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L'Avventura (The Criterion Collection)

4.1 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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(Jun 05, 2001)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A girl mysteriously disappears on a yachting trip. While her lover and her best friend search for her across Italy, they begin an affair. Antonioni's penetrating study of the idle upper class offers stinging observations on spiritual isolation and the many meanings of love. Criterion is proud to present this milestone of film grammar in a new Special Edition double-disc set.

Considered by many to be his masterpiece, L’Avventura positioned Michelangelo Antonioni as an international talent. What appears to be a search for a missing person is actually an examination of alienation and self-discovery found along a voyage through the morally decadent world of the idle rich. Less concerned with a smooth plotline, Antonioni tells his story through the use of symbolic images and flawless character development. Using 'real time’ camera shots and rich, landscape imagery, Michelangelo Antonioni creates an unpredictable world where nothing is ever resolved. Ironically, what makes L’Avventura so unpredictable is the high level of realism portrayed by each character and their environments. This isn’t your packaged, formulaic film with a happy ending. A tough one to watch but well worth it...and it gets better and better with repeat viewings. L’Avventura is quintessential Antonioini. Not to be missed. --Rob Bracco

Special Features

  • Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials 58 minute documentary by Gianfranco Mingozzi
  • Writings by Antonioni, read by Jack Nicholson - plus Nicholson's recollection of the director
  • Reprint of Antonioni's statements about L'Avventura, circulated after the film's premiere at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival
  • Restoration demonstration

Product Details

  • Actors: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari, Dominique Blanchar, Renzo Ricci
  • Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Writers: Michelangelo Antonioni, Elio Bartolini, Tonino Guerra
  • Producers: Amato Pennasilico
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • 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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2001
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005BHW6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,946 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "L'Avventura (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 27, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Monumentally influential film from 1960, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. A disaffected group of idle, rich Italians take a cruise to the volcanic islands south of Sicily. After they pause at one of the islands, one of their number, a beautiful young woman named Anna, suddenly vanishes. Her lover (Gabriele Ferzetti) and her best friend (Monica Vitti) scour the island for the missing girl -- no trace. Like any man in his right mind, Ferzetti's character Sandro almost immediately finds himself attracted to Vitti's Claudia -- she's taken aback at first, but only on a superficial level. The movie then chronicles the search for missing Anna -- and the burgeoning affair between Sandro and Claudia -- back in Italy. The rest you can see for yourself. What *L'Avventura* did for cinema was to shine light on the interiors of the human heart in a way that movies had been afraid to attempt before. The obvious charge one can lay against Antonioni's masterpiece is that it's slow and dull for that very reason -- a film character thinking about something doesn't exactly constitute action-packed cinema. Do understand that this movie is not for all tastes . . . but if you're reading this review, you're probably already curious and are considering buying the movie, to which I say, Take the plunge. *L'Avventura* is about ennui in our modern life -- ennui in our personal lives, ennui in our professional lives. Go ahead, snicker. It's easy to dismiss the subject as pretentious. Perhaps it IS pretentious -- but can you really deny the relevance of the subject matter? Can any man -- deep down in his heart of hearts -- not identify with Sandro, an overgrown boy unhappy in love and work?Read more ›
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Format: DVD
...this Criterion DVD edition of L'AVVENTURA is a widescreen anamorphic 2-disc set, with the first disc movie-only and the second containing extras. I applaud putting the movie on its own disc, so that there could be less video compression and the picture quality could be at its best (whenever I see a single-disc DVD fully loaded with extras, I immediately wonder if the higher degree of compression needed would cause any compression artifacts on the picture). The picturesque photography of L'AVVENTURA really demands as perfect a video transfer as possible. I'm glad Criterion has delivered on that regard, for this DVD has simply one of the best black-and-white transfer I've ever seen. Efforts have been made to eliminate blemishes frame-by-frame, so this DVD is significantly better looking than Criterion's own laserdisc version made in 1989. There is a "restoration demontration" among the DVD extras that shows how the picture looks before and after the clean-up.
Subtitles have been significantly rewritten compared to the LD. With my limited knowledge of Italian I'm of the impression that the new translations are more literal, closer in meaning to the original dialogs, and have less paraphrasing and abbreviation. For instance, in an early scene where Anna confides to Claudia, the LD subtitle reads, "These separations are awful, believe me." On the DVD it becomes, "It's harrowing having to be apart, really." The use of "harrowing" seems more suitable than "awful" in conveying the connotations of the the Italian word "mostruoso" (atrocious), and "really" is the exact translation of "verimente". In another dialog later in the same scene, the LD subtitle is abbreviated into, "It's not easy to keep going like this...
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Format: VHS Tape
This director creates meditative films that are certainly not propelled by action or overt themes; his audience is, thus, small, but devoted. The beauty of "L'Avventura" was not so apparent to me until I had the great pleasure of watching a new print on a wide screen the way it was conceived and intended. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of Monica Vitti; I'd probably pay to watch her sit and loll about in anything. This film exerts a certain pull over me because of its focus of spatial relationships and textures, its lovely compositions which make the emotional barreness of its characters all the more distressing. Sure, it's an acquired taste, and will probably not garner any new fans in the age of attention deficit disorder, but the pleasures of letting it slowly work its understated magic on one amount to much more than just surmising it's two and half hours of rich people being aimless. Antonioni cared about the beauty of the natural world, about humans retaining virtue and honesty and meaning in relationships. It may not rank as "entertainment" to watch a world where these qualities have seriously eroded, but it certainly does approach and sometimes achieve art.
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Format: DVD
I saw this film the first time without commentary, obviously, and was really taken aback by it. Everything that has already been said on here about the beautiful images in every frame, and the freshness of approach, etc., I agree with completely. Viewing it from a "normal" movie-watching perspective, the story is very interesting, but a little slow; I probably would have given it four stars. But the entirley new perspective and enthusiasm that is provided by Gene Youngblood's commentary really elevated the film to a higher level for me. The film definitely stands on its own as a great work of art, but the Criterion edition helped me to adjust to Antonioni's style and language much quicker. A great film, transfer, special edition, and commentary. This is well worth the cost if you're looking for something interesting and new. I know this isn't the most helpful review, but I just wanted to add another positive vote for "L'Avventura."
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