Steve Cochran, Alida Valli, Betsy Blair, Gabriella Pallotti,
We are more familiar with Antonioni’s spaces of bourgeois existence, but in this wonderful early work, he returns to “the landscape I remember from my childhood,” the desolate vistas of the Po Valley, to film a study of a man who, deserted by his mistress, sets out with his little daughter in search of peace of mind and a new life. However, the image of his lover and the failure of their union never leave him. Here is the rare truly empathetic male character in Antonioni’s oeuvre. The film’s rhythm and shot duration make Il grido one long, drawn-out cry. Empty, silent spaces are loaded with meaning; it is the tension of that which is between, of estrangement, the inability to connect or find resolution. It has the look of neorealism, but Il grido’s protagonist and its landscape of indifference fit into the chain leading up to Red Desert and, finally, The Passenger.