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Film / L'eclisse

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L'eclisse (English translation: The Eclipse, might also be untranslated) is a 1962 romance drama film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The movie is set in Rome in the summer and autumn of 1961. Main roles are performed by Monica Vitti and Alain Delon. It was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.

Also starring is Lilla Brignone as Vittoria's mother and Francisco Rabal as her former fiancé Riccardo.

This was the third in the informal trilogy of alienation, with its predecessors being L'Avventura and La Notte. L'eclisse also was Antonioni's final black-and-white film. Sometimes Antonioni's subsequent film, Il deserto rosso, is included in this series too, to make it a tetralogy.

Antonioni wrote the script in collaboration with Tonino Guerra and two other writers. Gianni di Venanzo was the cinematographer for the fifth and the last time in Antonioni films.


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  • Absurdly Cool City: Rome
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism. Vittoria's mother demonstrates it after a successful session in the first La Boursa scene.
  • All Dogs Are Purebred: Appears to be the case in the flock of dogs joined by Marta's poodle who ran away from her appartment.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: After Piero tells her that in the previous evening he was at a meeting, Vittoria makes an assumption that call-girls were present there. Piero denies it but her own conjecture doesn't bother her in the slightest.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Vittoria's mother to her daughter. Even on the winning day she tries to bargain with a street seller paying her less. On a bad day mother experiences a breakdown in La Borsa. Vittoria tries to convince her to simply go home.
  • Author Tract: According to the Word of God the director was in fact very keen on exposing the materialism and vapidity of the modern life.
  • Benevolent Boss: Piero's boss is generally that for him. He does not scold him for his blunder. Also he always treats him politely.
  • Betty and Veronica: A less obvious example. The blond Vittoria is Betty while an episodic character appearing onscreen in one scene, a girl, played by actress who remained uncredited, is actually Veronica. Stressed by the fact that she is now brunette having dyed her hair and thus changing her previous blond color. Piero sees her new look, disapproves of it and immediately stops the date going for Vittoria in his car.
  • Between My Legs: An interesting example. Vittoria in one scene is watched by the camera from the Dutch angle with the statue on the pedestal in the foreground. First it is not this trope but then Vittoria makes several steps and takes a position such that for a moment her head and upper torso are seen above the pedestal between the legs of the monument. Camera promptly cuts to a reverse angle with the heroine's head now in the foreground placed between the legs of the statue.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Invoked in-universe. Vittoria addresses to Marta in English in the presense of Anita. The latter protests and asks to return to Italian because she doesn't understand.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Arguably. While Vittoria and Piero both never come to the appointment place they are still young and beautiful. Thus it doesn't look like the film has a Downer Ending
  • Blackface: Vittoria in one scene puts on exactly that, playing an African tribal warrior brandishing a spear. Later Vittoria meets two blacks in a cafe during her trip to Verona.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Vittoria invokes this, believing that the proceedings in La Borsa are immoral.
  • Blatant Lies: When Piero proposes to Vittoria she rejects it saying that she is fed up with marriage. Piero replies that she never was married. Vittoria mysteriously answers that she means another thing.
  • Book Ends: Of sorts. The film starts with a scene of the break-up of Vittoria and Riccardo and its penultimate scene is the break-up of Vittoria and Piero foillowed by the tremendous silent final scene.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Riccardo who appears quite well-off and has a lively interest in the socialist theory which is implied by the books in his house. Subsequently Vittoria starts a relationship with a stockbroker Piero who has no interest in any social ideas whatsoever
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • Vittoria tends to to this.
      Vittoria: There are times when holding a needle and thread or a book, or a man - it's all the same.
    • Also:
      Piero: You don't like to come to the exchange.
      Vittoria: I still can't figure out if it's an office, a market place or a boxing ring.
  • Broken Bird: A rather mild example with Vittoria. It is stated by Vittoria that she used to be happy with Riccardo, but that she is no more. Also, she complains that when they started their relation she was about 20 and now she is nearly 10 years older. Also, she is not going to marry Piero because she confesses that she was already married and has enough of it, even though in fact she never legally married Riccardo.
