L’Eclisse (1962)

All relationships in nature have an arc – a beginning, middle, and end. The length of time in said union may vary, and the stories entangling and contributing to each component make them unique. The finality of a relationship may expose a wide discrepancy of emotions based on its journey, including sadness, joy, and indifference. The subsequent avenues of exploration taken after a breakup can therefore be endless. Unlike La Notte, “L’Eclisse”, the final film of Antonioni’s trilogy of love and loss, begins with the end of a relationship and explores the course taken by the lead actress in its aftermath.

Vittoria (Monica Vitti) is a young literary translator who used her knowledge to aid her boyfriend, Riccardo (Francisco Rabal), in his work. The silent tension between them at the beginning of the film indicates impending dissolution, and that happens in the form of Vittoria ending her relationship with him due to lack of happiness. While he continues to occasionally pursue her, Vittoria dabbles in spending time with equally emotionally confused female friends. She also attempts to reconnect with her distant mother (Lilla Brignone), who is a frequent flyer of the Rome Stock Exchange. It is there that she meets Piero (Alain Delon), a young stockbroker obsessed with increasing his monetary wealth. Vittoria and Piero begin to spend time with one another, battling reservations in this budding courtship and surrounding threats, including loss, fear, greed, and anger. However, they are fuelled by the promise of a fresh start and hope.

A solar eclipse is often viewed as an extremely rare phenomenon in outer space, whereby the Moon’s view is temporarily blocked. Contrarily, eclipses occur on a daily basis in terms of human interactions. Certain internal and external events may prevent us from experiencing life at its supreme. One such event is an affair and its impact on a current relationship, both explored in L’Avventura and La Notte. While many are absorbed in the details of ensuring a properly functioning bond with their partner, another eclipse that occurs is the loss of individuality and personal identity. I feel that this is the true common thread linking this beautifully expressed trilogy. As well, the stunning composition and editing of the revered end scene highlights the memories of physical spaces and lost promises of former optimism. “L’Eclisse” is therefore a fitting title to the final chapter.


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