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Video Essay: The Vitality of Monica Vitti

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lavventura monica vitti

Monica Vitti is an Italian actress best known for her starring roles in films directed by Michelangelo Antonioni during the early 1960s – L’Aventura, in 1960, which led to La Notte, in 1961 and L’Eclisse, in 1962 and then Deserto Rosso, in 1964.

Tope Ogundare put together this video essay for Fandor and had this to say about Vitti.

More than any other performer in Antonioni’s films from this period (and not simply due the frequency of her being cast), Vitti—with her open face and her weighted gait—seemed to embody and exemplify Andrew Sarris’s fairly self-explanatory neologism “Antoniennui.” Yet, on revisiting the four Vitti-Antonioni collaborations, I gradually came to notice and appreciate the spectrum of humanity and emotion on display, even if said spectrum ultimately skews towards the negative. For all the sullen gazes and silent sighs, there are notable moments of levity, even joy, and many if not most (if not all) featuring Vitti in some capacity. But rather than undercutting Antonioni’s exploration of modern psychic illness, such instances of positivity and playfulness establish his characters as more than mere personifications of theme. And if this is not entirely true for all Antonioni’s characters, Vitti’s are, at the very least, roundedly human, and this lends their psychological plights a measure of relatability.

The Vitality of Monica Vitti from Fandor Keyframe on Vimeo.

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