  • Call-Back: In Verona Vittoria sees two black men reminding her of what Marta earlier said about their race.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The stock market scene is drawn in really broad comedy, unusually so by Antonioni's standards. The whole visuals of the Roman Borsa (which really is located in a real-life Roman Temple) and the fact that Vittoria's mother pins a lot of her hopes in the stocks she has invested, to the point of even crossing there, more or less shows that money and the pursuit of it is becoming the new religion.
  • Captain Obvious: When the drunk drives to the house of Vittoria Piero shouts "my car" and rushes to the road only to narrowly avoid being hit. Then while the drunk speeds away he explains to Vittoria "he stole my car".
  • Car Fu: An incidental (and nearly accidental) case. A drunkard who steals a car passes Piero very close so that Piero has to jump back in the last moment but still is nearly hit. It is said that the car actually went very close to him, it was not a stunt and Alain Delon could have been hit in real life if he were not so lucky.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Riccardo. He and Vittoria separate then he appears in one scene to somewhat insistently stalk her even shaking the door into her appartment block. This scene ends at about 40 minutes into the movie (the end of the first act). He is never seen again.
    • To some extent, every other character after 1 hour 20 minutes into the film (that is, after the end of the second act of the 2-hour film). After that, the only characters are Vittoria and Piero with a minor episode of Marta shooting a balloon. Justified in that other characters do not have any arcs of significance that remain unresolved. Vittoria's mother conflict is pretty obvious and rather secondary for the movie.
  • Cloudcuckoolander : Vittoria is a mild example but qualifies as such.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Vittoria's mother, who assumes that someone always pulls the strings. Obviously she clings to them after the stock market crash resulting in her loss of 10 million lire. Previously she was completely content with the system.
  • Cool Car
    • Alfa Romeo Giulietta owned by Piero which is drowned in a small lake by a drunk hijacker.
    • Later he mentions that he bought BMW but it is never shown.
  • Cool House:
    • Riccardo's house is abound with avant-garde paintings. It also is decorated with a sculpture.
    • Marta's appartment with African-themed design qualifies as well.
  • The Cynic: Piero who after the accident leading to the death of the hijacker of his car confesses to Vittoria that he is mostly concerned about the amount of the damage to the vehicle.
  • Dark Reprise: The second La Borsa scene is that to the first one.
  • Determinator: Piero both in La Borsa scenes and courting Vittoria.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Played with: A stock investor who lost a huge sum in a crash goes to a cafe visibly shaken. There he merely drinks water with a tranquiliser and draws flowers on a rag of paper implying that he might not be desperate and suicidal.
  • Deuteragonist: Piero is both far behind Vittoria and far ahead of anyone else in regard to his screentime. He is much less present in the first half movie than it would appear in the retrospect, until 50 minutes into the movie he is actually only seen in the first stock exchange scene (admittedly a pretty long one). He rebounds in the second half, starting with the second stock exchange scene at 50 minutes into the film. He is on par with Vittoria throughout the third act where he appears as often as his counterpart. Overall his arc is very significant but he is definitely the second important character even though Alain Delon actually received the top billing.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Indeed they did! It remained offscreen but it is pretty obvious.
  • Didn't Think This Through: For Vittoria's mother who was not eager to save and thought that the stock market rally would last forever.
  • Disappeared Dad: The father of Vittoria died when she was very small.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Riccardo definitely behaves like the one in the first scene. Later it becomes somewhat complicated in the scene where he stalks Vittoria. He finally does not cause any serious trouble at least because he cannot enter the building where her flat is.
  • Doppelgänger
    • When Piero arrives to Vittoria on his car at night he sees a woman all like her leaving the apartment block. From the distance she looks very similar to the heroine. The woman passes Piero without reaction from both and gets into the car. Though she is never shown closely it is clear she is not Vittoria. Subverted in that her dress is nothing like what Vittoria wears.
