98 L'avventura

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Martha
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98 L'avventura

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:20 pm

L'avventura

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Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork. An iconic piece of challenging 1960s cinema and a gripping narrative in its own right, L'avventura concerns the enigmatic disappearance of a young woman during a yachting trip off the coast of Sicily, and the search taken up by her disaffected lover (Gabriele Ferzetti) and best friend (Monica Vitti, in her breakout role). Antonioni's controversial international sensation is a gorgeously shot tale of modern ennui and spiritual isolation.

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:

• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Audio commentary featuring film historian Gene Youngblood
• Selected-scene commentary by filmmaker Olivier Assayas
Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials, a fifty-eight-minute 1966 documentary by Gianfranco Mingozzi
• Writings by director Michelangelo Antonioni, read by actor Jack Nicholson, plus Nicholson's personal recollections of the director
• New English subtitle translation
• Trailer
• PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, along with the statement Antonioni made about the film and the letter that circulated in support of it after its 1960 Cannes premiere

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Last edited by Martha on Sat Aug 06, 2005 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Miguel
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#2 Post by Miguel » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:00 am

Here's the first page from the thread on the old forum, courtesy of Google's in cache.
baileyhouse wrote:A review from Gary Tooze:

The Full Review with screen captures can be found here.
Note: It is also the Feature DVD of the Month

This review contains SPOILERS

Characters in Search of a Soul...

Viewing Michelangelo's " L'Avventura" for the first time represented quite a turning point in my film education. It spoke to me in a way that no film had previously. I couldn't explain or understand my emotional response but I was aware of the films grandeur. It left an authoritative dent, lingering with an essence of nobility. For days after my initial viewing, everything felt "profound". It collapsed my expected narrative designs to such a degree that I could easily understand fellow film enthusiasts being agitated at the unnerving displacement. On the surface, it shows itself as a film that surrounds its first half in mystery only to drift aimlessly away on a floating sea of unresolved conclusions. But there is so much more.

Upon deeper analysis (of which this film begs) we see that almost every detail of the plot, surrounding landscape and passive dialogue relate heavily to the characters identities and inner most feelings... their metaphysical world. If you hear the name Andrei Tarkovsky being uttered in comparison, it would be apt. With his picture perfect compositions Antonioni's films have more in connection with art than most other cinema.

As "L'avventura" opens we are greeted by Anna (Lea Massari), a jaded, spoiled socialite about to indifferently embark on a ship excursion with her girlfriend Claudia (Monica Vitti) and boyfriend Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti) with whom she is in a long distance relationship. Her blasé attitude is initially acceptable as we do not yet know her complete story. After some disenchanted lovemaking with Sandro, her pain is expressed to be their lack of togetherness and indecision as to the direction of the relationship.
On the boat excursion, while anchored to swim near a barren volcanic island, Anna feigns seeing shark. She soon reveals to Claudia that she lied and for no other purpose than succumbing to a fit of boredom. For their apathy, we are gaining the sense that all of these characters on the trip could be dubbed "the idle rich". They show little to no interest in what each other communicates. As well as opening a window on this surfeit class, each object of the landscape is clearly portrayed, and forms its own separate defined area within the screen. Antonioni's flawless framing makes it all so beautiful, making our job of interpretation that much more distracting.

While touring the picturesque island with its Aeolian charm, Anna goes missing. We never know why and there is no direct evidence supporting any conclusions, but the aura of mystery is in the air. The initial concern for her soon dissolves and Sandro and Claudia begin an affair. It becomes hard to accept that these young, attractive and wealthy characters are so self-absorbed when we are used to gorgeous movie stars being the noble protagonists . As Antonioni states "I prefer to set my heroes in a rich environment because then their feelings are not determined by material and practical contingencies." In fact, there are no ' heroes' in this film, but the point is made that they have no mitigating factors to encourage their selfish behavior. Their foibles are bred through wealthy meaninglessness, not usual neo-realistic poverty and despair. In essence, these characters have nothing to overcome... no abject hardships to suppress or hurdles to leap. Because of this, we discern Claudia and Sandro's behavior that much more abhorrent in our eyes. The characters alligator tears and bluffed investigations of Anna's disappearance become an inquisition of who we are... our own superficialities become transparent and it is the viewer who is redeemed for reaching this conclusion. Antonioni's hidden skill in manipulating time and space while expressing the concealed undercurrents of his characters depths becomes rewarding to those who are cognizant of it. His images are more adept at conveying this meaningful experience than any script could have.

