La Notte (1961)
122 minutes, Italy
Optional: As part of our Summer Film School,
participate in Steven Jacobs’ 90-minute lecture on the film, at LantarenVenster.
La Notte is the cinematographically striking sequel to L’Avventura about exploring the tragedy of modern city relationships.
In the course of a day we follow the couple Giovanni (Marcello Mastroianni) and Lidia (Jeanne Moreau). Being successful as a writer, Giovanni has lost his sense of reality, while Lidia ends up in an existential crisis due to the terminal illness of a good friend.
The Milanese bourgeoisie with whom they try to entertain themselves in vain, emphasize their alienation. While Giovanni seduces the millionaires daughter Valentine (Monica Vitti), Lidia wonders dazed around the streets of Milan. Is there any possible way to revive their once scorching love?
The decor, consisting of the cold, modern streets of Milan, reinforces the feeling of emptiness. With a minimum of dialogue and only the most necessary facial expressions, the film shows the transience of emotions. “Stanotte vorrei solo morire” (Tonight I just feel like dying) is only one of the memorable quotes from La Notte. A film that shows how the night changes people, how it offers freedom, or even makes it desperate. The night can show a different reality, create awareness and limit boundaries.