The Night (La Notte) (1961)

Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni. Set in Milan over the course of a day, and night. The film starts with Lidia and her husband Giovanni visiting their old friend Tommaso, bedridden and dying from cancer. Like their doomed friend, Giovanni is a writer, and is despondent, unable to envisage writing sometime essential, and unwilling to emotionally connect with his wife. Lidia wanders through Milan, the urban landscape beautifully filmed and wordlessly projecting her deepening sense of alienation. A series of doomed attempts to connect with Giovanni culminate in a glamorous party at the home of a Hemmingway obsessed industrialist. If you squint, the film could be about the cruel modern world making human connection difficult, but the story on film is of a lonely woman, married to a self-obsessed abuser. The tragic and mournful tone of the film is mercifully softened by the sparring use of diegetic music, with some wonderful jazz from composer Giorgio Gaslini who makes a cameo with his orchestra at the party.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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