Film / L'Avventura

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L’avventura is a 1960 film by director Michelangelo Antonioni.

Two friends, Anna and Claudia (played by Monica Vitti), meet with Anna's boyfriend Sandro and go with other friends on a trip to a rocky island. While they were there, Anna disappears without a trace. The others start looking for her, but with exception of Claudia and Sandro, they show no particular interest in the result of the searches…

If you saw any other movie, its plot would deal with Anna's disappearance and the effects it had on the characters. If that's what you're looking for, don't even bother with this movie.

Halfway through the movie, Anna is completely forgotten by everyone, including her friend and her boyfriend, and is only mentioned once in a while, in case you don't remember how the film began. The movie deals mainly with Sandro and Claudia's relationship (avventura, beside an adventure, means a fling in English.)

So… The movie has almost no plot. Yeah. That means it's not for everyone. The movie replaces plot with the beautiful sceneries, interesting Character Development and of course, playing with the viewers' expectations.

As an aside note, the movie had one of the most incredible instances of Vindicated by History: When it was released, the public founded it so slow and boring that they booed it in Cannes. It was after a second screening, and a bunch of essays written by critics defending the movie, when they started to admire it more.

L'avventura is the first installment in Antonioni's trilogy of alienation that includes La notte (The Night, 1961), L'eclisse and (The Eclipse, 1962), all made in B&W. Sometimes Il deserto rosso (The Red Desert, 1964) is included in this inofficial series making it a teralogy. Still the latter is in color and does not have a One-Word Title. These films are made in a similar manner characteristic for the "slow cinema". They research the condition of the contemporary middle-class educated Europeans though L'avventura in particular rather concentrates on the upper-middle class. Also Monica Vitti stars in all of them, playing main characters in three films and a tritagonist in La notte.

