Eclipse (1962 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Eclipse (Template:Lang-it) is a 1962 Italian film written and directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Alain Delon and Monica Vitti. The film is considered the last part of a trilogy which was preceded by L'avventura and La Notte. In Martin Scorsese's documentary My Voyage to Italy, the director called Eclipse the boldest film in Antonioni's trilogy.


At dawn on Monday July 10, 1961, a young literary translator, Vittoria (Monica Vitti), breaks off her relationship with Riccardo (Francisco Rabal) in his apartment in the EUR residential district of Rome, following a long night of conversation. Riccardo tries to pursuade her to stay, saying he wants to make her happy, but she appears to have made up her mind. She turns out the lights in his apartment, tells him she no longer loves him, and leaves. As she walks the deserted early-morning streets past the EUR water tower, Riccardo catches up with her in his car. He gets out and walks with her through a wooded area to her apartment building at 307 Viale dell'Umanesimo, where they say their final goodbye.

Sometime later, Vittoria visits her mother (Lilla Brignone) at the Rome Stock Exchange. Observers and investors look on nervously as the traders rush about gesturing wildly and making their trades. A young stockbroker, Piero (Alain Delon), overhears an inside tip, rushes to purchase the stocks, and then sells them at a large profit. Piero introduces himself to Vittoria; he works for her mother. All activity comes to a halt as an announcement is made requesting a moment of silence for a colleague who died recently of a heart attack. Phones continue during the silence. Immediately following, the room errupts in frenzied activity again. Outside the Stock Exchange Building, Vittoria and her mother walk to a nearby open market. Vittoria tries to tell her about her failed relationship, but her mother is consumed with the profits she just earned and her food shopping.

That evening, Vittoria's neighbor Anita (Rosanna Rory) comes over to visit and they discuss the breakup. Vittoria says, "I'm so tired and depressed. Disgusted and confused." Another neighbor, Marta (Mirella Ricciardi), calls and invites them to her apartment nearby. The three women spend the evening talking about their lives. Anita talks about the farm she and her husband have in Kenya, and how beautiful it is there. Deciding to have a little fun, Vittoria dresses up as an African dancer with dark makeup and then dances around the apartment. Marta, however, is not amused and asks Vittoria to stop. The conversation becomes ugly as the colonialist Marta talks about the "monkeys" who are arming themselves and threatening the minority whites. Vittoria and Anita dismiss the talk, and after Marta's dog Zeus gets free of the house, the women take after him. Vittoria is fascinated by the sound of the fencing in the wind. Back in her apartment, Riccardo calls for her, but she hides and does not answer him.

The next day, Vittoria and Anita fly to Verona in a small airplane. On the way, Vittoria is fascinated by the clouds. At the airport, she watches the airplanes taking off and landing with childlike wonder. "It's so nice here," she tells Anita at the small terminal. Meanwhile back at the Rome Stock Exchange, Piero is busy making trades. Vittoria arrives at the Stock Exchange and learns that her mother lost about ten million lire. Another man lost fifty million. Vittoria follows the man through the crowded streets to a small cafe, where she sees him drawing flowers on a small piece of paper and drinking mineral water before moving on. She meets up with Piero and he drives her to her mother's apartment near St. Peter's Basilica in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta sportscar. She shows him framed family pictures and her room growing up. Piero tries to kiss her but she avoids his pass. Piero drives back to his office on Via Po near Via Salaria, where he must break the bad news to his investors.

Outside his office, Piero meets with a call girl he previously arranged to meet, but is disappointed that she recently changed her hair color from blonde to brunette. Deciding not to go with her, Piero drives to Vittoria's apartment and stands outside her window. He hears her typing. After a drunk walks by and notices Vittoria at the window, Piero calls out to her. While they are talking, the drunk steals Piero's sportscar. The next morning, Piero and Vittoria arrive at the crash site where the drunk drove the car into a lake. Vittoria watches as they pull the car with the body from the water. As they walk away, Vittoria is surprised that Piero is concerned about the dents and the motor, rather than the dead man. They enjoy a playful walk through a park. When they reach her building, Vittoria unties a balloon from a carriage and calling to her new friend Marta tells her to shoot the balloon, which she does as it ascends into the sky. When they reach her building, he kisses her, but she seems uneasy. Before she leaves, she drops a piece of wood into a barrel of water.

That evening, she tries to call him, but his phone is busy. When she finally reaches him, she does not speak. The next day, Vittoria is waiting near her house. She looks in the barrel of water and sees the wood is still there. Piero arrives and tellsher he bought a new BMW to replace his Alfa Romeo. She asks to go to his place, and they walk past a nurse wheeling a young girl in a baby carriage. Piero takes her to his parents' apartment, which is filled with beautiful works of art and sculpture. As they talk, she seems nervous. He asks her about herself, and she answers, "Two people shouldn't know each other too well if they want to fall in love. But then maybe they shouldn't fall in love at all." They converse playfully, and then kiss each other through a glass window, then kiss passionately. He accidently tears her dress. She goes into a bedroom and looks at the old family pictures. At the window she looks down to the street where she sees two nuns walking, some people talking at a cafe, a lone soldier standing on a corner waiting. Piero comes to the bedroom and they make love on his bed.

Sometime later, Piero and Vittoria are lying on a hill looking up at the sky. He looks around and says, "I feel like I'm in a foreign country." She says that's how she feels around him and that she doesn't miss marriage. He gets upset when he doesn't understand what she's feeling. She says, "I wish I didn't love you or that I loved you much more." Sometime later at his office, Vittoria and Piero kiss and embrace playfully on the coach, even wrestling on the floor. When an alarm goes off, they prepare to part. They embrace and talk of seeing each other every day. They agree to meet that evening at 8:00 pm at the "usual place" near her apartment. That evening, on Sunday September 10, 1961, neither shows up at the appointed meeting place.{{#tag:ref|The final sequence contains images that were presented earlier in the film: a nurse with a child, a horsedrawn buggy, a man walking by, trees rustling in the wind, water running from a barrel, people waiting for a bus, sprinklers going off, a blonde woman walking by, a piece of wood floating in a water barrel, and people coming home from work. The sky grows dark and the streetlights come on.|group=N}}


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