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L'Eclisse (The Criterion Collection)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The conclusion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on modern malaise, which began with L’avventura, L’eclisse (The Eclipse) tells the story of a young woman (Monica Vitti) who leaves one lover (Francisco Rabal) only to drift into a relationship with another (Alain Delon).

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Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Eclisse rolls over you and wraps you in its stylish embrace. The plot, such as it is, follows Vittoria (luscious Monica Vitti, The Red Desert) as her engagement falls apart and she slowly falls into a giddy but anxious affair with Piero (Alain Delon, Le Samourai, Purple Noon), a trader in Rome's stock exchange. Like Ingmar Bergman (Scenes from a Marriage, Persona), Antonioni examines the nuances of human relationships--but where Bergman is dense and dialogue-driven, Antonioni is spare and visual (there's maybe a page of dialogue in the first fifteen minutes of L'Eclisse). Every frame is like an exquisite black and white photograph, yet there's nothing static about this movie. It's fluid, sleek, and graceful, achieving its own kind of visual music. L'Eclisse contrasts opposing elements: Light and shadow, noise and silence, laughter and death, love and money, desire and dissatisfaction. Critics often describe the movie as a portrait of modern alienation, but they focus too much on Vittoria herself; while she finds her own life wanting, all around her Antonioni's camera captures a much larger world, full of as much vitality as despair, as much hope as loss. This is a movie essential to anyone's understanding of what movies can be. --Bret Fetzer

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Special Features

  • Audio commentary by film scholar Richard Pena
  • Michelangelo Antonioni: The Eye That Changed Cinema, a 56-minute documentary exploring the director's life and career
  • The Sickness of Eros, a new video piece about Antonioni and L'eclisse
  • New essays by film critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Gilberto Perez

Product Details

  • Actors: Monica Vitti, Alain Delon, Francisco Rabal, Lilla Brignone, Rossana Rory
  • Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Writers: Michelangelo Antonioni, Elio Bartolini, Ottiero Ottieri, Tonino Guerra
  • Producers: Raymond Hakim, Robert Hakim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: March 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007989Y8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,571 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "L'Eclisse (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By mackjay on March 25, 2005
Format: DVD
**May Contain Spoilers**

After years of seeking out acceptable VHS copies of L'ECLISSE, at last this elusive, enigmatic, haunting film has come to DVD. To be fair, some VHS copies were not so bad-looking, but few were letterboxed, so many viewers have never seen the film in its original widescreen format. Criterion presents L'ECLISSE in widescreen format and in a clean, beautifully restored print. There is a good amount of rapid flashing in the opening scene, but as we are engulfed in Antonioni's vision of the world this becomes less noticeable. The soundtrack also has the recessed quality familiar from many Criterion releases, but that can be remedied by a volume boost. Apart from these minor criticisms, this is an exemplary release. It may indeed surpass Criterion's edition of L'AVVENTURA in terms of the supplementary material.

On disc two, there is a pair of excellent features: "The Sickness of Eros" features interviews by Antonioni scholars and associates. These people actually have substantial things to say about the film and the director. The other feature, a documentary, "Michelangelo Antonioni: the Eye that Changed Cinema" is a perfect example of its kind. There is a lot of footage of the director discussing his films (and saying interesting things about them) as well as other relevant comments by scholars and collaborators. Of even greater interest are the numerous clips and stills of the director on the set of many of his works. Both these documentary features are eminently re-playable. There is also an informative, film-length commentary by Richard Pena.

L'ECLISSE seems to sum up the ideas that evolve in Antonioni's earlier films from LE AMICHE through LA NOTTE. But it also pares down these ideas and renders them in an abstract, or nearly abstract way.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Nagel on July 16, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Michelangelo directed a trilogy of sorts in the 1960s, beginning with his breakthrough film L'Avventura, continuing with La Notte, and ending with my personal favorite, L'Eclisse (The Eclipse). All were preoccupied with the theme of alienation, and all featured more or less neurotic and disaffected performances from the striking actress Monica Vitti (as a blond in L'Avventura and L'Eclisse, and as a brunette in La Notte). L'Eclisse begins with the Vitti character's romantic breakup, and continues with her affair with a young stockbroker. The affair is destined for failure, however, as she ultimately finds it impossible to experience meaningful contact with other people. There are several notable sequences in the film - the dull fatigue of the opening breakup scene, raucous and frenetic scenes in the stock market, even Vitti and her friends dressing up and dancing as African natives! The most striking for me, however, is the final several minutes, in which the lovers have agreed to meet but neither shows up, and we see a series of deserted spots (mostly locales from earlier scenes) in a mounting crescendo of emptiness and apathetic horror. The stark and impersonal "modern" sixties architecture, headlines about nuclear terror, and a quietly eerie and horrific musical score combines to make this one of the most powerful sequences ever filmed. It shocks me to learn that when originally released in America the sequence was cut as extraneous!
It's a shame that this masterpiece is currently out of print. There are copies floating around that are dubbed from British sources, and there are also some from an American release several years ago, which had generally very good picture and subtitle quality. I can only hope that someone, maybe Criterion, chooses to release L'Eclisse on DVD - I would give my right arm to get it!
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Swederunner on March 23, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
L'Eclisse visually transcends into an artistic journey through 24 frames per second that displays numerous scenes in which the director Michelangelo Antonioni captures the moment. Each moment offers a unique experience that is passed on to the audience through the eyes of the characters or the audience's own perception. In either case, the visuals play a significant part in this cinematic experience, as it is the visuals that tell the story while dialogue merely adds a little flesh to the bones. Many of these shots that Antonioni provides to the audience could have been free standing photos, or paintings at art museums throughout the world. Thus, L'Eclisse presents a brilliant cinematic experience, as the visuals play with the audience's mind and emotions.

The opening scene begins with a shot of a lamp that illuminates a room while the audience only can see a small portion of the room. What the light from the lamp unveils from the darkness is a number of used books, pen, paper, a painting, and a white shirt elbow. The composition of this scene brings so many things to ponder, as the scene goes on for almost 10 seconds. The audience might experience notions such as wondering what kind of books are there, what kind of painting is in the background, or whose elbow it is that can be seen. However, the most important idea might be missed in this scene, which might be the visual metaphor for enlightenment that is provided by the light. The light brings out these questions from the darkness, as it almost wants to encourage the audience to continue to read into each scene that follows the opening shot, which slowly pans to the right unveiling the identity of person whose elbow has been.
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