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on February 11, 2015
An underated masterpiece. I remember watching it the first time when it came out in early 80's. Next day I did go again to watch for a second time in the theater and not only because I was already a big admirer of the Great Italian fimaker, which was true. It was because you can read it at so many levels and as a young man spoke to my heart. I could identify with the broken relationships and the isolation and despair of our times. Two different women, two different worlds, intersecting in one man, who is relating to them through his quest for his art and who is abandoning them because of his continuous quest of his art. Like the spaceship, which is attracted by the sun, but which will pass it and go beyond it with all the new learning aquired, as much painful as it may be, in an eternal journey in space and time....
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on November 1, 2011
Being an Antonioni fan I was excited to see this film available on Blu-Ray. The product did not disappoint. This is a mesmerizing study of familiar Antonioni themes (women, love & sex, the creative process, etc.). The film is beautiful, one of Antonioni's most beautifully filmed, of particular note is his use of windows, both looking out of them and reflecting from them. I love the film but would not recommend it for those unfamiliar with Antonioni's other great films. His films are typically enigmatic and often start slowly. In the beginning, for example, I was unsure of the casting and acting of Tomas Milian. Eventually, however, as the themes became clearer he seemed an excellent choice. Antonioni's genius for beautiful location filming is very much on display here as well with beautiful shots of Rome, the Italian countryside, and Venice. The accompanying essay and interview are excellent, but they are the only special features. I think the film deserves more.
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on June 25, 2000
A director's search for a female character to inspire his nextfilm is frustrated by his loss of two lovers. The first leaves him foranother woman. The second presents him with the unexpected result of a previous relationship. Bastardy makes wholehearted commitment difficult in both relationships. The theme of uncertain parentage extends, especially in the film's first half hour, to how one scene follows from another. Which director, Antonioni or his character, is calling the shots? They find agreement in the greater theme: how love and sex form an oblique angle to one another. Antonion wrote, directed, and edited this film. His mastery of the medium is evident everywhere. American viewers can finally see a key piece in the progress of a great artist's work.
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on June 14, 2015
Never saw this film before and I loved it
Realy pops in Blu Ray
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on October 29, 2011
A late period masterpiece from the great Italian auteur Michelangelo Antonioni, an exploration of of many of his favourite themes in the story of a separated film director, in search of a partner, a concept, love, the subject and star for a film maybe, ideas that beautifully dissipate and reform rather than crystallise in concrete conclusions... A marvellous meditation on man & woman in the modern world, matched by a superb transfer by the Criterion Collection...
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on August 20, 2014
High Quality Upgrade to High-Definition Blu-Ray Format.
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on September 22, 2014
Without any problems.
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on April 30, 2016
Outdated piece Italian Cinema of 70s, pretentious, Boring and too long.
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on December 13, 2009
I was terribly disappointed with this DVD. The advertising on AMAZON was not at all clear that the disk could NOT be played on US DVD players. It is not compatible with our format, and I think this should be absolutely clear on the website. It simply says FormatI cannot review the film in any way. I feel that the site implicitly misrepresented the disk. I have bee: PAL and ALL REGIONS. I now understand that the average customer is supposed to know from this that "regions" does not been all countries. It would have saved me time and annoyance if the incompatibility with US DVD players was clear.
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on August 18, 2015
Screened this last night, realizing after buying the Taschen book on the Complete Antonioni (a nice book
but spotted some glaring typos!), that I still hadn't seen his final two films, had to rectify that.
This Criterion does have a nice booklet as always, the Taschen book helps complete the director's
viewpoint of what he was trying to achieve here, more or less, but the disc doesn't offer any
extras otherwise. The print and sound are really outstanding, however, as usual.

My take on this film is that it's a solid Antonioni effort, but not quite up there with his finest,
although it comes quite close, at times. Even so, it's still 1000x better than lesser efforts
like the breathtaking but muddled and rather badly dated Zabriskie Point.
I haven't yet seen Il Grido, nor the made-for-Italian-TV (originally) drama Mystery of Oberwald,
with Monica Vitti from 1980, just a few years ahead of this "return to form" effort.
I loved Identification of a Woman, it just looks gorgeous and the locations alone are worth
the price of admission, as usual for one of his films.

