Michelangelo Antonioni towers as one of the greatest visionaries of Italian cinema. His visuals were so stunning they often took a back seat to easily coherent narrative. It’s no wonder the Wolfsonian-FIU has chosen to show L’Eclisse (The Eclipse) as part of its exhibition “The Birth of Rome.” The film came out during the height of Antonioni’s career in the early 1960s and features his great muse, Monica Vitti. She plays Vittoria, a woman drifting from one lover (Francisco Rabal) to another (Alain Delon).
The heart of the story is not about the connection of these people but the inability to find something genuine. The cityscape of Rome is presented as an unstable foundation. New buildings rise, old buildings crumble. Meanwhile, Vittoria tells her new lover: “Two people shouldn’t know each other too well if they want to fall in love. But, then, maybe they shouldn’t fall in love at all.”
Despite the black-and-white film, details jump out, from wide shots of the varying architecture under construction or renovation to closeups that reveal vivid texture and shadow. It all seems to comment on love subverted by the ever-shifting modern times.
Antonioni was a director very aware of place. He once said, “Places are not just images, but rhythms, vibrations; that everyday events very often take on symbolic meanings — we must add that it is the relationships of all those things among each other in time and space that make sense to us.”
The films screens for free at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wolfsonian-FIU (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Call 305-531-1001 or visit wolfsonian.org.
Fri., May 9, 7 p.m., 2014