One of the most thrilling moments during my museum tenure was Antonioni’s appearance at his 2005 LACMA retrospective (just 18 months before his death) and my onstage conversation with the maestro and his wife prior to a screening of La Notte which he stayed to watch with the audience. L’Avventura, the first film in the trilogy that includes La Notte and L’Eclisse, is a towering work of modernist cinema, constructed around an absence that occurs within a void: it is from what is not in the film, not in the narrative, not in the frame, and not said by the characters that Antonioni has constructed his unique dramatic universe. The story is simple: Anna (Massari) a moody young Roman socialite has invited a dozen friends to sail with her to the Aeolian Islands off Sicily, among them her lover Sandro (Ferzetti) a successful architectural engineer, and her best friend Claudia (Vitti), the only member of the party who is not upper class. The next afternoon Anna disappears from a small volcanic island and as hours become days and the guests drift back to Rome, an anxious Claudia and a reluctant Sandro continue to search through Calabria and Sicily where their relationship evolves from antagonistic to intimate. With its carefully composed images, its neo-realist locations, its emotional reserve, its erotic undercurrents, its unnerving silences, its oblique dialogue, and its insincere characters, L’Avventura is part Chekhov, part Beckett and all Antonioni. The screening of this towering film, last shown in the 2007 series “Fifty Years of Janus Films”, is made possible courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Bing Theater | $10 general admission. $7 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID