L 'Eclisse - The Eclipse

"As long as we were in love, we understood each other. There was nothing to understand." Vittoria

"As long as we were in love, we understood each other. There was nothing to understand." Vittoria

☆☆☆☆ Masterpiece

L' Eclisse - The Eclipse (1962) is a Italian cinematic masterpiece of character study and visual artistry.

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Starring Monica Vitti and Alain Delon among others.

It's hard to explain a film directed by Michelangelo, because they are made to allow the viewer to formulate their own narrative. I suggest turning off the sound and letting your mind formulate a story. Therein lies the true genius of Michelangelo's directing style and story telling. There is no story or narrative to follow throughout the film only to view the characters lives and let your imagination fill in the story. The audience members become the directors of the movie.

The scene in the clip below is a perfect example of how Michelangelo tells the characters story through their interactions and movement and the backgrounds they inhabit. There is no sound in the scene below, but watch everything in the scene to its most minute detail. Carefully watch how the actors speak with their actions, looks and body language. As an audience member watching the scene below you begin to fill the story yourself by what you see visually.

As an actor I would have found Michelangelo's directing style stifling at first, because he probably directed his actors, so precisely as to tell them were to place a hand, foot, etc...  I have worked with directors like this on stage. Once you understand what is being conveyed in a given moment, they will allow you to internalize and color each moment in your own unique way, while still adhering to the directors minute moment to moment directions. An actors job is not easy.

In the scene below as an audience member my minds starts filling in the unspoken dialogue, their background stories and where this scene is going as I begin to listen to the characters with my eyes. My favorite moment is when the camera glances (from the perspective of Francisco Rabal) at Monica's curvy and sexy legs from the mirror like reflection in the marble floor. As an audience member I understand at that moment that their relationship had tons of passion. Notice, how Monica's left leg lifts ever so slightly and suggestively as we look at her legs. This is a woman that knows how to get a man's engine firing on all cylinders.

Without giving anything away, the ending is visually beyond description. It is probably one of the greatest ending ever put to film. The ending is as visually haunting as Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris (1972).

Trivia - L 'Eclisse won The Special Jury Prize and was nominated for The Palme D'Or at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.