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4.5 out of 5 stars
21
4.5 out of 5 stars
L'Eclisse [VHS] [1963]
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on 18 June 2013
L'eclisse is a very beautiful movie. However i felt it to be a sad story about a woman - played by the sheer beautiful Monica Vitti - who leaves her current lover and falls in love with a man played by the mighty Alain Delon ( his 60's movies are must haves ao Le Samourai, Cercle Rouge etc ). But there still is sadness and a distance between them. She does not want to fall in love that easy again. There are a lot of silent parts in the movie without dialogues and images of the scenery which makes the move even more beautiful. It is like Antonioni is sniffing around at life itself. The couple regularly meet at the same place and near the end of the movie they make a new appointment however none of the two show up and the movie then ends with a serie of images of streets and people and the streets in daylight and the movie ends at dusk with a street lantern when suddenly the magic word FIN appears. So what have we seen ? The third movie in a trilogy after l'Avventura and La Notte with an open ending. Antonioni is one of the greatest Italian filmmakers ever. Suffice to say this is of highest possible recommendation. A beautiful Blu-Ray reissue is on my wishlist.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 February 2011
Physically beautiful, with an astounding last 5 minutes that elevates
the film to another level.

Like all Antonioni films, this might even improve on 2nd viewing, but less
obviously than with the better known L'Avventura. This story is less
mysterious, less surreal, so there is less a sense that one is missing
layers.

A woman leaves her fiancé, falls for a young stockbroker, and we see
that everyone cares more about money and 'things' than human
relationships. The scenes in the stock exchange are amazingly shot, and
every frame uses architecture and framing to underline the themes of
alienation and the emptiness of modern life. Monica Vitti and Alain
Delon make the two leads more human and real than earlier Antonioni
main characters.

But a number of scenes just feel clunky, even if beautiful, and some
ideas seem overstated or over-repeated.

That said, the experimental last five minutes, which puts the themes in
a wider, more global context, is very moving and special. And to be
fair, many love this even more than I, though not in the the near
universal embrace of L'Avventura.

Note: The Criterion disc, while generally gorgeous, has some annoying,
if subtle flickering in the transfer, confirmed as a built-in problem
with some on-line research.
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on 17 January 2011
Monica Vittileaves a difficult relationship yet with emotional wounds that leave her with feelings she doesn't fully understand and is incapable of communicating. Aimlessly she wanders through the cold modernist architecture of Rome and has a brief affair with an insensitive stock broker played by Alain Delon. Like La Notte and Il Deserto Rosso, this film was made at a time of great uncertainty in Antonioni's life, a point where he doubted many things and this accounts for the suicidal tone of the film. L'Eclisse is a film by a great director but i dont think its amongst his very best, it feels lost and rambling and the suicidal tone can be wearing, but it does contain some extraordinary sequences - the stock exchange, Delon and Vitti in the park. Like L'Avventura, the films investigation of love moves into abstraction and away from character and story in a way that is beautiful, culminating in the finale where the daily progress of the city washes over the human story. It's half masterpiece, half depressing but essential viewing none-the-less.
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2008
The film starts with two people silently orbiting each other as the whirr of an electric fan circulates hot air around a neat suburban apartment. The atmosphere is tense which conveys the possibility of a sleepless night spent amidst the verbal/non-verbal death throes of a doomed relationship. These first few minutes set the scene for the rest of the film - a deep exploration of human relationships, particularly the potential for emotional paralysis and incommunicable feelings of spiritual barrenness. These themes are explored through a myriad of situational compositions and introspective camerawork and, significantly, the character of the young, energetic stockbroker Piero (Delon). For me Peiro plays a key role in this film for he acts as counterpoint to Vittoria's (Vitti) angst ridden conscience. The machinations of the highly charged Roman stock exchange (the winners and losers) displays Peiro's superficial lust for life - the money-making, women with blonde hair, sport cars and luxurious property. Through Piero, Vittoria immerses herself in a frivolous encounter, occasionally interrupted by self doubt and physical withdrawal, but, portentously, proving to be an empty experience: which is skilfully juxtaposed against a sterile suburban landscape consisting of manicured green spaces, modernist architecture and urban conformity. Antonioni's use of anonymous characters, particularly the haunting last ten minutes, usurps the film's principle characters, with a skill that demonstrates that conventional narrative driven by a linear plot can be replaced with metaphorical imagery and a form of mannerism that creates a visual mindscape of intense proportions. This edition comes with an excellent discourse by a French academic.
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on 21 February 2008
Antonioni's films are very definitely not everybody's cup of tea. But they are extremely rewarding if you take the time to appreciate their lack of pace, which succeeds in developing dramatic tension. I'd agree with the other review, concerning the relative lack of character development for the part played by Alain Delon in "L'Eclisse". But this remains a truly magnificent cinematic work. And that ending is just totally and utterly unforgettable. One of the most poignant that you will ever see in any film.

