Saturday, March 02, 2013

Michelangelo Antonioni: L'eclisse / Eclipse (Part III)

Full circle to Part I: "Michelangelo Antonioni's  L'eclisse / Eclipse (1962) is an excellent antidote to the speed of life. Everything, even the Italian stock market, is slowed down and looked at with observant eyes. Antonioni seems to particularly enjoy contemplating rustling leaves, the way the wind moves things around, the way a fan blows air onto a woman's hair, a person's clothes. Fantastic black and white shot compositions, deliberately slow pace, intense interactions among people and architecture and space, both interior and exterior. You soon come to realize this is reminiscent of a horror film, only without horror, unless by horror you mean human existence itself. This is David Lynch country without any physical violence."

L'eclisse can be seen as a sort of Zen meditation on modern life. And it can be seen as an existentialist film. More subtly, it can be see as a surrealistic film. In addition, it's a mystical and poetic work. In all of these ways, Antonioni expresses something rarely delivered on the silver screen. 

One can see imprints of L'eclisse in other works -- David Lynch's Blue Velvet comes to mind. The way Antonioni uses space and signs in L'eclisse -- consider his use of crosswalks, for instance, and what people make of them -- can be seen in HBO's Enlightened, the series written by Mike White and starring Laura Dern (of David Lynch fame). L'eclisse is a movie that can be studied carefully and enjoyed repeatedly -- and obviously has been by certain other artists.

Even the stock market crash depicted in L'eclisse reverberates from 1962 through 2008 to 2013. "Where did the money go?" Vittoria (Monica Vitti) asks stockbroker Piero (Alain Delon). "Nowhere," he says. Chew over that a while. For those who lost 40% of their retirement investments in 2008, you know exactly what he means. The money vaporized. And, years later, it began to reappear, like a conjuring trick.

Today's Rune: Fertility.   

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

That is quite a lovely woman in those pictures.