La Notte

1961 [ITALIAN]

Action / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84% · 31 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91% · 5K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.9/10 10 24284 24.3K

Top cast

Monica Vitti as Valentina Gherardini
Jeanne Moreau as Lidia Pontano
Marcello Mastroianni as Giovanni Pontano
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.09 GB
Italian 2.0
Subtitles us  
24 fps
2 hr 1 min
Seeds 6
2.02 GB
Italian 2.0
Subtitles us  
24 fps
2 hr 1 min
Seeds 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by runamokprods 7 / 10

Distant, beautiful, difficult and absorbing

Challenging and emotionally muted on 1st viewing, I still found this largely a very interesting portrait of a bourgeois marriage crumbling, observed during one afternoon and night.

The couple visit a seemingly dying friend in the hospital, attend a book signing for the husband's new novel, stop at a nightclub where they barely even react to an erotic floor show, and then head to a party for a rich industrialist who is celebrating the first win by his new racehorse, Both Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau do terrific work as the deadened and estranged couple. He no longer even identifies with his own writing, feeling it's just a product, like that made by the industrialist. He's even lost his sense of lust. She no longer feels love for him, and seems locked in loneliness and depression. It's a tough movie to take, grim, humorless, almost as dead feeling as its leads, but that would seem to be the point.

My only problem, as I've occasionally had with Antonioni, is that well before the end I felt I had gotten these themes clearly and powerfully, and there was, after that, a certain sense of hammering home ideas that had already been expressed beautifully with a lighter touch (there's a key reveal near the end that I saw coming a mile off). But the images (of course) are striking and memorable, as are the performances, and the sad gloom that hovers over this world of people who seem to have it all, and yet feel so little.

Reviewed by Cosmoeticadotcom 10 / 10


La Notte (The Night), the 1961 film by Michelangelo Antonioni, and the second of his Alienation Trilogy, after L'Avventura and before L'Eclisse, is a huge artistic leap up from its predecessor film. It's not so much that L'Avventura was such a bad film- it's not. It has its moments, and a good premise that swiftly decays into anomie and melodrama, whereas La Notte, even at an hour and fifty-five minutes in length, is a highly focused, layered, and concentrated, adult drama about the ennui that occurs in a marriage of dilettantes where all of one's life has been plotted out beforehand, yet happiness still eludes its participants. Yet, La Notte is not Italian neorealism, in the vein of what dominated that country's cinema in the prior decade, and this is clear from this film's opening shots, of slowly scaling down the side of a skyscraper to the strains of an otherworldly jazz-like score. The straight lines of the building and the reflected isolation of the city of Milan, dead in its modernity, evoke the suffocating sterility of the Precisionist painters, and a barred prison-like feel that permeates the film from start to finish. The film was shot in a gauzey black and white, that smears beautifully both polar colors into a stark and desistant gray. There is probably no bleaker landscape in film that than which may be called Antonionian. The sight of decaying urban areas, along with the odd film score, and the moments of lunacy and borderline surrealism, lends the whole film a hermetic quality. It is as if the film is its own world and apart from that which the viewer experiences every day. It could be set almost at any time in the last century, and in almost any major urban area. Not even Ingmar Bergman captures emotional desolation so well, for that director's obsessional penchant for close-ups of the human face are too irresistibly inviting to imbue emotion into, whereas Antonioni spurns close-ups for immuring and trammeling his characters in complex visual compositions.

