Superb Criterion Release.
L'Avventura was directed in 1960 by what many would regard now as one of the truly great directors of all time, Michelangelo Antonioni. `L'Avventura' is now regarded as being the first part in a quadrilogy of films followed by `La Notte' (1961), E'clisse (1962) and `Red Desert' (1964) all dealing with the themes of modern alienation and the human condition. The feature that sets `L'Avventura apart from the other three films though is that `L'Avventura still has a strong masculine, if immature and spiritually impotent, character. Later films would concentrate on the female character to a far greater extant.
L'Avventura is essentially a road movie with an objective that is not important to the film, so I won't say anything about that. What is important is that Antonioni is writing a whole new cinematic language in his use of camera angle and position within a scene, actors being filmed from behind and characters entering a scene from what would appear to be the wrong direction. The scenes and composition on the island are perhaps some of the best I've ever watched. Antonioni also uses architecture as a metaphor in many scenes and would be explored to a greater extent in his next two films `La Notte' and `E'clisse'. Saying that though, there are some Hitchcockian clichés in `L'Avventura' such as the train entering the tunnel as a metaphor for intercourse. It can sometimes be difficult for a younger audience to understand why `L'Avventura' is so important because so many of these ideas seem familiar to us now, but nothing was made like this before it. The audio commentary on this disc by film historian Gene Youngblood is an invaluable tool to a greater understanding of this films position and status in cinema history and is highly recommended. The transfer is superb and presented in 1.77:1 and enhanced for 16x 9 televisions.
L'Avventura starred Monica Vitti (E'clisse, 1962; Red Desert,1964), Gabriele Ferzetti (Once Upon A Time In The West, 1969) and Lea Massari (Mummur Of The Heart, 1971). Other similar films I would recommend are `La Dolce Vita' (Federico Felini, 1960); `Picnic At Hanging Rock' (Peter Weir, 1975) and `Paris, Texas' (Wim Wenders, 1984). `L'Avventura won the Special Jury Prize at Canne in 1960 yet still feels like a fresh and modern film and gets better every time I see it. It's in my top 5 greatest films ever made without a doubt.