L’eclisse Screen 15 articles

L’eclisse

1962

L’eclisse Poster
  • At first glance it's a more formally innovative movie than its predecessors (witness the ending: a long montage that doesn't show the principal characters), but it's underpinned by the same hackneyed symbolism: dawn and nightfall, construction sites, the Bomb, 'ethnic' spontaneity and the rest. Anyone disenchanted with the vacuity of later Antonioni will find the seeds of their dissatisfaction well-rooted in the mannerism and facile anguish evident here.

  • Was excited to revisit this—I found it painfully enervating back in 1995, but my taste has evolved significantly since then, and recent viewings of L'Avventura and especially La Notte went swimmingly. But there's nothing to grab onto here. The characters are clearly vacuous by design, and I could theoretically roll with that, but visual compensation is lacking; much of the film is formally banal, and no non-human element steals focus in the arresting way that La Notte's architecture does.

  • Beneath the cool, clean physical landscape of the Roman suburb lies the disordered landscape of the emotions. Antonioni’s style has always been founded on a juxtaposition of people and places. In The Eclipse, however, juxtaposition has become fusion: the two landscapes are made one, the visual imagery and the mental imagery effortlessly interlock.

  • Antonioni's evocation of urban lassitude and alienation has never seemed so overwhelming. The final sequence, in which suspense is built out of an increasingly unbearable absence, is justly famous.

  • Only a large screen can do full justice to the virtuosity of Antonioni’s mise-en-scène; a sense of monumentality is basic to his conception throughout . . . It’s almost as if Antonioni has extracted the essence of the everyday street life that serves as a background throughout the picture, and once we’re presented with this essence in its undiluted form, it suddenly threatens and oppresses us.

  • [Vitti's] engaging diffident verve consorts with the uncertain beauty, the arresting tentativeness, the detached intensity of Antonioni’s images. What Bergman calls her insecurity—a fair enough term for her characteristic tinge of self-consciousness—Vitti makes into a style of performance, one that couldn’t be better suited to her partnership with Antonioni.

  • The vitality Vitti displays makes her absence deeply felt in the film's infamously ambiguous final scenes.

  • Whatever drives the [stock] market to go up or down in passing seconds is the cause of the modern world's experience of alienation and alienation from experience. L'ECLISSE is a fascinating portrait of a woman who tries to navigate the time and space in which she lives, recognizing that she will likely gain knowledge of neither.

  • L'Eclisse is a somber film filled with stretches of contemplative silence and exacting composition, about a woman who extricates herself from one relationship, only to fall into another one that appears headed for the same conclusion. But as the film moves through arty, amusing diversions and bold symbolism to track this unsatisfying cycle of sexual "liberation," it could almost pass as the forefather of the anti-romantic comedy.

  • What sets L’Eclisse apart is the frankness of its politics, which associates Vittoria’s lack of fulfillment with Piero with shallow materialism, and settles none-too-subtly on a newspaper headline fretting over the nuclear arms race. It’s better when Antonioni engages in the mysteries of human behavior and the bone-deep dissatisfaction that seems to radiate from Vitti whenever she’s onscreen. The mysteries of those last seven minutes, however, are absolute poetry.

  • While the three films [Antonioni's Trilogy of Alienation] taken together do explore many of the same themes relating to spiritual emptiness, the disbanding of relationships, and a struggle to communicate in an increasingly modern and alienating world, L’eclisse differs from the two earlier works most notably in its increasingly experimental style and its blatant departures from conventional storytelling and formal design.

  • It's as if the styles and shapes, the textures and tones, of an intellectually infused, rationally determined world were themselves, in effect, thinking machines, static robots that take over the minds and souls of those who live among them. This scene is the most extreme example of Antonioni's method and of his idea, both of substance and in style.

  • It seems to me that L’eclisse is one of the most interesting films of and about the middle of the last century, when humanity was caught between the promise of modernity and the threat of atomic annihilation... In spite of its specific historical backdrop and its self-evident modishness in the early 1960s, the film remains a rich and complex portrait of the modern world that still demands and rewards repeat visits.

  • It's a bittersweet film, about the impossibility of love, the impossibility of romance, the impossibility of ever connecting with another person on anything more than a primal level.

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    Sight & Sound: Michael Brooke
    October 02, 2015 | November 2015 Issue (p. 98)

    L'eclisse has worn its half-century well. That's partly because Antonioni's matchless eye for architecture makes its environs seem startlingly modern even today.

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