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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2006
L'Avventura 1960

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.

Highly Recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 January 2010
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!
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on 8 June 2016
This has to be one of the most beautiful transfers of a black-and-white film that I've seen in the collection so far.
A great audio commentary by Gene Youngblood is helpful to guide newcomers across the movie's gorgeous but sometimes perplexing landscapes. Usually I'm not a fan of audio commentaries, but Youngblood's chat is keyed to the visuals, effortless, and deeply informed.
This release also includes a handful of documentaries and critical essays that provide some insight into Antonioni's mindset during the writing and filmmaking processes.

Not only a must-have for Antonioni fans, but a must-have for any cinephile!
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 28 November 2002
1959's L'aventura was the film that moved Antonioni into the international realm of directors- it is far more diverting and perplexing than the later, somewhat over-rated Blow Up (1966). The story, as such, is not unlike Peter Weir's later Picnic at Hanging Rock- though there is just one disappearance here. The plot is fairly simple- people are on a cruise of the Mediterranean, Sandro and lover Anna are on it with her friend Claudia- on an island Anna vanishes, never to be found and Claudia replaces Anna as Sandro's lover.
This is a very strange film, with interesting/oblique compositions courtesy of photographer Aldo Scarvarda; L'aventura along with The Red Desert are Antonioni's finest works (later films like Blow Up & Zabriskie Point have moments and are visually stunning, but as a whole leave me cold)- and it ranks next to another oblique film of this period, Alain Resnais's L'Annee derniere a Marienbad (1961)- which is equally fantastic and a presient for modern films like Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive & Open Your Eyes. Antonioni and L'aventura may not to be your taste, but it still demands to be seen by those with an interest in cinema beyond mere entertainment...
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2009
The first in a trilogy of films about couples in a crisis, L'Avventura takes place in an Italy enjoying an economic boom. The couple in L'Avventura is made up of Monica Vitti and Gabrielle Ferzetti. Sandro (Ferzetti) is an architect ,an intellectual, as in all three films, with the story of the same couple almost. An event, the loss of Sandro's mistress(Anna),while out on islands of Aeolia,north of Sicily, precedes the coming together of Claudia (Vitti) and Sandro as new lovers. The sense of alienation and existentialist absurdity are captured by the framing of the scenes and the sense of drawn out time, and the way black and white contrasts play out over a range of greys. Feelings of love that have been around for thousands of years do not find easy accommodation in a consumerist world. The ancient vase that is found becomes broken, old fine buildings are made into a police station. All the characters look a bit lost, with the loss of middle class values. People do not relate easily to each other nor live their love affairs. Beyond the narrative, the framing captures the visual poetry of loss, the way empty spaces emerge through his compositions, the way he places actors in disharmony with their environments. His camera probes the trace of the loss on the couple's actions, within an in-between space,where things, people, close to emptiness, are about to change or events are about to turn, in this void or absence. Moving from frame to frame brings out a sense of uneasy vigilance and instability in the audience, viewing a world where feelings are adrift, where something(not nothing) is always happening on screen. His major innovation is a way of looking at things in the world. He explores states of feeling and breakdowns in communication, emptiness, alertness, vacancy,heightened awareness of others and oneself. We see bodies moving in space and a perception of the world no longer determined by a narrative framework. The thing filmed is the initial situation of loss and the echo of that loss. All Antonioni is filming(and why his films are hard to define) is what comes afterwards,the trace that's left behind. Truly a masterwork Seeing the world with new meaning.
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on 10 September 2012
The reviews posted here - bar one - are either just for the film or specifically for the Criterion release of the film.
It is a substandard version which I have had to return because the register is actually out on the DVD I received.
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on 14 February 2014
She is a true star of the Italian classic cinema. Monica Vitti and the films she made with the great Antonioni are all on my shelf however this one and L'eclisse are on my wishlist for a BD reissue by MoC. I shall ask them. But for now i am glad with those sheer beautiful DVD releases. The story ? Well it is about a group of friends ending up on an island and one woman dissapears and the search for her. Some find this story dull but i found it intriguing and fascinating. And yes Vitti off course. She shines,,,
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on 21 September 2011
If you are in Europe (region 2) and you want to watch the superb Criterion release of l'Avventura there is no other choice left...
You'll be missing the second Criterion disc containing an interesting 58-minute documentary by Gianfranco Mingozzi, but overall it is a good buy. What to say about the movie? For me it was a revelation! L'avventura is a quintessential work in exploring the difficulties of relationships, and it gets better and better with repeat viewings. Moreover, l'Avventura has for the first time blurred the boundaries between sculpture, film, architecture, video art, and painting.
I don't agree with all the crappy reviews stating that nothing happens in this movie. You must go beyond the superficial meaning. It's not easy, but it's well worth trying. Believe me!
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on 15 October 2015
Cutting comment on the lack of seriousness with which a certain type of Italian male (always in search of new adventure) treats his current partner and the inevitable pain it brings. As always, beautifully filmed by Antonioni.
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on 1 August 2008
Anything that can be said has been said so I wont go on to much...In my view for me this is without doubt one of the best films I have seen in years, Monica Vitti is so stunning even mesmerising. Beautifuly shot. A girl myseriously disappears while on a yachting trip after that the search begins by her Lover and her best friend...(what are friend for) and what use are lovers ??. I feel that many men and women will relate to certain main characters in the way they act out there lives, I wont give anything away.cos thats the kinda guy I am.

I would also suggest seeing L'Eclisse also starring Monica Vitti and the stylish Alain Delon (good hair) also Red Desert I think it may be released on dvd region 2 in October 2008 its available on region 1 at La Notte is a must as well.

Michelangelo Antonioni's study of the idle upper class,is a gem. The quality of this Criterion dvd is second to none. And the 2nd disc with the audio commentary by film historian Gene Youngblood is fascinating..

Buy this with no hesitation you will not regret it..
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