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Masters of Cinema's UK region-free PAL DVD of Michaelangelo Antonioni's La Notte may not have many extras (just a trailer and a detailed booklet) but it has marvellous picture quality that puts Fox-Lorber's previous US release to shame - it looks like it was shot yesterday, which is just as well since the visuals are so important.

Surprisingly accessible, it's one of the great films about architecture - not just the architecture of a city in transition but the emotional architecture of a relationship in quiet crisis. There's a real attention to the shape of things, with clear, clean lines that people never quite fit in. For much of the film Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau are constantly separated even when sharing the same frame while in some scenes it is hard to tell what is the reflection and what is the real image, consigning characters to a virtual visual limbo, ghosts haunting their own empty lives.

It defines the state of their relationship in much the same way that Anthony Mann's films use the landscape to define character rather than just to create an environment, going further to offer a state of the nation address. Moreau is part of an Italy that's being torn down and discarded: Mastroianni is drifting towards a post-war modernity where conspicuous wealth and angular concrete, steel and glass design create a kind of anonymous gilded inertia where trivia surpasses real heartfelt connection with people or the past. The relationship is in its last gasps, occupying a kind of wasteland awaiting redevelopment: the scene with Moreau dispassionately reading a love letter filled with powerful and passionate emotions that Mastroianni has forgotten he ever had (he doesn't even remember who wrote the letter) is a killer.

Besides, the film comes highly recommended in the end credits of Monty Python's Life of Brian ('If you have enjoyed this film, why not go and see La Notte?'), so you know it's worth it!
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2009
Second in Antonioni's trilogy of black and white films. This one depicts a married couple Moreau and Mastrianni who cannot communicate, although they cannot separate too. He is a writer, an intellectual, who is exhausted with his life and his writing. When he says to his wife an ill women in hospital kissed him, she merely says he can use it in a novel. We spend a whole day and night in the company of this couple, alone or apart. The film is about alienation and uncertainty. As Valentinna(Vitti) says," When I try to communicate, love goes". Antonioni uses the dynamics of architecture, its verticals, horizontals and diagonals to show the backdrop to a world in transition between the old and new. He shows elements too of the modern world,helicopters, rockets, book openings, house parties. Lidia( Moreau) goes on solitary walks around the streets, talking to a distressed young girl, stopping street fights,looking at young men setting off rockets in a field. Through her reactions we get some sense of her personality. As a couple they turn up at book signings and parties or watch performers dance as if they are onlookers to their own lives. They have no language for their inner lives. They make gestures that go nowhere. They drift in a somnambulistic state. Giovanni attracts a wealthy businessman with his talents but feels he is selling out. His wife has her own source of wealth and is indifferent to his ability. Their relationship is captured by an image of a cat looking at a statue.How can they express their love or lack of it. Lidia is aware of how her husband used to feel. She reminds him by reading one of his letters to her on a golf course next morning. He smothers the truth by groping her in desperation and attempting to make love to her. The film literally ends up with them holed in a bunker.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 June 2015
A beautiful movie. A photographer's moving camera. A relationship film without the soap-opera emotions.

The story made me think of Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. A married couple, a confession, a walk into the city. It is the woman who walks here. It is the sounds of their journey as much as the architecture that mesmerises the audience. That saxophone is gorgeous.

There is a political dialogue being gently included. Money, the American dollar, independence. And death. A truly mature relationship between a man and a woman. The itch is scratched respectfully. Barely. Not at all.

La Notte is being human. Change is unavoidable. The language is cinema.

No extras on the immaculate disc save for the ability to watch without subtitles. The fifty six page booklet is very interesting to read especially if you wish to know about a particular shot.
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on 8 February 2014
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on 15 May 2009
I must say this is a beautiful black and white film. Antonioni made several films in this era which are among the best films ever made. The black and White night photography here is marvellous. I have a criticism of the DVD though: the subtitles switch to the top of the screen a couple of times, which makes it harder to read and watch the film at these points. This doesn't happen often though. Also the booklet is thick but so far I can't find out who the saxophone player at the party was. Otherwise a fine print of a wonderful film.
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on 9 July 2016
I would like to complain about DVDs produced by Elstree Studios.
I have bought four in the past year. Two were bought from Amazon - The Red House and Louisiana Story - and two elsewhere - Life With Father and Bluebeard.
All four have been unwatchable, due to the poor quality of the transfer.
Because they are so inexpensive, it isn't worth the postage returning. However, I would ask that Amazon stop stocking their products.
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Challenging and emotionally muted on 1st viewing, I still found this largely a very interesting portrait of a bourgeois marriage crumbling, observed during one afternoon and night.

The couple visit a seemingly dying friend in the hospital, attend a book signing for the husband's new novel, stop at a nightclub where they barely even react to an erotic floor show, and then head to a party for a rich industrialist who is celebrating the first win by his new racehorse, Both Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau do terrific work as the deadened and estranged couple. He no longer even identifies with his own writing, feeling it's just a product, like that made by the industrialist. He's even lost his sense of lust. She no longer feels love for him, and seems locked in loneliness and depression. It's a tough movie to take, grim, humorless, almost as dead feeling as its leads, but that would seem to be the point.

My only problem, as I've occasionally had with Antonioni, is that well before the end I felt I had gotten these themes clearly and powerfully, and there was, after that, a certain sense of hammering home ideas that had already been expressed beautifully with a lighter touch (there's a key reveal near the end that I saw coming a mile off). But the images (of course) are striking and memorable, as are the performances, and the sad gloom that hovers over this world of people who seem to have it all, and yet feel so little.
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on 15 March 2006
How simple and truthful Antonioni managed to tell about a souring marriage relationship. How love was once and becomes after, yet still indispensable... So realistic, so direct that it hurts sometimes. Yet, an experience that must be faced. And of course Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau... Just watching their floating throughout the film, their faces, moves... Fascinating...Especialy from Antonioni's perspective with great camera angles.
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on 15 November 2013
That is a quote by my favourite sci fi writer Philip K. Dick and so far for an introduction however this is what the film is about. It is about a couple who are not interested in eachother anymore and seek love elsewhere but face difficulties to seperate eachother anyhow. For me off course Monica Vitti is the true star. She shines. As in all her roles in Antonioni's movies. Everytime she pops up on the screen my heart skips a beat or i am out of breath. My most favourite Italian actress ever. She should have been given the leading role in my humble opinion but hey that is just nagging a bit. This film is as nearly everything by Antonioni highly recommended however my favourites are off course and here i go again the ones with Monica Vitti.
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on 26 June 2008
Nice film and a really nice transfer. Though it would have been nice to have a commentary or more extras (as Criterions Antonioni-DVDs. But the value for money is good anyway, and this rich film can be watched several times. Recommended.
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