I’m probably in the midst of one of the best sequence of films in the BFI’s list of the Greatest Films of All Time. Beginning with Vertigo, this current stretch includes The 400 Blows, Some Like It Hot, Breathless and now Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura. This will be followed-up by Psycho and La Dolce Vita, two films I’ve seen before I know I really like. Although I don’t think Some Like It Hot necessarily belongs on the list, it is an incredibly enjoyable and funny movie.

L’Avventura is a challenging movie. Friends Anna (Lea Massari) and Claudia (Monica Vitti) meet up with Anna’s boyfriend, Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti) and the three later meet up with a few more friends for a sailing trip to nearby islands. Anna and Sandro argue and, soon after, Anna goes missing. In a conventional film, this mystery would find some kind of resolution, but Antonioni is not interested in providing a conventional experience. The rest of the film does concern Claudia and Sandro’s search for Anna; however, Sandro soon turns his attention to Claudia and the two fall for each other. But again, Antonioni resists any easy or happy ending.

L’Avventura shares some features with The 400 Blows and Breathless. Like its contemporaries, L’Avventura has a naturalistic feel, although the filmmaking is more refined than either of those films. It also features characters who dwell in a moral gray area unlike most of the films on the list prior to this time period. The discontented socialites of L’Avventura may inhabit a different social world than the characters from Truffaut or Godard’s worlds but their search for happiness and meaning is not so unfamiliar.

As much as I love L’Avventura, I’m not inclined to add it to the elite section of my rankings, but I won’t hesitate to put it in the excellent.



Very Good



NEXT UP: Psycho