About Elly by Asghar Farhadi was clearly influenced by this film while not qualifying for a remake.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Adorkable Goffredo who behaves awkward and clumsy. However he is adorable enough to get a girl.
  • Adventure Subverted. The movie has nothing to do with this particular genre.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Both Anna and later Claudia are attracted to Sandro. Also the young artist qualifies for a bad boy what with his painting of exclusively nude women.
  • As You Know: The first dialogue of the film between Anna and her father is this. The father even lampshades it telling her "you know", later explaining what.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: In the scene where Claudia walks on the street of the Sicilian town alone the males gather in numbers and silently watch her. They don't make any aggressive advances however and then Sandro joins her.
  • Betty and Veronica: Anna, the brunette, is Veronica. She is clearly edgier than the sweet and tender Claudia, the blonde, who is Betty.
    • Gloria Perkins in the final part of the movie serves a Veronica for Claudia's Betty, reinforced by the fact that she too has a dark hair.
  • Bishōnen: Goffredo, the young artist.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Anna in the beginning of the film to an extent, She refuses to dicuss with her father that Sandro is not going to marry her.
    • Subverted by Claudia in the end when she learns of Sandro's infidelity. While he breaks into tears she has the strength to forgive him.
    • Also subverted by Giulia responding to the constant attempts of her husband to put her down with adultery.
  • Big "NO!": Claudia sings 'NO, no, non ti lascero' (Meaning "No, no, I won't leave you") to Sandro making a stress on the first NO. She indeed doesn't leave him in the end when he betrays her with a girl of easy virtue.
  • Captain Obvious: Claudia exits the room and stands in the corridor, Giulia faces her from the room, the doorway is between them. Giulia asks what she should do to remain alone with Goffredo the artist who passionately lusts after her. Claudia replies that it is enough to close the door.
    Giulia: Now what do I have to do to be left in peace?
    Claudia: I think all you have to do, Giulia, is to close the door.
  • Character Development: This is the plot of the movie.
  • Clothing Switch: Claudia puts on a blouse belonging to Anna.
  • Crying Wolf: Anna while swimming starts to cry that a shark is near. Most probably she was reproducing this trop. After her disappearance other characters make suggestions about her motives.
  • The Cynic: Sandro. When Claudia notes to him that he appears another person he replies that is only for good because it would make a new adventure.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Claudia confesses that in her childhood she did not have enough money.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost every secondary character in the movie, Claudio is not, curiously Sandro is also not the best example of that. Sandro might be evil at times but he doesn't often make snarky remarks. Patrizia and Raimondo as well as Corrado are frequently this. Also a drugstore assistant and his wife.
    • Corrado talking about Giulia even quotes Oscar Wilde, one of the most acclaimed deadpan snarkers.
      Corrado: Giulia is like Oscar Wilde; give her the superfluous and she will do without the essential.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Anna who then gives way to Claudia. Played with. In the runtime preceeding Anna's disappearance both Anna and Victoria receive a fair share of the screen time. Anna still is the main character of that part and the interest in her drama is reinforced in her final scene with Sandro before she goes missing.
  • Deserted Island: Lisca Bianca where Anna went missing. Actually it is populated by a solitary old man who lives in a hut.
    • Also Basiluzzo which is mentioned when a boat passes near it is uninhabited.
  • Determinator Sandro in his relation to Vittoria until he conquers her. Much less afterwards. He also averts the trope in his relation to Anna which lasts already since long in the beginning of the film.
  • Double-Meaning Title: As it was said above, the title makes allusions to both an adventure (perhaps ironically) and a fling (which is more precise).
  • Dull Surprise: Raimondo is unconcerned when he drops the ancient vase so that it breaks.
    • Patrizia in her turn shows that when Raimondo touches her breast. She only asks coldly whether he is disappointed with what he feels there.
    • Claudia reacts apathetically when Giulia and Goffredo passionally make out in front of her.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. While Claudia makes the forgiving gesture in the very ending very soon after she sees him making out with Gloria Perkins, it is implied that Sandro is visibly shocked after she discovers his infidelity. A debatable case as in description it appears that Sandro is easily forgiven but it does not read like that in the movie.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Old Man on the Island is credited in this way. Might be die to ValuesDissonance because in the movie dedicated to the upper-class characters a poor islander couldn't receive a name.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French: Claudia is taken for a Frenchwoman in the conservative Italian south
  • First Kiss: Between Claudia and Sandro happens too soon after the disappearance of Anna.
  • Foreshadowing: Claudia in the hotel room sings 'NO, no, non ti lascero' (Meaning "No, no, I won't leave you"). In the end she forgivens Sandro and indeed stays with him.
    • An example of this trope working within the author canon. The blonde Claudia once puts on a black wig which makes her closely resemble Valeria Gherardini, the character of La notte
  • Ghost Town: Claudia and Sandro visit one of those during their searches for Anna. They discover it is abandoned some time after they arrive. It works as an aphrodisiac because they make sex immediately after leaving the town in the grass near the railway.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Claudia appears the most sympathetic character however she confesses once that while previously she would like to find Anna and was horrified that she would not be found now she is horrified that Anna would be found. Other characters are visibly more cynical. some of them even suppose that Sandro might have knocked off Anna.
  • Halfway Plot Switch
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Subverted by Anna's father who also lampshades this subversion. He reports that when he was a career diplomat so for many years he was oblidged to never tell what he thought but now this obligation no longer exists.
  • The Jerk: Sandro is the one of epic proportions. Once he destroys a technical drawing of an architecture student.
  • Leave Me Alone!: Giulia asks Claudia to quit after she is convinced that Goffredo prefers her to her ostensibly prettier friend.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Some of the scenes, especially the ending.
  • Likes Older Women: Goffredo insistently tries to seduce Giulia. He succeeds.
  • Literalist Snarking: When Anna says that she does not feel Sandro any more he asks whether she did not feel him the previous day at his home. Anna is indignant.
  • Little Black Dress:
    • Claudia sports it during her stay at Corrado's Villa Montaldo in Palermo
    • Also Gloria Perkins in the party when she seduces Sandro.
  • Love Hurts: Vittoria learns it nearly immediately after falling in love with Sandro.
  • Manchild: Sandro.
  • Maybe Ever After: It is unclear whether Claudia and Sandro will go on with their romance.
  • Mistaken Nationality: People in the small south Italian town think that Claudia is French because she looks too modern and elegant for their tastes.
