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145 minutes · 1960
The controversial, highly charged masterpiece (1960) that put Michelangelo Antonioni's name on the international map. It's a work that requires some patience—a 145-minute mystery that strategically elides any conventional denouement—but more than amply repays the effort. The ambiguous title adventure begins on a luxury pleasure cruise. The disconsolate girlfriend (Lea Massari) of a successful architect (Gabriele Ferzetti) mysteriously disappears on a remote volcanic island, and the architect and the woman's best friend (Monica Vitti) set out across Italy looking for her, becoming involved with each other along the way. In the course of their epic travels, Antonioni paints a complex portrait of a crisis in contemporary values and relationships. His stunning compositions and choreographic mise en scene, punctuated by eerie silences and shots that linger expectantly over landscapes, made him a key Italian modernist director of the 50s and 60s, perhaps rivaled only by Rossellini. This haunting work—the first in a loose trilogy completed by La Notte and Eclipse—shows him at the summit of his powers. In Italian with subtitles.

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