Story of a Love Affair (1950)
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Michelangelo Antonioni's first narrative feature is a stark, minimal interpersonal drama that would establish many of the themes and techniques that would recur in his work for the rest of his career. Story of a Love Affair centers on the dynamic between Guido (Massimo Girotti) and Paola (Lucia Bosť), two old flames re-igniting their passions for one another. Tabs are being kept on both of the lovers by their current spouses as well as by a private investigator, but even after their pursuers fall out of the picture -- whether due to accidents or disinterest -- Guido and Paola find that their love for each other is waning. Filled with stark, empty compositions, unpredictable camera movements, and static, self-obsessed characters, Story of a Love Affair would mark Antonioni as a maverick among the prevailing neorealists of the post-war Italian film community. … More
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Critic Reviews for Story of a Love Affair
The film has its moments of crackling passion and secret suspense. It's an amazing film, and one of the great feature debuts in movie history.
The unsurpassed beauty of Antonioni's visual art lifts his two-penny story and hollow people into the exalted realm of the senses.
A remarkable formal effort involving a detective, an adulterous trio, a murder plot, a choreographic mise en scene, and an extended flashback.
Audience Reviews for Story of a Love Affair
this movie is of interest because it's antonioni's first full length film. you can see the ties to neo-realism, the documentary format, and the development of his technique. lucia bose is fascinating to watch because of the methods antonioni used to get desired effects. because of her youth and inexperience, he even resorted to slapping her to obtain the desired results.More
A film auteur,literally and profoundly.Anything that goes against him,will probably go against the post-modern cinematic language.The debut feature shows promise and mystery,taunting the wealth of the era and feeling sympathetic to low-life characters,including the detective.Action is replaced by spiritual hesitation,a well-maintained picture,too accessible for an Antonioni film.More
Antonioni's films aren't the most accessible, and in that respect, Story of a Love Affair with its genre-film machinations and linear plot is a lot easier to get into than, say, L'Eclisse (which I've never finished watching, but I want to). It's not an art film, by any means, affecting a noir-ish plot and a relatively faster pace than your typical arty movie. Some over-the-top acting (I thought) by Lucia Bosť as miserable socialite Paola Fontana also makes this movie a lot less high-falutin.
That isn't to say that this is your typical genre film, though. Although the aesthetic didn't appeal much to me personally, there are some very attractive shots of the sensual from-the-back variety that made me stop and think. I also really liked the opening shot of the polaroids of Paola being tossed onto a table, showing us a quick into a girl's life as she grows up. I guess I don't "get" Antonioni, because at first blush I didn't see that much to look at in this film.
Where the movie is most interesting is in its examination of Paola and Guido's sad lives through their desperate relationship with each other, most notably in the scene where they talk about their happiness and then in an instance realize that their joy is a shallow and empty one. Antonioni doesn't play their misery for melodrama; he doesn't have any lingering shots of Paola or Guido sitting and staring and obviously feeling sorry for themselves. But their conversations reveal their insecurities and failure to grasp fulfillment despite material comfort and "love."
I thought it was also interesting how it looked like Paola's husband's suspicions of her infidelity actually drove her towards reuniting with Guido, since Paola and Guido have no contact until after the detectives are hired, and Guido only comes to warn her that someone is looking into her past. Nevertheless, that detective thread doesn't really go anywhere, even to the climax.
Still, though, it's kind of a boring movie, and I found Paola's flouncing and hysteria a bit annoying. On the other hand, I enjoyed the character of Guido much more because he seemed more realistic and moderate to me, struggling with his emotions and commitments and the fact that he's not happy despite being with the woman he desires.
I found the rest of the movie a bit of a mess, and the music is God-awful, that's for sure, completely ruining the tone of the movie.
Meh. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, and doesn't convince me that I could be an Antonioni fan.
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