The plot, however, of La Notte is very simple, yet the simpleminded are those most wont to dismiss the whole film as being 'simple', even though it is one of the most complex and realistic films ever to depict a marriage. It follows one day, from early morning to the next early morning, in the life of a couple. Giovanni Pontano (Marcello Mastroianni- just off his superstar-making turn in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita) is a famed and highly lauded novelist, who also makes a living writing magazine articles. He has enough money to live comfortably in a chic Milanese high rise apartment tower, replete with a domestic, and all the modern amenities of that era's present. His wife Lidia (Jeanne Moreau), whom he's been married to for almost a decade, cannot stand him any longer, and comes from a wealthy family…. The writing, by Antonioni, Ennio Flaiano, and Tonino Guerra, is masterful, and whereas the screenplay in L'Avventura sometimes felt as if it was a bad soap opera, especially in the second half, this film crackles with depth, realism, and dialogue that is first rate. Antonioni never forcefeeds his viewer what he wants them to think, and lets things remain open for personal imbuement. The cinematography Gianni Di Venanzo is not as spectacular as the island scenery that dominates L'Avventura, but it is far more intense and deliberate. The acting by Marcello Mastroianni, as Giovanni, is outstanding, and far richer and deeper than his more lauded performance in Fellini's 8½, a few years later. Jeanne Moreau is not an emotional zombie, for we see, in her reactions to the streetfight and Roberto, that, despite being a spoiled brat, she does have some depth. And, we see the same thing in Monica Vitti's character, Valentina, for she is merely a younger version of Lidia. Were Giovanni to choose her over his wife, doubtless, in a decade, this film would play itself out again, with Vitti as the new Lidia, and a younger sexier stand-in as the new Valentina. The acting in this film is so much 'realer' than the fluff Hollywood puts out, even back then, because the actors are not projecting themselves into roles, but letting the roles take them over. Whereas a Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts is always that persona in a slightly different role, Marcello Mastroianni and Monica Vitti, equally huge international stars in their day, are always actors first, and stars second.

Yet, the most frustrating thing about this film is how few critics, famed and online anonymities, appreciate just how drastically better this great film is over its predecessor, in all ways. Yes, L'Avventura may have made Antonioni a 'name', but La Notte made him a great filmmaker. Those that find this film too slow, or claim it has no 'action', simply will never get what real art is about. They live in a stupor devoid of the pinpricks that a work of art like this can give. Fortunately, the characters within the frame are not so hopeless, and in the scars that their pricks bear to the viewer, the engaged and intelligent viewer, in turn, will know not only what to salve, but where.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 8 / 10

Not as engaging in it's detachted style as L'Avventura, worthwhile none-the-less

La Notte is very content to be a film seemingly about the mundane in the bourgeois world of an Italian couple. But what makes it worthwhile is that the time that Antonioni gives for the scenes and actors to breathe- ironically enough considering their social and intimate repression- allows for some curious moments to slip through (some of his best directed). The married couple here of the great Marcello Mastroianni and face-of-a-thousand-words Jeanne Moreau are not necessarily un-happy but unsatisfied with how their lives are at this point. The husband is a very successful and admired author, and they are well off. But the question still arises, underneath as the subtext in many scenes, what's it all really worth? Two of the main set-pieces/sequences in the film revolve around Moreau walking around aimlessly through the city while her husband is at a signing party, and at a rich party at night with a spacious amount of room for the guests.

All of these little, seemingly mundane moments are not all that the film is made up of, and it is in this existential (if it is relatively speaking) crisis for this couple that what real life that's out there and real pains strike up here and there. I loved the moment where Mastroianni is confronted by a seemingly crazy girl at the hospital; is she really crazy, or just desperate for someone's affection or attention (she is later beat into submission by the nurses)? Or when Moreau sees a fight break out with some young men in the less well-off section of town, the hesitation and surprise suddenly throws the fighters off. The party itself- where-in the 'Night' of the title is revealed- has moments of dialog that strike up the symbolic points Antonioni is making. But unlike the director's previous film, the visual-side of the cinematography has its moments but not necessarily as extraordinary in its overall make-up. Yet the initial peaks of interest- both in the actors (particularly Moreau who is always a treasure) and in the final, contemplative act with Monica Vitti, endures with better results.

Maybe the least in the 'trilogy' that Antonioni made between 1960 and 1962, which still makes it more watchable than the usual art-house bores of late. There is almost TOO much room for pondering about these characters, which makes for what could be seen as 'dull', but it really isn't. Detached, maybe, but not hard to connect with if open enough, this is a very good film if not one of the director's best.

Read more IMDb reviews

No comments yet

Be the first to leave a comment