Lets step back. This film is not for everyone. You have to settle in a certain mindset to reach my proposed conclusions. If you do, it can be an eye-opener, if you don't it can be an eye-closer ("zzzzzzz"). I certainly don't always come to the correct inference, and still struggle to see the meaning in Godard or Hou, but this film was a revelation for me. Doing research I was not surprised to see it 2nd only to "Citizen Kane" in the 1962 Sight and Sound Poll, remaining in the Top 10 list until 1992! It is comforting to see that Antonioni is viewed as a pioneer and revolutionary in the language of cinema. Initially L'avventura was hissed at its Cannes premiere, but who, offering the masses something refreshing, is not condemned by the occasional philistine. For its beauty, language, uniqueness and pure compositions it deserves all its accolades... and more. 5/5 - Masterpiece.

Regards,
Gary
Pedrito29 wrote:The first time I saw L' AVVENTURA, I hated it. I was waiting for the climax that never happened. What was the big fuss about it? Two adults sobbing, looking at the volcanic island in the distance...and I thought it was the worst ending ever made.

Looking over my DVD collection the other night, L' AVVENTURA appeared right in my face and all of a sudden, the sound of winds and water hitting the rocks came into my mind. So I decided to give the movie another try.

Oh my God, it blew my mind away. I was totally mesmerized and I couldn't stir for nearly 2.1/2 hours. Today I'm thinking this - this could be the greatest movie ever made. Why? I have never seen anything more "pure" in the cinematic sense than L' AVVENTURA. Even more than the other landmark films - VERTIGO, CITIZEN KANE, and 2001.

My interpretation of the ending = Claudia is the real heroine. She searches, searches, searches, and then finally faces the ultimate truth. Truth tests and changes everything. She moves to console Sandro. She loves him unconditionally.. the hardest thing to do in the modern world is to forgive. To forgive is the real meaning of love. Claudia and Sandro suffer but it takes one's forgiveness to start healing. In a way, its an optimistic ending but I'm sure others see it in a different light. Sorry for writing so sloppy. English is not my native language and it's still very new to me. It's close to 3 am and I'm still so trapped in the haunting beauty of the movie.
davebert wrote:I am going to get this and rewatch it. When I was just getting into the Criterion thing a few years ago, like a freshman in high school or something, I saw this film on IFC or maybe Sundance, some film channel. I just didn't get it, it bored me... so much so that halfway through my friend and I just got up and did something else. Now I've seen far more uninteresting pictures and realize that a film doesnt have to have a climax or action to be special
koomo wrote:Watch it first with the Youngblood commentary. (It will be rough at times.)

Wait a week.

Watch it again without commentary (even without subtitles) and CLICK. It'll stick in your mind for life (hopefully).
jtakagi wrote:It sounds like most of us on this board would have been right at home at "L'Avventura"'s Cannes premiere...
asphodel5 wrote:My experience with L'Avventura is pretty similar. I got it for Christmas of 2001 and I found a lot of it to be slow and non-eventful. I put it away for a couple of months and but some of the images really stuck with me (the way some of the close ups were shot, Monica Vitti on the island when the waves crash into the shore, the final image, etc.). I decided to watch it with the commentary and something just clicked. I've watched it a couple of times since then and I enjoy it more and more each time. It may sound stupid, but its become more than a film to me. The characters seem so real and the images are so wonderful that they've practically become a part of my "real" memory. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it just goes to show how much of an impact it has had on me.
Pedrito29 wrote:Is there an inspiring and thorough analysis of L' AVVENTURA published anywhere? I just finished reading the very slim book of the same title by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. The book is a part of the BFI Classics book series. I found the book dull and unimpressive and in my opinion, it didn't do the film any justice. I was hoping for an inspiring and different look at the film, like the magnificent commentary on the L' AVVENTURA dvd. Is that commentary published anywhere? The BFI book discusses mostly the background of the film. L' AVVENTURA is one of the cinematic landmarks, like VERTIGO, 2001, and CITIZEN KANE. I'm surprised that there is not much information about it on the Internet.

