try to make sense of the suicide attempt of the fifth, they find themselves examining their own troubled romantic lives. With suggestions of the theme of modern alienation and the fastidious visual abstraction that would define such later masterpieces as L'AVVENTURA, Antonioni’s film is a devastating take on doomed love and fraught friendship.


L'ECLISSE
ECLIPSE
1962, Janus Films, 126 min, Italy/France, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

The concluding chapter of Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on contemporary malaise (following L'AVVENTURA and LA NOTTE) tells the story of a young woman (Monica Vitti) who leaves one lover (Francisco Rabal) and drifts into a relationship with another (Alain Delon). Using the architecture of Rome as a backdrop for the doomed affair, Antonioni achieves the apotheosis of his style in this return to the theme that preoccupied him the most: the difficulty of connection in an alienating modern world.


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.


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