    • Also in the last sequence a man and later a woman who pass near the meeting place of Vittoria and Piero seem to resemble them when shown from the back. This trope is much less relevant in the case of a man who hardly can be taken for Alain Delon. The female extra's hair on the contrary looks like Vitti's, it is only when she turns to the camera that one discovers that it is a different person. It is possible that both time the viewer is shown the same Doppelgänger of Vittoria.
    • A somewhat less obvious example. When Piero arrives under the windows of Vittoria at night and stalks her for some time a drunk appears and passes under her windows while Piero recedes to the side. The drunk is also wearing a suit and a tie although he looks much shabbier than Alain Delon. The drunk actually is the first one to adress Vittoria who responds to him thus revealing herself. After he passes further down the street Piero takes his place. Then Vittoria and Piero start their conversartion. Very soon the doppelgänger steals Piero's sport car and perishes in the small lake called Laghetto.
  • Downer Beginning: The first scene of the film shows the breakup of the relationship of Vittoria and Riccardo, which is very intense and exhausting.
  • Driven to Suicide: Most probably subverted regarding the unlucky investor who lost 50 million lire in the stock market crash. However visibly shaken he seems he might take the misforture stoically.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Drunk. It ends fatally for him.
  • Drunken Master: The drunken passer-by manages to hijack a costly car of Piero. Subverted because he drives it in the small lake and drowns the car, dying himself too.
  • Dutch Angle: Most memorably in the night scene when Vittoria looks at the statue. Both shot and reverse shot are made from the dutch angles.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Ricardo in the opening scene has this look for the prolonged time when he sits in the armchair. He appears to be far away in his thoughts.
  • Dull Surprise: When Piero's car is stolen and passes straight under Vittoria's windows speeding away, Piero explains the situation. Vittoria is shown from the back so her facial reaction is not available. Verbally she reacts with the blunt "I am sorry".

  • Easy Come, Easy Go: That's apparently how every investor played by extras in this film handles incomes received during the stock rally. Brokers earn considerable fortunes for them then people waste them never making savings.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: St. Peter's Basilica can be seen from the window of the former room of Vittoria in her mother's flat.
  • The End: The final shot is the intertitle "fine" meaning "end" in Italian in white letters on the black background.
  • Establishing Shot: Often averted. The cut from one location regularly is made to the medium shot on the other location without clearing up where it it. That confuses some of those who watch the movie for the first time.
  • Evil Colonialist Marta who grew in Kenya is depicted as such.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Subverted with Piero. It is clear that Vittoria's mother owes his firm a certain sum but he simply listens to her security proposal. Moreover, he lets one client of his firm who owes his firm 4 million lire go away without leaving an address. It is not explained how he could prevent the client from moving to other city but his boss reprimands him for that.
  • First Kiss: Lampshaded for Vittoria and Piero. When they are in the very middle of the zebra crossing on an empty street he says that he will kiss her when they reach the opposite site. They proceed through the crossing markedly slowly. When they are there Piero kisses Vittoria without much energy.
  • Foil: Vittoria and Piero to each other.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted. When in the first La Borsa scene Vittoria's mother brags about how she made big money in no time it is easy to see how clueless she is. Reality strikes back in the second La Boursa scene.
  • Foreshadowing: The loss of the car Alpha Romeo Giulietta predicts that the romance between Vittoria and Piero is doomed
  • Le Film Artistique
  • Frameup A pretty slight, somewhat slapstick example. Vittoria whistles loudly and hides bedind the tree. A bicycle rider turns in her direction and sees only Piero who denies that he has anything to do with the whistle. This scene is then continued by Marta's shooting of the ballon, together they constitute a Mood Whiplash.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At La Borsa one can see briefly indications "VEN(erdi)" "21" "LUG(lio)" and "13:09" meaning "Friday" and "July".That's the date of one of the shooting days.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • the Id - Vittoria's mother.
    • the Superego - Vitoria.
    • the Ego - Piero.
  • Funny Background Event: In the scene where the car is lifted from the lake a boy is pushed into the water by his mates.