I also have the book by Seymour Chatman ... it has the screenplay and a bunch of reviews and criticisms. What I'm looking for is the analysis of L' AVVENTURA in every aspect - different themes, characters, use of sounds/music, use of architecture and sex, etc
iangj wrote:Peter Brunette's "The films of Michelangelo Antonioni" (C.U.P., 1998) has over twenty pages on L'AVVENTURA. Worth checking out
kschell wrote:Yup, great book. I know the author personally, heck of a guy too!
koomo wrote:I noticed someone on another thread asking about getting a transcript of the commentary. It's been awhile, but I believe he's repeating a lot of the things he covers in his book Expanded Cinema, which is available used on some of the US e-sellers.
Pedrito29 wrote:I got the idea from koomo's post to view L' AVVENTURA without subtitles. I did that last Sunday. Wow.. it's an utterly different experience. It's funny how you can really understand the premise of the film without needing to understand the dialogues. It's all about the images. I suggest you to try viewing the film with subtitles turned off.
willycaslon wrote:that's actually something i try to do with all non-english films i watch. in fact so much so, that removable subtitles (and correct aspect ratios) are for me a much more important purchase criteria than dvd extras are...
kenji mizoguchi wrote:Here's what i just wrote before coming across this thread.

" For many the virtual definition of "intellectual arthouse", L'Avventura is the seminal Antonioni classic that brought a torrent of jeers and boos at Cannes in 1960, for its length, slow pacing, sense of alienation and disdain for conventional plot. "A Nightmarish masterpiece of tedium" Time called it.

The main apparent storyline, and potentially fascinating mystery- of a woman who goes missing from a small island off the coast of Sicily while on a small group's yachting trip- is left to drift off, while a tentative and hardly joyous relationship develops between her fiancé and best friend who travel together in search of her.

My verdict on 3rd viewing; far from boring, cold, pretentious, self-indulgent, hollow nihilism, L'Avventura is a mesmerising milestone that deserves to regain a place at the very forefront of film achievement. Aldo Scavarda's cinematography is serenely beautiful and quite outstanding, Eraldo da Roma's editing (though many complain the film should have been clipped) nigh on flawless, and the use of buildings and environment to suggest a range of complex, enigmatic feelings is masterful. Throw in a wonderful sensual elegance, enhanced of course by Monica Vitti, and even a deep, lingering sense of mystery- this despite the neglect of the original puzzle.

It's wholly cinematic yet feels like a great novel. At 2 hours 25 minutes i wanted it to go on and on... From a period of seismic international change, excitement and vitality (Les 400 Coups, Hiroshima mon Amour, Breathless, La Dolce Vita, Last Year at Marienbad, 8 1/2...) it towers over the mass of today's flashy, shallow, juvenile, derivative and overrated efforts like a colossus."

Good to see it's really appreciated by some here- i'm only glad i've also come to appreciate it more fully (after earlier rather mixed, though improving, experiences) myself. And yes, echoing above comments, it is a indeed a "noble" film that's also had me thinking in terms of "greatest ever".

I was intending to get Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's book but Pedrito's comment has made me think again. The several "BFI classics" books that i've got have tended to be disappointing.
baileyhouse wrote:This is one of my favorite films and I think the reason why is that I cannot explain why. I just love watching this film, watching Monica Vitti, listening to that theme over and over, getting a kick out of that wolfishly leering kid. It all just adds up for me, even though after several viewings, I think I still don't have a clue what the film is "about."
Tribejmr wrote:"This is one of my favorite films and I think the reason why is that I cannot explain why."

Yep, quite some time ago I gave up on the idea that for something to be enjoyable that it somehow has to be "understandable." Now, there are many things that are plotless and dense that I don't like....but in each of thos instances the lack of plot and density of the story made an already bad movie worse. That's not the case here...it's beautiful to watch, the characterizations appear to me to be some of the most human and believable I've ever seen on film and I find myself intrigued by the action (or lack thereof) and drawn into the film. What's masterful about L'Avventura is that while it's obviously a very self-conscious film, it's not arrogant or smug about not letting the audience into the secrets of the story.

As an aside, I've always wanted to see Zabriskie Point...is it worthwhile?

Tribe
skuhn8 wrote:Z. Point is definitely worthwhile IMO...but certainly nothing as grand as L'Avventura. I feel that he tries but fails to capture some of the revolutionary fervor going on in the US at the time. It comes off contrived. It lumbers rather than captivates. But then again, there's that eye for landscapes: Antonioni's saving grace. What an eye.
Pedrito29 wrote:For those of you who love L' AVVENTURA...

Of all the Antonioni films, I find that L' ECLISSE comes the closest to L' AVVENTURA. Imagine Monica Vitti and Alain Delon together in their prime.. it's something to experience. LA NOTTE is surprisingly talky .. I like this one mainly because of Jeanne Moreau.. She was great.

I strongly recommend you to check the two very Antonioni-esque films:

- Vive L' Amour (Tsai Ming-Liang)

- Eureka (Aoyama Shinji)
kerpan wrote:...since I love Aoyama and very much dislike Tsai -- what am I likely to think of Antonioni?

