Paul Malikkal


L’Ecclise (1962)

Paul Malikkal

This movie’s more frustrating than trying to convince Monica Vitti to sleep with you (Delon probably spends over half the movie getting turned down). Both this film and L'Avventura begin with simple dilemmas that could probably sustain short stories, but then proceed to stretch these dilemmas to feature length. The dilemma, in this case, is that Vittoria (played by Vitti) is bored with her fiance and reluctant to move on to another lover. So did Antonioni feel the best way to depict this boredom was to bore us? Watching Viti change her mind about leaving no less than five times in the film’s opening scene feels endless, sure, but the endlessness serves a purpose- to show how trapped Viti feels in her relationship. But what do the interminable stock exchange sequences say? And would the film lose anything by getting rid of them? Some may feel that this emptiness is the point and the famous ending montage indicates that there’s more going on with this movie than what’s on the surface. But what? It’s brilliant in theory, but it's a formally appealing deviation, not a recontextualization. Hell, the dopey Morrissey biopic from earlier this year put this device to better use. I hate to admit it, but I had a better time watching Aziz Ansari wear his love for Antonioni on his sleeves on Master of None than I did watching L’Eclisse.

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