La Notte (1961)

Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Bernhard Wicki,
La notte is a movie starring Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, and Monica Vitti. A day in the life of an unfaithful married couple and their steadily deteriorating relationship.
  • 8.0 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Ennio Flaiano, Tonino Guerra, Writer:
  • Michelangelo Antonioni, Director:
  • Emanuele Cassuto, Producer:

Trailer:

10 / 10

A Beautiful Film

Its better to wander into this film without knowing too much. The performances are all outstanding but the main credit must be handed to the artist behind it all Michelangelo Antonioni. It would have been quite beautiful to have seen this film when it came out, but even after all these years the themes still resonate as true.

I don't want to get into the plot too much, but this film is more about feeling. The friction and differences between husband and wife are explored.

Antonioni doesn't force anything, he allows a scene to play out in proper time. This film is full of symbolism and despair.

8 / 10

Antonioni - Cinema Artiste

I just finished viewing this on DVD and I kept thinking - can anyone imagine someone making a picture like this these days?

Of course, this film was a product of a time and a place and a sensibility that is now long gone. But be that as it may, this is an excellent film about a married couple who have fallen out of love. OK, no one will be viewing this looking for escapist entertainment. However if you are looking for what the Cinema can do without a blue-screen to enlighten, engross and even (dare I say it) entertain while at the same time shedding some light on human relationships - this film comes highly recommended. Excellent cast too!

With his refinement and cinematic artistry, Antonioni was definitely hitting on all cylinders during the early 60's doing stories that would probably raise a loud 'HUH?' at a Hollywood pitch session - then or now.

While I don't rate this at quite the same level as L'Aventura, this is up there with the best of his films (IMHO).

7 / 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.

10 / 10

where are the Antonioni's of nowadays !

"Hush now, don't explain". That's the only thing missing in this wonderful picture of the Maestro: the eternal voice of Billie Holiday over some end-titles. Do not expect explanations, watch the actors carefully and all will be revealed. Neo-realistic ? Sure, look at the rugged camera-angles. A child cries her heart out and we never see her face fully. Of course Lidia walks up to her and strokes the little girls hair smilingly, only to loose interest immediately because of a broken down clock. Symbolism ? Just watch and feel these great actors.

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.