Update: 26/08/08. Just watched this yet again. The sort of film one can come back to, time and time again. (So long as one likes the style!) Alain Delon's character possibly lacks real development, perhaps, so as to reflect the superficial environment in which he plys his trade. (A stock exchange.) To call this film "visionary" is an understatement. Years ahead of its time.
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on 17 December 2000
compelling and beautiful meditation on the frailty of human contact and the inability of of us to truly communicate to each other beyond the veils of everyday reality.Stars alain delon - possibly the most impossiblly beautiful actor of the screen - his enigmatism perfectly mirrors the films own,something captured quite literally in one of the films many startlingly poetic and memorable cinematic images which echoes the influence of early earopean cinema such as jean cocteau. the film is a visual experience - almost somnambulistic in its dreamlike pace and quite subliminal in its effect on the viewers subconscious,drawing us in and evoking in us the strands of time and memory which we have vainly attempted to retain but like the film are transluscent and evasive. The film is like the essence of cinema - chronicling the passage of time with amazing originality - antonionis camera observes the shifting balance of a relationship with a microscope to the actors faces charting the subtle waves of their emotions and the motions of their souls in the lights of their eyes. Antonioni is a master of detail but a catcher of the indefinable - a painter and a poet. the film is about so many things - how love is transient a fire which can taper into darkness , the loss of our time and memory through the hourglass - the impossibility of possesion - the film is a deep and rewarding experience and delon a revalation.
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2009
I found this film amazing.Beneath the hedonism and consumerism of modern Italian life there is an austerity of vision and a movement towards abstraction.This is Antonioni at his peak,the black and white period.Monica Vitti has never been better in her exploring the traces of the aftermath of love when she hooks up with the impulsive Delon character.the framing of the shots, the beauty of the cinematography,the use of architecture,the movement from activity to stasis and the marvellous silent ten minute ending,suggestive of apocalypse.Superb end to a great trilogy of films(see).In a world of chaos we have geometry,whether of architecture or of framing a shot,In a world without a relationship to past or present,narrative or nature,we get an immense visual stylisation.There is no story,but a visual metaphor for alienation and silence.Words drain out of the film into an empty barrel,leaving beauty and terror.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 February 2010
The final part of a trilogy that began with The Adventure, The Eclipse focuses again on a fractured relationship, one that collapses before the lady finds a fleeting happiness with a stockbroker who, as she is quick to point out, is incapable of standing still. Obviously you should choose to see the other two films first, but if you are diving into Antonioni's oeuvre with L'Eclisse you might want to watch the interview with the French critic beforehand. He brilliantly explicates, at length, the themes that can be perceived in the director's work at this time; I love what he says about how the film's immediately have the effect of making the audience vigilant - the first thing I noticed when I began watching Antonioni. One is plunged into the midst of a situation and invited to follow the intense atmosphere of stillness that sometimes comes in the aftermath of some kind of trauma.

The beauties of this film include the dramatic use of tonal contrasts, the variety of perspectives adopted by the camera - more ambitious than I remember in the earlier films - and the playful relationship of the couple in the latter stages, as well as the remarkable sequence of urban and natural images that conclude the film long after the principals have left the stage. One must remember something of the context: the early sixties, Cold War threatening disaster as Italy's economy booms. There is a lot of unhappiness in this play, and I think if Monica Vitti were less beautiful it would be very hard going, but it's worth persevering.

Another reviewer mentions the apparently 'racist' scene. It is race-related yes, but why not show what people in one place most likely thought (think?) about people in another? If they're wrong, enlighten them. That the ladies are play-acting in a dubious fashion is implied when one calls a halt to their fun.

So, I recommend Antonioni but beware if you are allergic to long silences and apparent aimlessness. The sense that the characters are bewildered is part of the point. They may not know where they're going, but they sure know how to walk.
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on 12 June 2012
Once you get over the alienating ennui of the opening ten minutes or so, the slowly developing grip of the film-maker's genius starts to exercise an hypnotic kind of stranglehold. It consists of the camera being in love with the two leads: Delon's sharp features and Vitti's smoky, smudged beauty. The narrative does have humour and lively moments as counterpoint but towards the end the camera comes into its own in one of the most beautiful, bleak endings I have seen, anyway.
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on 20 February 2017
Not for action fans. Not for comedy lovers. Not for addicts of quick-fire dialogue. Not for those who think all black-and-white movies are out of date. (When was this made? 1962! Forget it.) So why all those five-star reviews? Because anyone who loves film, anyone who enjoys travelling below the surface of things in the company of an observer such as Antonioni must fall under the spell of this great film. They really, really don't make them like this anymore.
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