;~}

MEK
Persona65 wrote:I also very much dislike Tsai, so: some of Antonioni I very much dislike, some of it I tolerate, a few of his films I like quite a lot, and then there's L'Avventura which I adore.
kerpan wrote:Excellent answer.

;~}

But have you seen Eureka yet?

In any event Avventura will go to the head of my Italian to-do list.

MEK

In Heaven
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#3 Post by In Heaven » Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:50 pm

I just watched this, and besides being incredibly amazed, I also saw that sometimes the transfer was terreible- black lines all down the screen, smudge at the bottom of the sceen, etc. So, I'm wondering: this was a big, important, popular film, but Criterion couldn't find a better looking print than this?

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#4 Post by daniel p » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:59 am

Keeping in mind that the dvd (over 4 years old now) was released when the film was 40 years old, I think the transfer is magnificent.

Sure, it hasn't benefitted from a HD mastering, but I personally was impressed by the presentation. Did justice to the film's jaw-dropping composition.

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#5 Post by david hare » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:43 am

absolutely agree. I would much rather people agitated about the very annoying strobing poblem in the otherwise glorious L'Eclisse print.

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#6 Post by mbalson » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:29 am

Sure, it hasn't benefitted from a HD mastering, but I personally was impressed by the presentation.
Apparently that's incorrect. A quick check with Criterion's website:
L'Avventura, presented in the aspect ratio of 1.77:1, has been enhanced for 16x9 televisions. This new digital transfer was created from a 35mm composite fine-grain master positive on a high-definition Spirit Datacine. The sound was mastered from a 35mm optical soundtrack. To further enhance the image, the MTI Digital Restoration System was utilized to remove thousands of instances of dirt, debris, and scratches. Telecine supervisor: Lee Kline; Telecine colorist: Chris Ryan/Nice Shoes, NYC.
I think "In Heaven" was talking about print damage more than anything.

Cinesimilitude
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#7 Post by Cinesimilitude » Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:09 am

I think only one thing I noticed on L' Avventura, was a very bright, outdoor shot, with a scratch that looked like a blade of grass which was very prominent in the bottom corner. I know it would be very simple to remove, but it'm not anal enough to care.

In Heaven
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#8 Post by In Heaven » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:02 pm

mbalson wrote:I think "In Heaven" was talking about print damage more than anything.
Yeah, I'm speaking of print damage. One scene inparticular, in the final 30 minutes of the film, there's a thin black line moving back and forth across the entire screen for about 5-9 minutes. It's incredibly noticeable and annoying.

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#9 Post by Panda » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:49 pm

Yes, the thin black line (vertical) that shows up over the last half-hour or so is mildly annoying. But the thing that bothers me is when Sandro and Claudia are in the San Domenico hotel room and he goes to take a shower, the image dims slightly and there is a noticeable hum-like noise audible on the soundtrack. This lasts about 3-4 minutes. This has not appeared on theatre prints that I have seen, so I am assuming that Criterion is responsible. I exchanged the DVD but the problem is still there.

Anyone else have experience of this?

Panda

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porquenegar
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#10 Post by porquenegar » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:49 am

Yes, I noticed it on my disc too. It almost sounds like a purring cat. At first, I thought the Claudia character was jokingly purring since she was crawling on the floor and lounging on a pile of clothing.

I just finished watching this movie for the first time and it didn't go very well for me. There were times during the movie when I felt in tune to the characters and could really feel them but most of the time I found the movie to be incredibly stark. I was reminded a lot of Contempt during the times the characters "clicked" for me but it was a fleeting feeling. I could emphathize a lot more with the Bardot character in Contempt but didn't really relate to any of these characters.

I've yet to listen to the commentary and based on some of the posts here I will definitely give it a second chance.

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ben d banana
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#11 Post by ben d banana » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:19 am

Out July 18:

GIOVANNI FUSCO-Music For Michaelangelo Antonioni CD (Water/WATER178)
Italian composer Giovanni Fusco scored many of the neorealist films of Michelangelo Antonioni from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s and is known for creating subtle film scores using minimal instrumentation that well-complemented the situations on screen. Water collects the best of the soundtrack moments from Antonioni's L'Avventura (The Adventure - 1960), L'Eclisse (The Eclipse - 1962), and Deserto Rosso (Red Desert - 1964). Detailed liner notes.
UPC:6 46315 71782 2

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#12 Post by kinjitsu » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:53 am

ben d banana wrote:Out July 18:

GIOVANNI FUSCO-Music For Michaelangelo Antonioni CD (Water/WATER178)
Italian composer Giovanni Fusco scored many of the neorealist films of Michelangelo Antonioni from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s and is known for creating subtle film scores using minimal instrumentation that well-complemented the situations on screen. Water collects the best of the soundtrack moments from Antonioni's L'Avventura (The Adventure - 1960), L'Eclisse (The Eclipse - 1962), and Deserto Rosso (Red Desert - 1964). Detailed liner notes.
UPC:6 46315 71782 2
I wonder if this will differ from the current C.A.M. recording? Or maybe it will be similar or possibly the same as this older version.

