• Every ten years since 1952, the world-renowned film magazine Sight & Sound has polled a wide international selection of film critics and directors on what they consider to be the ten greatest works of cinema ever made, and then compiled the results. The top fifty movies in the 2012 critics’ list, unveiled August 1, include twenty-five Criterion titles. In this series, we highlight those classic films.

    With one moodily beautiful composition after another, Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura—about the disappearance of a young woman (Lea Massari) during a cruise off the coast of Sicily, and the conflicted love affair that develops between her lover (Gabriele Ferzetti) and best friend (Monica Vitti) as they search for her—can be counted among cinema’s most mysteriously affecting works of art. It must also be included, alongside such luminous works as Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Gertrud, in any list of masterpieces misunderstood when they premiered; at its first showing, at Cannes in May 1960, L’avventura was booed and catcalled. In this short clip from Gianfranco Mingozzi’s hour-long 1966 documentary Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials (available on our release of the film), you can hear about that disastrous screening from someone who was there: Vitti herself. But she also reminisces about the more hopeful day after, when critics were already starting to rally around the film.

    Now, watch the film’s leading actress in action. Rarely has a camera adored its subject as Antonioni’s does Vitti in L’avventura. Like the film itself, she is a blank slate but with a subtle expressivity that is horizonless. In this scene, Vitti’s character, Claudia, still distraught over her friend’s disappearance the day before, receives an unwanted (or is it?) sexual advance—and get a gander at the brilliantly queasy shots of Vitti and company taken from the point of view of a swaying boat.

19 comments

  • By Dan Revill
    October 26, 2012
    02:14 PM

    So...Blu-Ray in 2013?
    Reply
  • By HUSKY
    October 26, 2012
    10:37 PM

    How about La Notte?
    Reply
  • By Julius
    October 27, 2012
    11:45 AM

    Blu.. please!
    Reply
  • By futurestar
    October 27, 2012
    06:39 PM

    just a note.............. Joseph Losey directed a campy, but wonderful, totally chick 1960's spy spoof with Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp, and rouge Dirk Bogarde - Modesty Blaze. the costuming and sets are way over the top but fit the spy # 0069 criteria tight or real loose, like all sexy costuming should be. a MUST to be sought out by any serious Monica Vitti fans since she was a stand up comic of sorts when Michelangelo Antonioni discovered her, quickly making her his muse and wife too boot. can anyone imagine the trilogy (plus Red Desert) being what it is without her?
    Reply
  • By Dena R.
    October 28, 2012
    01:04 AM

    What I would do for a restored La Notte BR by Criterion...my very old DVD is eh...and of course its in my top 2 Antonioni
    Reply
  • By ennui07
    October 28, 2012
    06:30 AM

    The script of the theatrical play Antonioni directed & cowrote with Elio Bartolini - and starring Monica Vitti - which was staged prior to the production of L'Avventura, is to be published in Italy on November 7th. Interesting exploration of some of the same themes... Can be found on www.amazon.it;publisher's blurb from Marsilio Editore... http://www.marsilioeditori.it/component/marsilio/libro/3171432-scandali-segreti Looking forward to the L'Avventura Blu!...
    Reply
  • By Matt
    October 28, 2012
    12:40 PM

    I might have booed along with them. This movie is soooo not my thing.
    Reply
    • By Daniel T. P.
      October 28, 2012
      06:17 PM

      Then time would have proven you to also be wrong and boorish.
  • By Matthew E.
    October 28, 2012
    12:44 PM

    ...more my thing
    Reply
  • By TheDirector
    October 28, 2012
    11:51 PM

    I honestly cannot understand how someone can boo during a film. Or after. Shut up and forget about it.
    Reply
    • By Matthew E.
      November 22, 2012
      04:33 PM

      To boo is to express disapproval. Is their any piece of art that you've seen which insulted your sensibilities? If so, then in so many words, you might "boo" it. Just because a film is valued by those with influence, doesn't make those that dislike it wrong. I agree that booing during a movie, with others watching, is boorish though. I think appreciation for Antonioni is due in large part to the value of his contemporaries.
  • By Murmer99
    October 29, 2012
    04:11 AM

    The Criterion transfer for L'avventura is just fine, I'm more concerned about them releasing La Notte as opposed to "upgrading" this wonderful film they already did an excellent job on.
    Reply
    • By Mike
      June 06, 2014
      08:36 AM

      L'avventura is actually the worst-looking of the trilogy and the one most in need of restoration/a new transfer. The two others, especially L'eclisse, definitely had better dvd transfers.
  • By Davide
    October 29, 2012
    04:24 AM

    I see everyone loves La Notte. How about some love for L'Eclisse? That's my favorite Antonioni. Monica Vitti is to die for!
    Reply
  • By Murmer99
    October 29, 2012
    07:07 PM

    L'Eclisse would be in my top 5 movies of all time if I ever put one together. It's also my favorite Antonioni.
    Reply
  • By Batzomon
    October 31, 2012
    11:21 AM

    I have trouble getting used to Antonioni's slow pacing, but I'm willing to give this one several more views.
    Reply
  • By John Wing Wo
    October 10, 2014
    04:22 PM

    I'm concerned that "BlowUp" will be one of Antonioni's masterpieces that continues to be neglected. It is available in dvd although, the visual quality is okay, this wonderful movie really needs a 1st class restoration to blu-ray. I hoping, one day there will be a Criterion 4k restoration of 'BlowUp'
    Reply
    • By thevoid99
      October 10, 2014
      08:14 PM

      I totally agree with you. Plus, the sound on the original DVD is horrible. You could barely hear anything.
  • By GregH3000
    November 02, 2014
    10:49 AM

    It took a long while, but we finally have the entire Antonioni trilogy on Blu-Ray. Thanks, Criterion. What I love about the "ennui trilogy" is that they have the documentary maker's cold eye and unsentimental approach combined with a science-fiction feel with all their stark landscapes; it's almost as if we are on an alternate timeline earth (a parallel dimensions, perhaps) where the consciousness of the inhabitants is reflected back in nature (e.g. wind through trees), or just in the way time is experienced (temps mort). This is a very rare magic to capture once, but three times in succession? (with the best being saved for last with "L'eclisse", IMHO, which is a particularly sobering indictment of the then-nascent postmodern malaise). I was born in 1959, and I have been repeatedly awe-struck by watching these films and understanding so much more clearly the world I was being born into.
    Reply