La Notte (1961)

MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Italy/France, 1961.  Nepi Film, Sofitedip, Silver Films.  Story and screenplay by Michelangelo Antonioni, , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .

Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau are terrific as a wealthy Milanese couple who have fallen into the boredom of a long marriage and are no longer very close. Taking place over the course of a single day, this film follows them as they visit an ill friend in the hospital, attend the launch party of Mastroianni’s latest novel, get separated by circumstances and then reunite at a swanky party in a giant country villa, where they each find new potential partners for themselves. Not up to snuff with Antonioni’s best material, even Red Desert is more compelling, but its leads have such mesmerizing presence that it is still an enjoyable experience.  His discreet ennui of the bourgeoisie isn’t exactly important subject matter, but it does make for some great, trashily pretentious European art house entertainment. Monica Vitti, star of Antonioni’s masterpiece L’Avventura, is stunning in a supporting role.

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