L’Eclisse (Eclipse) made in 1963 is the third film in Michelangelo Antonioni’s decadence trilogy. The film discusses similar themes of: alienation, love and tragedy to the trilogy’s earlier films: L’Avventura and La Notte.
L’Eclisse perhaps focusses on alienation more than the previous two films in this trilogy. The two lead characters, Piero played by Alain Delon and Vittoria played by Monica Vitti, are alienated on two levels: alienation between each other, and between their and other layers of society.
Alienation between each other on a personal level. Above, Vittoria remarks Piero cannot physically stand still but neither of them can figuratively, her speech’s cadence can turn on a sixpence mid-sentence in conversation with him.
Alienation between each other on a physical level. The first frame shows Piero in his professional stock market environment where he can make, and lose, millions of lira for his clients while remaining unsympathetic to their plight. Later on his car is stolen by a drunken man, the eventual state of his broken car is an inconvenience, but the fatal state of the drunken man barely worth a shrug of his, or Vittoria’s, shoulders. The clearest display of their lack of external awareness.
Alienation between each other on a physical level even in a state of togetherness. As in La Notte, cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo is on fine form capturing the nuances of faces and the disruption of architecture.
The film leaves us walking in Piero and Vittoria’s steps back through their familiar haunts but without either of their presence; despite the two lead actors’ often alienating presence to the viewer we nevertheless miss them. Now we’re allowed full focus on the world outside we can see it goes on without them with its own concerns, concerns that may threaten us all regardless of how inward or outward looking we are, perhaps showing irrelevance between ecocentrism at a macro or micro level. The ominous soundtrack adds to this disquiet and leading the tone of our thoughts.
One of film’s truly great closing sequences, the closing sequence to a truly great film and a truly great trilogy.
Reference: L’Eclisse – Wikipedia