  • Gainax Ending: One of film history's famous, and the first in Antonioni's career. Much of the film tracks the romance of Piero and Vittoria who keep meeting in a particular place, and near the end, they set up a promise to meet again there for a date. The final sequence is a ten minute sequence which shows the same setting without the characters, with random shots of location, buildings, passer by and bystanders moving around without anyone there to give it meaning. It's assumed that the couple break up and don't meet up again, since the scenes before show them perturbed and worried about the relationship, but the final scene is clearly about something more than the relationship, and it's not clear what it is.
  • Ghost Town: A necessarily weak example, but it is still noteworthy that this trope can be applied to a film nearly entirely set in Rome, which is a very big city and a landmark tourist attraction. Both in the opening scene and in the ending scene the people on the street are very few.
    • In the beginning, after Vittoria and Piero leave her house, some time passes before they see a man (a boy). Justified because the scene takes place in the early morning.
    • In the long final scene some people are present, but many shots show vacant roads without human presence.
  • Gold Digger: Subverted by Vittoria who claims that she is not the one and is generally not interested in the money.
  • Great White Hunter: Subverted because Marta's father kills hippos only when they eat plants required for the cattle. Still Marta can shoot a balloon from some distance.
  • The Gunslinger: In a bizarre scene Vittoria asks Marta to bring a rifle, lets go in the air a balloon tied to a perambulator. Then Marta hits it. The problem is that Marta shoots from the balcony of a flat in a three-storey house in the the city. No-one cares except for Vittoria and Piero who cheer her marksmanship. Justified as to the marksmanship because Marta lived almost her entire life in Kenya where she happened to hunt various animals when it was necessary to save the crops.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Vittoria is a kind-hearted person.
  • Halfway Plot Switch In fact the romance between Piero and Vittoria starts 1 hour into the film. In the first hour they talk very rarely. The film in the first half works as a psychological drama depicting a 60's young urban heroine in her everyday life. After 1:20 the rest of the characters disappear completely with one minor and rather outlandish exception of Marta who shoots the balloon. The third act is entirely dedicated to the romance.
  • Happy Ending: This trope is present in this film according to the Word of God. Antonioni believed that Vittoria and Piero breaking up was a good riddance for both.
  • Harassing Phone Call: A mild example. Vittoria calls Piero but says nothing when he picks up a receiver. He says "pronto" three times, increasingly loudly, then angrily throws down the receiver. In the next scene they already meet on their crossroad spot though the conversation in which they made their appointment is never shown.
  • Have We Met?: Piero says to Vittoria during their first meeting in La Borsa that she does not know him but he knows her. It probably is a reference to Vittoria's mother who should have talked to the broker about her.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: In-universe, Anita once complains that she is putting on weight while in fact the actress does not look fat at all. This phrase is probably meant to lampshade how lean Vittoria is as Anita then notices that her friend always manages to remain slim and even has lost a bit.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Vittoria pretends to be tired of marriage, then promptly agrees with Piero's remark that she's never been married. Might be that she subconsciously considered her life with Riccardo as "marital".
  • I'm Not Hungry: Exactly what Vittoria says to Riccardo when he in the end of the first sequence remarks that an outlet is open and they can have breakfast. Actually the venue is shown from a fairly long distance and it is not clear why Riccardo decides that it is open so early in the morning.
  • In Medias Res: The film starts with a decisive meeting, at first silent, between Vittoria and Riccardo. It ends by their final break-up.
  • Invisible Parents: Not the strongest example of this trope. Still, Piero, who says that he has his own appartment, invited Vittoria to a supposedly much posher appartment of his parents. It does not appear to be lived in by anyone (but Piero). Of course, the sole scene happens in this appartment and it is implied that they left for some time. Later, Piero invites Vittoria to the appartment where the office of his brokerage firm is located.
  • Jerkass: Piero during a chance meeting with his ex. Also while talking to his clients whose stocks lost the bulk of their value. In that case he tries to justify himself, reminding clients how much money they were making during the rally because of his recommendations only to spend it thoughtlessly instead of saving.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Piero might be a heartless, callous shark however during the rally he actually helped his clients to make amounts of money probably unheard for them. He is not to blame for the stock crash.
  • Kick the Dog: Examples abound with Piero. He meets a girl at a date, finds out that while she used to be a blonde now she has her hair dyed in a darker colour. He interrupts their date immediately, merely leaving her and driving away.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Piero spends his working day being casually rude to various people. Then he promptly interrupts his after-hours meeting with a girl because she dyed her hair black. He sets off to Vittoria on his posh Alpha Romeo Giulietta. When he arrives a drunkard hijacks his costly car which finishes in the small lake. It is implied that it is not damaged beyond repair but Piero decides to buy a new one.
  • Leave the Camera Running: An omnipresent trope for Antonioni.
  • Little Black Dress: The elegant Vittoria wears it in the first scene.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Vittoria and Piero do care to an extent for each other but there's too much baggage for them to really commit to one another.
  • Memento MacGuffin: For Vittoria it is a small wood floating into the barrel at the place where she and Piero meet. It is shown several times in the film carrying a strong symbolic meaning.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Vittoria means "victory".
    • More speculatively Piero is a variation of Pietro derived from the Greek for "stone". Piero also contains allusion to Pierot, the stock character in the commedia dell'arte.
  • Messy Hair The hair of Vittoria's mother becomes pretty messy in the end of the second La Borsa scene when she becomes desperate.
  • Mistaken from Behind: Two women in two scene or it might be one and the same woman look like Vittoria but as they (or she) turn it (both times) turns out they are totally different from Vittoria.
  • Moment of Silence: A minute of silence in La Borsa after the announcement about the death of a stockbroker. A literal example for the silence lasts exactly one minute. Subverted by Piero who addresses Vittoria during the minute of silence.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • A very pronounced example in the last meeting of Vittoria and Piero in his office which is oddly completely at their disposal at day. They are energetically laughing and joking when a timer rings. Their mood suddenly and completely sours, they become gloomy and aloof, Vittoria wants to leave. Vittoria and Piero follow towards the door and after the final make-out she exits the office.
    • Also the other scene contains the double example. Vttoria first whistles behind the back of the starting cyclist and hides behind the tree making it look like Piero whistled for the cyclist who turns and notices only him. Then Vittoria asks Marta to bring a rifle, lets go a balloon and is very enthusiastic when Marta hits it. Subsequetly the two characters become much sombrer.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Vittoria is a translator from Spanish.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Piero. Hey, it's Alain Delon.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Vittoria helds a fascinated gaze for the statue and the fencing making sounds in the wind.
  • My Beloved Smother: Vittoria's mom is a somewhat mild example. When she learns that Vittoria and Riccardo are no more a couple she repeatedly reproaches Vittoria and insistently says that Riccardo was a magnificent match for her. However she is nowhere close to coercing her adult and independent daughter to revise her decision.

  • Nice Guy: In his first conversation with Vittoria Riccardo is this. Subverted with his second and last scene.
  • No Antagonist: While male characters in two previous films by the director can with some stretch be considered antagonists, Piero definitely is not the one even though he is a jerkass with other people. At no point he is at fault in his relationship with Vittoria any more than she is.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Vittoria asks Piero whether all the money lost by numerous investors in La Borsa is redistributed to the other people who become richer because so many became poorer. Piero flatly denies it saying that this capital goes nowhere.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Played with. The word "eclipse" might apply to many things and thus this film might not this trope however Antonioni initially named it "L'eclisse/The Eclipse" keeping in mind an actual solar eclipse he once experienced. He wanted to show it in the film but never did.
  • Non Sequitur: Vittoria is fond of them. One example is when, after Piero proposes her, she says she is tired of marriage. Piero remarks that she has never been married, but she inconsequently says that she means another thing. Piero reasonably says that he does not understand her.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Having earned a round sum in a successful trading session Vittoria's mother doesn't pay attention to her daughter words. In fact Vittoria wants to let her mother know that she has broken with Ricardo. Minute later, when mother asks her whether she eats together with Ricardo, Vittoria confirms.
