Monica Vitti, Gabriele Ferzetti, Lea Massari, Dominique Blanchar,
While exploring a volcanic island on a yachting expedition, a troubled young woman named Anna disappears, leaving her lover Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti) and close friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) to search in vain, and fall in love. L’avventura unfolds against Anna’s very palpable absence, a love story in a void. As always, landscape is the screen onto which Antonioni projects human emotions. Anna’s pain is articulated in the parched suburb from which she came, and in the rocky island on which her cohorts wander, not realizing it is they who are lost. (Anna may have escaped.) Stunning love scenes prepare us for those in The Passenger fifteen years later: love as a standoff, a sizing-up as in a bullfight, played out-of-doors. L’avventura is rich in Antonioni’s visual architecture, wicked humor, and, finally, youth: a shot of Vitti, hair blowing in the wind while village bells answer one another, may be unmatched in these films for its spirit of hope.