aka, THE FLING) 1960

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The great soundtrack orchestrated by Giovanni Fusco for L'Avventura (The Adventure; aka, The Fling, 1960) is kind of a blend of Anton Karas's theme for The Third Man (1949) recombinated with a spaghetti western score. I liked the soundtrack better than the movie.

L'AvventuraIn my youth I was devoted to Michaelangelo Antonioni, loved the majestic slow pacing of his films, the long often static shots. I found anything he touched mesmerizing in its beauty, & the characters always held me rapt.

My favorite was The Passenger (Professione: Reporter, 1975), but I'd go to double-bills at the repertoire cinema & Antonioni mini-festivals until I'd seen them all, & felt completely rewarded, though admitting some of these films were an ordeal.

As I've gotten so much older, I seem to have become spoilt by a lifelong diet of fast-paced thrillers, horror yarns, & adventures, & I find I lack the ability to become fully absorbed in films once beloved but which now feel bloated, self-indulgent, & not nearly as meaningful as a younger inexperienced mind liked to believe.

I hadn't revisited these films in decades, & settled on viewing L'Avventura in part because I couldn't remember it at all so figured it would be like seeing it for the first time. Also the stills had such a stark, forboding look, & I usually get an extra kick out of black & white cinematography.

Anna (Lea Massari), a wealthy young woman, has become dissatisfied with her Italian-movie-life & begins scowling in all the artfully arranged shots. It's so dull watching her it's no wonder she's dissatisfied, for I was bored by her too. We were both waiting for something to happen that was the least bit worthwhile.

Yaughting with her boring boyfriend (Gabriele Ferzetti) & her equally boring girlfriend (Monica Vitti) & adding to the mix a few even less interesting characters, they throw garbage on the sea & argue whether to swim. Then they swim. They arrive at tedious long last at an isolated volcanic island, where I hoped dinosaurs would eat them.

L'AvventuraAnna's idyllic summer continues to bore her -- & me. The character interactions develop along the lines of an adults-only version of Beach Blanket Bingo (1965).

Then inexplicably Anna vanishes on the ravaged volcanic island, never again to be seen. She's much more interesting in her absence than when she was around.

Everyone looks for her, slowly, detached, but in their world of amorality & decadence, getting it on with each other is more important. Yeah yeah, I get it, lesson learned, the rich devour even themselves.

I was never for a moment won over by these spoilt yob-wallies & was not entertained by the director's seeming invitation to deplore every character in his film.

Antonioni obviously intended these characters be disliked, but by paying so close attention to the upper classes (to which Antonioni did not belong) he just shows how important they were to him.

To me, they had nothing going for them. The only possible thing that could've justified their assinine opinions & actions in life would be if the dinosaurs had shown up after all to eat them. I did at least like the silvery landscapes; you can't fault the camera.

So. Had I been in my youth a film viewer of greater taste & easy patience than I am today, or was I just a sucker like every other urban film-fairy of the era, who so easily mistook Antonioni for a genius?

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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