Antonioni’s L’Avventura - An Existentialist Film

Antonioni’s L’Avventura - An Existentialist Film - 1...

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1 Viktoriya Vinik HUMA 1761 - Prof. Carlo Coen January 26, 2016 Antonioni’s L’Avventura : An Existentialist Film Existential anxiety is an all-encompassing anxiety that causes one to question the meaning of life or any existence. Some state it is a healthy part of human development, but one renowned Italian director says otherwise. Michelangelo Antonioni's classic film, L’Avventura, focuses on a group of mostly wealthy, bored and spoiled young adults; none of whom have fulfilling relationships, jobs, or general purpose in their lives. This is the perfect class of people who represent living an existential life. The first character introduced is Anna, a woman in the prime of her life who is in a constant state of existential angst. She is a disoriented individual who does not understand the world or her purpose on it. Antonioni uses couples in the film to explore issues of gender dynamics and relationships. He views the two binary sexes as natural enemies because they can never understand one another. Nevertheless, the certain force of attraction brings the sexes together, which will inevitably lead to many tribulations. This also leads to the issue of whether the relationship is built on serial sexuality as opposed to genuine love. Sandro, the failed architect, particularly deals with this issue as he is going from one woman to another hoping serial sex will lead to sincere affection. Sandro deals with these issues in his life by entering codependent relationships with women. Anna validated Sandro as a person, but after her disappearance, he is urgent to find a new partner. Anna’s disappearance is a very significant turning point in the film for many reasons. Anna is always sad and upset without any reason, making her the most miserable character in the film. Her character simply exudes existential anxiety. When Anna gets to see Sandro after their long departure she says it was harrowing to be apart despite that she does not want to see him. When they are finally
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2 reunited Sandro asks Anna how she is, which Anna replies back that she is feeling awful. Sandro asks why and Anna mocks him asking, out of her own frustration. Anna never knows what she wants, she just knows that she does not want a conventional marriage. In Peter Bondanella’s The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni , he explains: She is looking for what in the 1960 would have been termed as “authentic existence”, an identity apart from her husband’s (and her father’s), but in this society it is impossible , so she merely disappears, both from the society and from the film (Bondanella 34) Antonioni uses Anna’s disappearance remarkably to exhibit a contrast in the characters’ behavior before and after the disappearance. Half way through the film one can see everyone has forgotten about Anna, even Claudia who seemed to care about her so deeply. Bondanella refers to this as: French critic Pascal Bontizer calls “the disappearance of the disappearance of Anna”. This double
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