L'Avventura is a mesmerizing and perplexing film about a short boating holiday that is interrupted when a young woman mysteriously vanishes on an empty island, forcing her lover and her best friend to search for her. A film about the dreadful carelessness that can arise where materialism and vanity are valued above human and spiritual contact. Or whatever...
Antonioni creates some absolutely beautiful shots and there is dramatic interest in the sexual tension between Claudia and Sandro as they search hopelessly for the missing Anna. At times I was reminded of Bergman, but what I like about this director is the way everything seems naturalistic and plausible, even to the extent that plot is rather slender, so if you're looking for a series of explosions and reversals, or a thrilling climax, look elsewhere.
The women and men are all rather chic, the scenes of intimacy more pleasing for being restrained, the feeling of disquiet likely to hold you captive even as you begin to doubt whether anything is going to happen. Still, clever and then original photography, impulsive characters whose behaviour perplexes as much as it fascinates, and the space and time to be thought provoking without being didactic.
Just think, if it had been a British production, it would have been a disaster, or a tasteles thriller, maybe like this one - Donkey Punch [DVD] [2008
] - Gawd 'elp us!