  • Mockstery Tale: The movie centers around the disappearance of a young woman, but the said disappearance is never resolved, and the real focus of the plot is the relationship between two other characters.
  • Mood Whiplash Claudia makes a dance singing a song full of passion for Sandro in an hotel. He already looks bored.
  • MST: At its infamous showing in Cannes, the scene of Claudia running down a corridor prompted shouts of "Cut" on part of the audience.
  • Never Found the Body: You never see Anna again, alive or dead. Word of God says that they shot the scene where the body of Anna was found in the water. However it was excluded due to the timing reasons.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer of the film makes it appear to be some sort of sexy, breeze romantic comedy. Certainly not what you're gonna find here.
  • Non-Idle Rich: An interesting subverion of the wildspread stereotype of the film. While on the trip many characters might appear bored and stricken by the upper-class ennui in regular life some of them actually work.
    • Sandro might have sold out and given up his high artistsic dreams but his boss recognises that he cannot do without his calculations. His work makes him rich, he confesses to own several appartments but it resulted from work, catering to the preferences of the tasteless bourgeois. Which pays.
    • Corrado is implied to be an official who is present at various conferences. Where he is unable to give up snarking
    • Arguably Goffredo doesn't have much time to idle around because he produces numerous nude paintings.
    • In the case of Patrizia it is her husband, Ettore, who earns the money. He is the chief of Sandro the architect.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After Anna vanishes the mood of this film irreversably shifts. Zigzagged because arguably some of her friends are indifferent to her disappearance and for them everything remains the same.
  • Official Couple: Claudia and Sandro become this much too soon. Invoked by Patrizia after Claudia arrives at the party.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only in It for the Money: Sandro retains his curreent job only due to that reason. It does not satisfy his creatrive urges.
  • Only One Name: Every character has only a name in the credits, no surnames are mentioned. Well, with the exception of the Anna's father who is only referred to as such.
    • Subverted in the sole case of Gloria Perkins, an aspiring actress who arrived from the USA. That proves to be a bad sign as she seduces Sandro
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: What goes on between Patrizia and Raimondo who are together on trip but are not lovers.
    • Also Giulia and Corrado revel in this trope.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Giulia says exactly that to Claudia when Giulia is going to the room of the young artist passionately in love with her. Claudia only reluctantly agrees. Soon after they arrive to the room Giulia says Leave Me Alone! as the passion of the artist ignites her too.
  • Pretty in Mink: Gloria Perkins at the party wearing a LittleBlackDress also carries a fur garment slung around her arm. It reinforces that she is TheVamp.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: The ancient vase is found on the island during the searches for Patricia. Party members pass it from one to another until Raimondo drops it with predictable consequences.
  • Prince Charming: Goffredo the painter who actually possesses a title of the prince. Also he charms Giulia.
  • Princely Young Man: Also Goffredo because of his title.
  • Rags to Riches: Sandro says he is this.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Several last shots of the last scene are that.
  • Red Herring: The police interrogation of the smugglers which does not lead anywhere. They quite probably indeed smuggle the goods into Italy on their boats but have nothing to do with Anna's disappearance.
    • Also the following actions of Sandro who meets several people who tell him against a girl which might be the missing Anna. Later this all is dropped..
  • Reveal Shot: In Noto Claudia is shown in close shot on the street under the stairs. A cut to the wider shot reveals that half a dozen of men watch her both on the same level and from the stairs. Then a further pan reveals that a whole crowd is observing her. A dialogue reveals that she is taken for a French.
  • Rich Boredom: Many characters here are indeed rich (or, at least, affluent) and bored, also boring to one another.
  • Scenery Porn: Many landscapes, both natural and urban.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: That of Patriza and Ettore as the wife is too bored and lacking in desire to commit adultery.
  • Self-Made Man: Sandro says he is this.
  • Sellout: Sandro is the one which he himself admits. He cherished original ideas but now caters to bourgeois clients with their corny tastes.
  • Servile Snarker: Raimondo for Patrizia.
  • Sicily: With all its implications. Ordinary people here are very socially conservative. They are hypnotised by a woman in modern clothes but definitely don't need tourists in bikini.
  • Sleeping Single Patrizia and Ettore sleep not only in different beds but also in different rooms.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Most characters are firmly on the cynical end of the scale.
    • Zigzagged with Claudia who also sees this trend towards the cynical flank in herself and is very much ashamed of that. She tries to improve her ways with mixed results.
  • Socialite: Gloria Perkins implies that she is the one though it is hinted that she is something else.
  • Title Drop: Sandro to Claudia when she reproaches him that he now seems entirely different person to her. He answeres that it is for the better because that makes for a new adventure.
    Sandro: And aren't you pleased?... That way you'll have a new kind of adventure.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Goffredo the young artist.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Monica Vitti is at times this.
  • Unnamed Parent: Anna's father
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: It emerges between Claudia and Sandro after Anna disappears while they search for her or simply aimlessly roam the island. It is resolved VERY soon by their kiss.
  • Untranslated Title
  • The Vamp: Gloria Perkins qualifies for a a mild example.
  • Trope Codifier: For the big-style long(ish) arthouse film. It even was proclaimed by the critics the second best film of all time two years after its release.
  • Visible Boom Mic: A reflection of a crew member can be seen in the end of the first scene on the back surface of the car which drives away Anna and Claudia.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: A rip in the skirt of Gloria Perkins
  • When I Was Your Age...: Sandro mentions this to a student whose architectural drawing he has just deliberately destroyed spilling an inkpot all over it. When the student comes up to him Sandro asks his age and when a student replies "23" says that at that age he fought so many time the student would not even think about it. The scene ends peacefully.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Giulia cheats on her snarky wealthy husband Corrado with a young painter Goffredo. Lampshaded as she remarks that her little heart beats like crazy as she is about to give in to Goffredo..
    • Subverted with Patrizia who travels with Raimondo but in fact remains faithful to her husband Ettore, the chief of Sandro. More out of lack of desire and general apathy than because of fidelity as she does not sleep in one bed with her husband.
    • In the end Sandro cheats on Claudia with Gloria Perkins.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/LAvventura