L’Eclisse review – Antonioni’s strange and brilliant film rereleased

Monica Vitti was never more sensual than in the story of a young woman who embarks on a doomed affair with Alain Delon’s nervy stockbroker

Michelangelo Antonioni’s mysterious and disquieting 1962 film L’Eclisse (The Eclipse) is rereleased in UK cinemas for the first time in 10 years: a twilight zone of anxiety and alienation in which the director displays his ability to slow time down a stop and allow his characters to wander in an eerily untenanted landscape. He had a knack of making Rome look as empty as the middle of the night – in the middle of the day. Did his film intuit the emptiness of growing postwar prosperity, or just have its own strange vision of the aftermath of nuclear attack?

When I last watched L’Eclisse, for a feature about the Antonioni centenary in 2012, I found myself worrying that it looked dated: especially the startling “blackface” party scene. But watching it again now, I find myself gripped as never before, and the “African” scene is bizarre, stylised, and I think the point is to jab at the leisured classes’ casual racism.

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