“I no longer have inspirations, only recollections.”
Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte is an indelible formalist masterwork that charts the emotional despondence and interior degradation of a failing loveless marriage, externalized in the prosaic modernist architecture of 1960s Milan.
Giovanni and Lidia are amidst existential crises precipitated by marital ennui, mutually disillusioned by the artifice of their marriage and the minutiae of mere existence. As such, they embark on diverging spiritual journeys to seek inner truths. Akin to a labyrinth, the film is structureless and meandering, seemingly opaque in its direction and exposition, and yet it is immensely hypnotic due in large part to its gorgeous black and white cinematography, sleek jazz score, and subtly expressive performances.
La Notte is an intricate and delicate inspection into the rootlessness of the modern man, the coldness and indifference of romance, and the enigmatic confines people unconsciously construct around their partners and themselves.