    Vittoria: Mama, I have to tell you something
    Vittoria's mother: In a minute.
  • One-Hour Work Week
    • Subverted with Vittoria. She spends her days not working however when Piero visits her appartment at night cue the sound of the typewriter. Later it stops when Vittoria enters the screen to watch Piero from her window. She explains that she translates the Spanish text. Still somewhat invoked since Vittoria is never shown printing anything.
    • Subverted with Piero, he is shown at work both at La Borsa and in the office of his brokerage firm.
  • The Oner: The grandiose last sequence showing the ghostly streets of the Roman neighborhood.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only One Name:
    • For everyone else apart from Vittoria's mother who has none. No surnames are mentioned except for the offscreen characters. A boss on the contrary has a surname - Ercoli but no name.
    • Subverted with a deceased broker to whom the minute of silence is dedicated. He is mentioned by both his name and surname. He was named Domenico Pietrozzi which might be a sort of hint at Piero.
  • Only Sane Man: Vittoria during the second La Borsa scene when the crash happens.
  • Opposites Attract: Invoked. Vittoria and Piero are very different for some time their differences do not prevent them from being together. Still it does not last.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Interestingly, that is Marta's sentiment for her country which is Kenya, not Italy. She puts its beauty above Congo, Rhodesia and South Africa. Subverted when she later says that she is going to remain in Italy.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The main fear of Vittoria's mother. Vittoria herself would accept it. She claims that she is not interested in the money.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In one of the weirder examples in the ending of the first sequence Riccardo strokes a passing boy's head without apparent reason. Interestingly the boy is the first character to appear in the film apart from Vittoria and Riccardo, until then they were the only two people in the street. (Justified because the action of the scene is set in the very early morning).
    • Is used literally when Vittoria pets a poodle.
    • Also Piero's attitude to Vittoria's mother might be considered as such, he treats her uncharacteristically gently. Of course she has a daughter he is clearly interested in.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Monica Vitti's Vittoria puts on a Blackface, and Marta who lived in Kenya voices racist opinions that are unacceptable by today's standards, and even by the standards of that time. Considering that Antonioni was a figure in the European Left, it is likely that he is invoking this trope and intending it to see it as an expression of the racism of the middle-class of that era.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Mina, who was a pop star wildly popular at the time, wrote the opening credits song "L'eclisse Twist", which also appears later in the film as Vittoria is alone in the room of the Piero's appartment. It might be a foreshadowing of their subsequent sex which ensues pretty soon.
  • The Protagonist: Definitely Vittoria played by Monica Vitti.
  • Psychological Horror: While not a horror film L'eclisse has the element of this in the last minutes invoked both by soundtrack and empty streets of the roman neighbourhood. The atmosphere is very unsettling in the ending.
  • Reality Has No Soundtrack. For the first two acts at least. In the third act menacing chords step in.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The chief of the Piero's brokerage firm appears exactly that. He convinces his employees that the market will soon recover. He also reprimands Piero for a blunder without rudeness.
  • Red Scare: After the stock market crash, Vittoria's mother, feeling completely defeated, blames the socialists. Truth in Television, as socialists at that time were indeed publicly accused of intervention in the operation of La Borsa which resulted in the crash.
    Vittoria's mother:'s always them, the socialists, who spoil everything here!
  • Reveal Shot: In the date scene Vittoria arrives at the appointment in time with Piero not in view. Then a horse-drawn carriage passes from right to left and as the camera pans to the left after the carriage it shows Piero going toward Vittoria.
  • Romance: In Rome no less. The last third of the film is entirely dedicated to the romance between Vittoria and Piero.

  • Safety in Indifference: Interestingly zigzagged as Vittoria says to Piero: "I wish I loved you more or did not love you at all".
