La Notte ★★★½

Each frame in this film contains images that are much richer, and more complex, and hence more expressive, than those you can see in many other movies from their opening scenes until their closing credits stop rolling! I swear to God I haven't seen anything like this before!

Only with the framing, Antonioni artistically managed to capture the separateness, loneliness, depression and the ennui felt by this couple. But he didn't stop there, as he emphasizes, and delves into, them even more deeply symbolizing them through the stunning architectural set pieces. The imagery is simply quite astonishing!

The performances are simply top-notch. Marcello Mastroianni fleshed out his complex character only through his facial expression and gestures. His eye expressions, in particular, were enough to convey what he feels towards other characters, especially his wife Lidia, who is portrayed by Jeanne Moreau. Jeanne delivered an equally brilliant performance, showing an incredible range every time she pretended to be happy, and fake smiles. I have no problems with Monica Vitti's performance; but once her character appeared on screen, the film lost me, and I was bored almost as much as the unfaithful married couple. Although I get the purpose and the role Monica's character, Valentina, plays within the story; everything she added to the story seemed implausible and unconvincing, and the character itself felt completely forced and out-of-place at the same time the second she was introduced for the first time.

I think the movie begins to plod and drag halfway through. And the slow pacing that worked impressively in the first act and made me completely riveted, was rather an insult to injury in the second act in which I almost felt asleep.

Another issue I have with La Notte is that right before the end I felt I had gotten these themes clearly, and there was, after that, a certain sense of hammering home ideas that had already been conveyed and expressed beautifully in a more subtle way.

All in all, I can say that I partially enjoyed La Notte, the thing that I hadn't expected at all. It's my first Antonioni, and I think it won't be my last.


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