Best of… Series – 1961 – La Notte

As a way to mix some of my old reviews in with my new reviews, I’m doing a Best of… Series. In this series, I will review my favorite movie of each year.

This review contains spoilers (2nd paragraph).

La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961)

I think a lot of the experts out there consider La Notte to be the worst out of Antonioni’s ‘alienation’ trilogy. I happen to think it’s the best. It’s most definitely a heartbreaking film as it centers around a married couple whose relationship is almost dead in the water. The first half of the film consists of the high-class wife wandering around locations where she seems completely out of place. Though seemingly uneventful, the way in which Antonioni films and edits this section makes it incredibly poetic and even strangely touching. This might actually be my favorite part of the film.

notte2

It isn’t until midway through the film that we discover she is visiting the area where she and her husband used to live. It’s scenes like this, the scene where she doesn’t cheat on her husband, and the scene where she reads him the love letter he wrote to her that have me convinced she’s not being truthful when she tells him she no longer loves him. She most definitely recognizes that he does not love her, and I believe she is trying to spare him the guilt.

notte

From a technical standpoint, like all of Antonioni’s films, this one is excellent. The framing, camera movement, lighting, and use of sound (there are many beautiful instances where the rain hypnotically pounds in the background) or lack thereof are all superb. This is a fantastic movie, and I’m interested to see whether it holds up on repeat viewings. I did see it on the big-screen, which always tends to inflate my score. But for now  9.5/10

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