OTB#53: La notte

That’s some logo!

“Uhm hm uhm uhm”

You’d think after a lifetime of watching Italian movies I’d be used to the Italian approach to sound — i.e., not recording it, but adding it in post-production. But I’m not! Every time I watch an (old) Italian movie, it comes as a fresh shock.

Well, almost — sometimes it’s done so seamlessly that you almost don’t notice it, but more often than not (like here) I doubt the lines were even written when they filmed it, so the audio doesn’t match up with the actors much. I suspect the actors are just going “rabarbaro rabarbaro melanzane” in a vague way…

And the Italians allow the sound to go to absolute silence a lot — there’s foley work, of course, but sometimes the sound goes to _________ which never really happens in most movies — there’s almost always room ambience of some kind.

This movie isn’t on the critics’ top 250, but it’s #53 on the directors’ list because these directors voted for it. Hm… Roy Andersson makes sense… Sofia Coppola? Hm…

It’s an odd film. I think Antonioni is trying to say something with these constant juxtapositions of old (sometimes dilapidated) buildings and these brand new sky scrapers?

You know… sometimes you watch a movie and it’s not connecting, but then suddenly it snaps into focus and is riveting?

This is one of those movies. All of a sudden it’s the best! movie! ever!

Of course Jeanne Moreau is great.

That’s a good-looking gas station.

All these odd angles and weird ways of framing the shot… I love it.

It’s so weird… I feel like I’ve seen this before — but not exactly like this. Like a remake of this or something. But only certain scenes, like when she was walking around in that neighbourhood, and when they’re arriving at the party…

So many odd angles…

I can see why this isn’t on the critics’ list — it’s so oddly structured, and doesn’t go anywhere you’re expecting, really. But it’s just a fascinating movie: Every scene is gripping, and the stranger it gets, the more “right” it feels. It’s a stunning, gorgeous movie, with amazing performances by Mastroianni, Moreau and Vitti.

La notte. Michelangelo Antonioni. 1961.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best 2022 series.

Leave a Reply