25 June 2016

THE CRITERION COLLECTION PRESENTS: L'AVVENTURA. (1960) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




L'AVVENTURA. (1960) DIRECTED BY MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI. STARRING MONICA VITTI, LEA MASSARI, GABRIELE FERZETTI, DOMINIQUE BLANCHAR AND ESMERALDA RUSPOLI. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Picture the scene. A bunch of bored rich chums are sailing around the Mediterranean in a fabulous yacht. They're heading towards the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. The sun is shining, the sea is blue and (apparently) shark-free, and all's well with the world. Or it should be, at any rate. Are the bored rich chums happy with their lot? They bloody well aren't, the ungrateful pups.

They're a sorry lot, this bunch. Anna is a beautiful rich spoilt brunette, the daughter of a millionaire. Her boyfriend Sandro is handsome and rich too, but the petulant and capricious Anna isn't happy with him. She isn't happy with anything.

Probably the result of being born with a whole canteen of silver spoons in her privileged, aristocratic mouth. Yes, I'm jealous and bitter, did I ever pretend otherwise...? Only kidding. I'd hate to be that rich and able to have anyone or anything I ever wanted. Where's the challenge in that? Sniffle.

Claudia is Anna's best friend, who had an ordinary impoverished upbringing like the rest of us Joe Soaps, haha. She's also staggeringly beautiful, with the most fantastic bright blonde hair you ever saw and a mobile, expressive face and lovely eyes. Unlike her spoilt brat of a bezzie mate, we get the distinct impression that Claudia would actually appreciate the finer things in life if they ever inexplicably fell into her lap.

Patrizia and Giulia are truly awful women, rich bored housewives who think nothing of cheating on their older, inattentive hubbies. Giulia certainly would, anyway. Her sexual fling with a seventeen-year-old artist who paints only naked women is a fine example of the most blatant, flagrant adultery you'll ever see. What a hussy she is! Oh yes, did I forget to mention that I'm judgemental now? Well, I am. 'Tis great craic, as we say here in Ireland.

So, does money bring you happiness? This motley crew of lost souls don't seem to be happy at all. They're bored, lonely, sexually frustrated and constantly seeking new thrills to fill the gaping emptiness in their psyches. You'd be hard pushed to find a character you like. Claudia, ironically the only one of 'em who isn't stinking rich, is the only one of the group who seems content to be where she is. Go figure, haha. Patrizia's mongrel of a mutt is adorable, so he gets a pass too...!

When Anna goes missing on the island after a head-wrecking heart-to-heart with Sandro about their relationship (you know, the kind that makes a guy's balls shut up shop and disappear back up inside his body!), the group dynamics undergo something of a seismic shift.

Sandro and Claudio discover that they are madly attracted to each other during the search that follows. Claudia feels a total heel for betraying the missing Anna, but she's not able to fight her feelings for long. Plus Sandro is incredibly handsome and manly, not a callow boy at all like Mr. Artist. They give in to their primal urges and then, of course, they have to take the consequences...

The scenery in the film is stunning. The shots of the stormy sea and the rocky, stony island in the driving rain are just gorgeous. All the Italian locations, whether we're shown whitewashed old buildings in an ancient town square or a panoramic vista of mountains spread out before us like a painting, are quite simply to die for. Kudos to Aldo Scavarda for his marvellous cinematography.

Monica Vitti as Claudia is infinitely watchable. The film-makers sensibly take every opportunity to show her hair being blown madly about by the wind. She has meaningless conversations with her new lover about nothing, conversations that drive them both mad and seem to mirror exactly every pointless conversation between dissatisfied men and women ever. We can all relate, unfortunately.

There are long periods of time when little or nothing seems to be happening, which apparently annoyed the viewers when the film was first released. That didn't stop this visually gorgeous film from winning the Jury Prize at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and many other prestigious awards besides.

You'll hopefully be happy to hear that L'AVVENTURA, which means 'THE ADVENTURE' in
English, is out on Blu-Ray this June (2016) courtesy of THE CRITERION COLLECTION and SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT. It comes complete with extra features and the black-and-white picture is just so clear and sharp, it's truly wonderful to look at.

The film won't give you a nice jolly insight into the lives of shiny happy people all having a great time- rather the opposite!- but it certainly knows its onions vis-à-vis human relationships. 

It's so very Italy in the early 'Sixties too, so very European, with the women driving along the coast road in open-topped cars with their hair tied up in scarves and the naughty Italian men leching over women as if they've never seen breasts and hips before. That last bit was a bit alarming, actually...!

Don't let the horny buggers put you off watching this arty masterpiece of a film, though. It's much lauded by critics and you don't want to be the only person who hasn't seen it, haha. Hop on board for sex, sun, glamour, apathy and an overwhelming ennui. Come on in, the water's lovely...

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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