Fusco/Antonioni scores:

Cronaca di un amore
I vinti
La signora senza camelie
Le amiche
Il grido
L'avventura
L'eclisse
Deserto rosso

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truefaux
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#13 Post by truefaux » Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:23 am

kinjitsu wrote:I wonder if this will differ from the current C.A.M. recording? Or maybe it will be similar or possibly the same as this older version.
would you happen to know what's the title of the opening for l'avventura? i'm surprised to barely find mentions of it.

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#14 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:36 am

'Titoli' and it runs 1' 59"....

marty

#15 Post by marty » Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:04 am

I had the pleasure of seeing L'Avventura for the first time last night at an Antonioni retrospective here in Melbourne, Australia. It was a restored 35 print that looked great apart from a few scratches here and there but mostly looked glorious. Antonioni's framing was exquisite and I loved the way that everything from foreground to background is in focus. The shallow characters are no less important than the city which is distinct to The Red Desert which I saw a few days ago where Monica Vitti was in focus and practically everything in her background was out of focus which emphasised her isolation from her environment and her unstable mental state as well as being isolated from the modern industrial environment.

Tonight, in less than two hours, I am off to see L'Eclisse in a restored 35 print which I am very much looking forward to.

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#16 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:58 pm

I hadn't made the connection before now that the Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials documentary on the second disc was made by the same person, Gianfranco Mingozzi, who went on to direct Flavia The Heretic!

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Ornette
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#17 Post by Ornette » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:17 pm

Last night I was watching this DVD on a progressive screen for the first time, when I suddenly, at 01:11:27 to be exact (layer change maybe?), started -- please correct me if I'm using the wrong terms here -- noticing jagging and even some ghosting. "Bless me poor old soul", I thought, "Are me eyes deceiving me?" Oh, but they weren't -- it was there all right, and all through the rest of the movie.

I did some frame counting and came to the conclusion that this occurred on every 4th and 5th frame (not the ghosting though, which was completely random it seemed).

Here's an instance where both jagging and ghosting is visible.

Has anyone pointed out this before? I've also read Gary's review in which he didn't mention this problem. Or is it my disc -- has this disc been corrected?

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#18 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:30 pm

Happens on my disc, too, at the very same point.

I'll also reiterate; it also occurs during *all* of Rififi and I Know Where I'm Going!.

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Ornette
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#19 Post by Ornette » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:47 pm

Very distracting, don't you think?

It'd be interesting to know why this kicks in halfway through the movie.

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HerrSchreck
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#20 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:03 pm

Could possibly be the "alchemist" version of custom encoding which involves both interlaced & progressive encoding. This pops up from time to time on CC discs. Or a bootleg disc.

Are you watching on an all-region player in a foreign country?

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Ornette
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#21 Post by Ornette » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:19 pm

I'm watching it on my computer.

Also worth mentioning: At the point where this started my CPU load was increased with 20 percent or so, all through the movie.

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#22 Post by Tribe » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:31 pm

Scorsese on Antonioni:

[quote]The Man Who Set Film Free

By MARTIN SCORSESE

NINETEEN-SIXTY-ONE ... a long time ago. Almost 50 years. But the sensation of seeing “L'Avventuraâ€

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#23 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:24 pm


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#24 Post by Belmondo » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:07 pm

colinr0380 wrote:DVD Times review
The final paragraph of the review begins by stating that "Antonioni's reputation has been in decline for some time". News to me. The DVD they are reviewing is six years old. The only thing in decline is their own ability to recognize a classic release of a classic movie in a timely fashion.

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#25 Post by unclehulot » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:12 pm

Belmondo wrote:The final paragraph of the review begins by stating that "Antonioni's reputation has been in decline for some time". News to me.
Perhaps they meant his health had been in decline? Seriously, I don't know about that. I don't think the patrons at the MFAH in Houston this month would agree: there have been packed houses at nearly all of the showing of their wonderful, virtually complete Antonioni retrospective (sadly, planned as a tribute to a living director, but now an homage) going on right now. Hopefully, this is coming to a burg near others... don't miss it, if so, the prints are wonderful!
Last edited by unclehulot on Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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