  • Salt Solution: Vittoria's mother pours some salt under her feet and stamps on it. She believes it will bring her luck in the stock trade. Ironically she does it in the second La Borsa scene and the crash follows immediately. Downplayed by the fact that later in the moment of crash she crosses herself.
  • Scenery Porn: The film is shot extensively in Rome and it is generally considered by cinephiles to be one of the few movies to really show the weirdness of Modern Rome rather than simply focus on the touristy eternal city (it's often compared to La Dolce Vita which was the defining film of Rome in that era). Antonioni has a lot of fun showing the Borsa, Rome's stock exchange which is indeed located in an Ancient Roman temple, showing how the ancient and modern, sacred and profane have joined together. Likewise, the opening focuses on the EUR tower, one of Mussolini's old projects.
  • Sellout: Piero acknowledges that he is a whore.
  • Servant Race: Africans for Marta who lived all her life in Kenya. Subverted by the history as Kenya achieved independence in 1963, the next year after the release of the film. Or two years after the time of action which is the summer of 1961.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Played straight when Vittoria finally gives in to Piero.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Piero the stockbroker played by none else than Alain Delon.
  • Shout-Out: The headline in the paper held by an extra refers to the nuclear threat of the early 60's.
  • Silence Is Golden:
    • The film opens with an extended silent sequence in Vittoria's apartment with her current boyfriend and some time passes before they start to speak. Itis implied that what we are seeing is the aftermath of a bitter lover's quarrel leading to the breakup of their relationship on very bad terms.
    • And of course the finale, an extended 10 minutes sequence without dialogues, where the only sound is ambient background noises, car noises, traffic and finally the hum of a street-light in close-up, and so on.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The general mood of the film is pretty cynical when it is not reflective. Not much idealism throughout though.
    • Piero is both feet on the cynical side though even he has his moments with Vittoria.
    • Vittoria although trying to resist the overbearing cynicism at times gives in too. when she says that at time it is all equal to her whether to hold a thread and a needle, a book or a man in her hands.
  • Sore Loser:
    • Vittoria's mother takes her loss of 10 million lire in a most unpleasant way. She starts to accuse the emplyees of La Borsa and even criticises the capitalism with which she previously is totally content. Lampshaded by Vittoria who notes that her mother will not draw flowers as opposed to the mans who loses 50 million lire.
    • Subverted in the case of an anonymous investor who loses 50 million lire in a crash and remains visibly quiet, merely ordering a tranquilizer in a drugstore and drinking it with water. Later he draws flowers on a rag of paper.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When Viccoria starts to give in to Pietro's advances in the room of their parents' house where they end, moderately eerie music starts.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Antonioni's two previous films, L'Avventura and La Notte.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Piero, who comes under Vittoria's windows but the heroine talks to him although still refuses to let him in. Even after his car is stolen she only agrees to call a taxi for Piero.
    • Once Vittoria acts like the one when she calls Piero at night and says nothing when he replies.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Riccardo probably acts as such when after the breakup he once stalks Vittoria, coming under her window, throwing pebbles and trying to break into the building where she lives. Vittoria hides behind the drapes trying not to be seen. He fails to get in contact with her and never appears in the movie again. YMMV as to whether he has a crush on Vittoria, all signs would say that he does except that he totally disappears from the film after his stalking scene.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Vittoria and Piero, not due to any outside factor but merely because of their apathy and urban malaise.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • Piero does the stealth bye. Vittoria is going away from him in the long shot while he remains on the spot. Then cue her medium shot from the back as she walks on. When she turns around to look at Piero he is nowhere to be seen.
    • Later Piero appears out of thin air when a horse-drawn carriage passes near Vittoria on their dating spot. Both the heroine and the camera follow it by a pan which reveals Piero already approaching Vittoria.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Angered with the events at La Borsa, Vittoria's mother throws two her notebooks so that they land on the spots separated by two barriers from her. Lampshaded by the character herself.