Identification of a Woman boasts many of the classic Antonioni themes, obsessions, and concerns, mysteries, red-herrings, "dead-ends," fraught romance, love lost, love gained (and then lost again), haunted characters, sex, characters going "missing" and then
suddenly turning up, etc. Our protagonist, Niccolo, the director (haunted by his divorce and
seeking his "muse" and the "face" of his next, as yet unformed, film), plays around with different women but elicits our sympathies,
since he's divorced (although he may have driven his ex away, something his sister alludes
to in one scene), on the rebound, and is dating a young model/actress who he is mysteriously
warned away (in an ice-cream parlor, no less)
from by some semi-thug for unknown reasons, and she's running in the upper-echelon
high society of Rome for various reasons, while his later love interest, the theater actress,
seemingly doesn't, and lives a more common life, but is no less complex.

Of course, nobody in the film is emotionally or sexually quite satisfied, or knows what they truly desire,
or are utterly conflicted, or all of the above. So this is standard Antonioni territory!
I won't say any more, or risk giving away the film's many secrets, this really should be
left to the first-time viewer, as with any of his films.

The soundtrack matches the 1982 origin and setting(s), with standout music from the likes of Tangerine Dream, Steve
Hillage, and even the mighty new wave popsters OMD (key song of theirs "Souvenir", one of
my personal favorites but then I love all of their stuff) in a key love scene with "our director"
and Mavi, his initial girlfriend that slips away later from his grasp, and he goes looking for,
as he does for the apparent unseen villain who he suspects wants him out of the way,
and whom he suspects of other subterfuge related to his sister, a top local gynecologist
whose advancement is suddenly derailed, for no good reason.

It's intriguing that even though Antonioni chooses then-contemporary pop/rock and ambient new wave
music and artists for most of the film's soundtrack, Identification of a Woman
doesn't at all seem dated, or utterly trapped in the early 1980s. It, like all of his best films, seems
to exist in its/their own unique niche, or time-warp, alternate reality, or extra-terrestrial dimension,
yet still all being grounded on Earth and in some version of our own version of 20th
Century reality.

Yet, inexplicable things occur, we never grasp all of the goings-on (as
particularly with Blow-Up or L'Avventura), and most delightfully, Antonioni never explains
everything or spells it all out for the viewer. Yet I feel, with most of his films, that he
affects this so masterfully, and breathtakingly, that one is never frustrated by this.
When Antonioni is firing on all cylinders, as mainly he is here, you surrender to his
dark daydreams and just get on for the ride. Like Bergman, Resnais, or Kubrick, these
films beg to be viewed multiple times, you cannot appreciate more than small
percentages of the full content/revelations in one viewing. This later Antonioni
puzzle is no exception.

To summarize, the film is, even though not as earth-shatteringly great as something
like L'Eclisse, The Passenger, La Notte, or L'Avventura, an atmospheric, dense,
and emotionally complex journey through and to various far flung places,
including the lagoons of Venice, a setting that, in Antonioni's hands, becomes
at once both romantic and utterly anti-romantic. Only a consummate master
like Antonioni could quite pull this off convincingly, and does.

Even when the protagonist starts truly suspecting that his first lady-love, Mavi, is cheating on him
with another suitor, possibly or probably the unnamed and unseen threatening
"thug" or whomever, Antonioni, in true form, even utterly subverts the viewer's
expectations, and we kind of have the rug pulled out from under us,
as is often the case with the best of his films, and no less so here,
at least in that particular instance/story-arc. The "night ride in the fog"
sequence (the director and Mavi heading to his country rented villa,
above an old Roman settlement) is a masterpiece of nearly "weird fiction"
bizarre suspense: nothing really happens, and yet everything.

All the tensions of the film and characters comes to a boiling point here.
It's truly a sequence worthy of a Robert Aickman story or whatever,
who was a British master of "weird/strange" suspense stories,
wherein there's almost never any solid resolution, payoff,
and NOTHING is truly what it seems. It's too bad Antonioni
and Aickman couldn't have collaborated on a film together
at some stage (or having Antonioni adapting some of Aickman's
tales: his darkly suspenseful anti-romantic masterpiece,
"Never Visit Venice" would have been one of my top choices),
I think that would truly have been something to behold.
If Wim Wenders is listening, let's have at it!!

This film, like all of his efforts, requires sitting and really paying full attention, but if one does, it will absolutely
reap great rewards. I don't know about his final effort, Beyond The Clouds (realized
as it was, with the help of Wim Wenders, partially due to Antonioni's frail
health at that time), which is also still one of the few of his films I haven't
yet seen, but I have a strong feeling that Identification of a Woman will
stand as the "true" final great Antonioni film, given it's the penultimate one
he directed wherein he was truly still at the captain's helm for or, at the gondola's helm, as it
were. It's just as assured and breathtakingly gorgeous as any of his previous films.
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