  • Temporary Love Interest. That's what both characters eventually prove to be for each other.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Vittoria says "I'm so tired and depressed. Disgusted and confused" in a conversation with her friend Anita. Might be to imply irony on the part of the director.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Piero delivers it in a strangely cut sequence. He first addresses a female investor in his room. Then cut and he already continues the same speach to a male investor in the corridor leading him to the door of his office. He explains to both that previously they earned fortunes because of him and never even thanked him, wasting their profits.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Played with. In the scene which is fairly short cut Piero first takes a croissant in the cafe and bites into into by the cafe counter, then in the other shot speaking on the phone bites it once again holding it in his right hand. Subsequently Piero returns to the counter and his right hand at first is below camera then he makes a swift movement of his right hand dropping something the viewer cannot see into the trash bin. If it were the rest of the croissant he would have wasted at least its half. If not the trop is reinforced.
  • The Tease: Vittoria while on date with Piero in his parents posh appartment. She runs away several times in the end she gives in.
  • Three-Act Structure: The 2-hour film can be pretty evenly divided into three acts 40 minutes each.
    • The first act deals with Vittoria's everyday life and her break-up with Riccardo. Piero is only shown in the first stock exchange scene. Riccardo appears the second and the last time onsceen 40 minutes into the movie, after that he is put on the bus.
    • The second act gradually shifts attention to Piero, in its second half of the second act he even has several scenes of his own.
    • The third act is completely separate in that it is totally dedicated to the romance between two main characters. After 1 hour 20 minute mark only one other character episodically appears - Marta who shoots the balloon at the bizarre request of Vittoria.
    • The epilogue is a beast of its own - 10 minutes of the silent hallucinatory cinema.
  • Time Skip: The editing of the scenes of the romance between Piero and Vittoria implies that some adjacent scenes are separated by days or weeks.
    • Also Vacation Episode in Verona is cut off abruptly and the second La Borsa scene begins with an indefinite number of days (though probably not weelks) between them.
    • Two short ones are in the scene of the Vittoria's African dance performance. The scenes before and after when she puts on and removes the make-up and constume are elided. She first appears after cut already in blackface and brandishing a spear. Then cut and she is again in her plain clothes.
  • The Tower: a somewhat odd mushroom-shaped EUR water tower which is shown from the window in the very first scene. Actually it is present in the very first shot of the outside world when Vittoria draws the curtain of the window.
  • Tritagonist: Vittoria's mother just wrestles away this title from Riccardo because she appears in several scenes throughout the first two acts.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: The drunk who steals Piero's car dies in that way in the small lake.
  • Trolling Translator: Vittoria tells Piero who stands under her window that she is currently translating the text from Spanish (into Italian). He asks her what will be the Spanish for "I want to come up to your place". She answers (obviously in Italian) "You cannot" and adds "Spanish is a rude (brutal) language".
  • Unnamed Parent: The character of Lilla Brignone is credited only as Vittoria's mother, her name is never given. Same with the name of Vittoria's father though it is more explainable in that case.
  • Untranslated Title
  • Vacation Episode: A sequence of the trip from Rome to Verona made by Vittoria and her friend Anita by the small plane transferred to the latter town by Anita's husband. It is cut off when they sit in the cafe after arrival and their stay in Verona and return to Rome is never shown. It is reported that Vacation Episode was planned to last about seven minutes longer but the rest of Verona scenes was cut out on the suggestion of the producers because of the runtime concerns.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Vittoria might be at times a Cloudcuckoolander to a certain extent but when with her mother she is the one who is down to earth and speaks as the voice of reason.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Vittoria's dress brace is inadvertently ripped by Piero.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: An outlandish shot in the beginning when Vittoria leaves the house of Riccardo she passes a T-junction in the very middle of which a tree appears to grow out of asphalt. If Riccardo drives through that road he definitely needs to watch out.
  • Window Love: Twice for Vittoria and Piero.
    • First in the appartment of Piero's parents. Vittoria seemingly protects herself with a glass door of a cupboard. They kiss as per the trope then immediately proceed to actual kisses.
    • Then at Piero's office they make a reprise, kissing jokingly through the glass balcony door. A Call-Back of sorts to the previous appearance of this trope.